UCLA hasn’t played yet this week, but games elsewhere in the Pac-12 sealed the Bruins a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The team will start its Las Vegas schedule with a 6 p.m. tipoff on Pac-12 Networks next Thursday.
Colorado helped UCLA by beating Stanford, 59-56, Wednesday night and knocking the Cardinal to 9-8 in league play. Arizona State also fell out of the race for second one night prior with a loss to Oregon.
The Buffaloes and Sun Devils are sitting at 10-7, leaving them 1.5 games behind the Bruins. Even if UCLA loses to both Washington and Washington State to end the season, it would head head-to-head tiebreakers against both in the event of a three-way tie.
With just over a minute left on the game clock, Pauley Pavilion let out a collective gasp — one mixed in equal parts disappointment and disbelief.
No, it’s not the game that was in question. UCLA already led by double digits, and was comfortably on its way to a 92-74 win over Colorado on Thursday night.
It’s just that the home crowd had grown so accustomed to long bombs finding nothing but net. And by the time David Wear’s 3-point attempt spun out in a game long decided, those 8,431 had perhaps only hazy memories of what misses looked like.
Late is better than never. After an underwhelming start to its rematch against Colorado — 10 assists to seven turnovers through the first 20 minutes — UCLA (19-5, 8-3) found its groove and cruised to its fourth straight home victory.
The Bruins shot 8-of-12 from beyond the arc in the second half, and 20-of-32 overall. On the night, they finished 11-of-22 from long range. Continue reading →
Colorado (18-6, 7-4) at UCLA (18-5, 7-3)
When: Thursday, 6 p.m., Pauley Pavilion TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch, Bill Walton) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
No. 1: Norman Powell vs. Askia Booker. Last time these two met, UCLA’s junior guard had 19 points to his counterpart’s game-high 21. Powell is a strong man-to-man defender, so it’s Booker — two inches shorter, 45 pounds lighter — that will likely be at a disadvantage. The Colorado guard picked up four fouls when the Bruins visited Boulder, mostly due to Powell’s skill at driving down the lane.
The two have since blossomed into increasingly important roles for their respective teams. With star guard Spencer Dinwiddie sidelined, Booker is a main reason that the Buffs have won three straight. In his past six games, he is averaging 5.67 assists.
No. 2: The 3-point line. Colorado allows 37.1 percent of opposing shots to come from beyond the arc, which is the worst mark of anyone in the conference besides UCLA (42.2). Continue reading →
For the second year in a row, UCLA leaves Boulder victorious.
The No. 25 Bruins earned their first win over a ranked team Thursday night, beating 21st-ranked Colorado, 69-56. Junior guard Norman Powell led the team with a 19 points, including 13 by halftime. The total tied his season high, and was accompanied by three rebounds and four steals.
Sophomore Jordan Adams had 14 points on an uninspiring 4-of-15 performance from the field, but grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds — six on offense.
That latter number helped UCLA continue its recent trend on the boards. Following strong efforts against No. 1 Arizona and Arizona State, it edged the Buffs with a 41-37 rebounding margin. The team survived an off-night from sophomore point guard Kyle Anderson, who didn’t score in the first half and finished with six points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Continue reading →
No. 25 UCLA (13-3, 2-1) at No. 21 Colorado (14-3, 3-1)
Coors Events Center, Thursday, 5 p.m. PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ted Robinson, Don MacLean, Jill Savage) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
No. 1: Can Colorado still compete without Spencer Dinwiddie? The Buffs have enough talent and a capable coach in Tad Boyle that an NCAA tournament berth isn’t out of the question. But losing their leader in scoring (14.7), assists (3.8), steals (1.5) and 3-point shooting (26 made, at a .413 clip) is a blow that no cumulative effort from the rest of the roster can replace.
Fellow guard Askia Booker already leads the team with 197 field goals attempted — 66 more than Dinwiddie — and is only shooting .381 from the field. Continue reading →
Jayon Brown’s big fumble recovery this past weekend has landed him Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
In the second quarter of 45-23 win against Colorado on Saturday, UCLA’s true freshman jumped on top of a loose ball dislodged by fellow first-year Cameron Judge. The recovery gave the Bruins the ball on the Buffs’ 14-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Brett Hundley found Devin Fuller in the end zone, bumping UCLA’s lead 21-10. Continue reading →
Sophomore receiver Devin Fuller erupted for a career night against Colorado, catching a pair of touchdowns and scoring another on a lateral. His first end zone trip opened scoring for UCLA, a 76-yard pass that put the Bruins on the board late in the first quarter.
“The play was, I had a post,” said Fuller, who was used in more deep routes than he had been earlier in the season. “The safety sat on the inside of me. I just had to take it over the top. Brett threw a great ball. I just had to make a play on it. My eyes got big when I saw the ball in the air.”
The former high school quarterback said he had a few five-touchdown games when he played at Old Tappan in New Jersey, as well as a few passes that were around 76 yards. Most of those yards came after the catch, he added. Hundley’s ball traveled about 50 yards through the air.
For the first time in his defensive career, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr went a full game without recording a tackle for loss.
He still made sure Colorado remembered him. In the fourth quarter of the Bruin’s 45-23 win over the Buffs, the All-American crushed true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau at around midfield, drawing a 14-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
After popping back up, Liufau got in Barr’s face and shoved him back, just one of several chippy moments between the Bruins and the Buffs.
However, Liufau is listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. Barr is listed at 6-foot-4, 245 — and said during the summer that he was up to 255. On the next play, the latter hit the former again, this time incurring a 15-yard penalty.
Asked how many quarterbacks had ever pushed him before, Barr said: “Not many. Not many. That was also a first.”
– UCLA allowed Colorado a whopping 26 first downs, seven of which came on penalties. The Buffs’ highest first-down total this season prior to Saturday were their 24 in a season-opening win over Colorado State. Just three of those came on penalties.
The Bruins’ clearly aren’t going to shake their problem with flags. They had 11 for 122 yards, just 17 yards shy of their rushing total. It was the most yards UCLA has lost on penalties since giving away 138 against New Mexico State.
– Speaking of flags, Anthony Barr got a couple of roughing-the-passer penalties late in the game. Quarterback Sefo Liufau even pushed Barr in the chest after the first one. Either way, he looked pretty poised in the pocket for a true freshman.
– Devin Lucien wasn’t exactly happy with the win. The redshirt sophomore wasn’t among the eight receivers who caught a ball Saturday night, his second straight contest going unnoticed on the box score. He has just nine catches on the season, and no more than two in any single game.