Hype grows for UCLA backcourt with 2 watch list candidates

Senior Isaac Hamilton, the Pac-12's top returning scorer, is a stark contrast to the other member of UCLA's backcourt named to a preseason award watch list.

Senior Isaac Hamilton, the Pac-12’s top returning scorer, is a stark contrast to the other member of UCLA’s backcourt named to a preseason award watch list.

How deep is the UCLA backcourt? Two guards have been named to preseason award watch lists – not including two returners who were starting guards last year.

Senior Isaac Hamilton, the top returning scorer in the Pac-12, was a natural choice for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award watch list announced Tuesday. The buzz about freshman Lonzo Ball is only growing after he earned the distinction as a watch list candidate for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.

To illustrate the depth in the UCLA backcourt, consider that Bryce Alford, who averaged seven tenths of a point less than Hamilton last season, is a certainty to be in the starting lineup when the season begins Nov. 11. As for Aaron Holiday, whose minutes are more difficult to project than the coach’s son, all he did was averaged double figures as a freshman last season and play the best on-ball defense of anybody on the roster. Continue reading

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UCLA can’t get late stops in 86-72 loss at Oregon

After scoring just one basket in the first half at Oregon, UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton made his second at just the right time.

The junior drilled a 3-pointer with 12:20 on the game clock, one that cut the Bruins’ deficit to just three points. They had trailed by as many as 12 points just two minutes earlier, but the first Pac-12 road sweep of the Steve Alford era looked within reach.

But, as Alford had complained earlier this week, UCLA just couldn’t get a stop. Pulling away for an 86-72 win at Matthew Knight Arena, the Ducks closed out the game by shooting 12 of 19 from the field, including four of seven from beyond the arc. Key to the effort was 6-foot-10 forward Chris Boucher, the JUCO transfer playing his first season in Eugene.

Named the NJCAA Division I Player of the Year after averaging 22.5 points at Wyoming’s Northwest College last season, the Montreal native buried the Bruins (12-8, 3-4), scoring eight of his 18 points in the final four minutes. Continue reading

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VIDEO: UCLA players talk about 87-77 win over No. 1 Kentucky

UCLA shocked the college basketball world on Thursday night, beating Kentucky, 87-77, for its first win over a No. 1 team since 2003.

“I heard a lot this week about trying to keep it competitive,” said point guard Bryce Alford, “so I’m glad we did that.”

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