Bruins earn semifinals spot in comeback win

UCLA Arizona State with a scrappy comeback Thursday afternoon, earning an 80-75 rubber-match victory after being down 15 points in the second half.

Some extra notes from the Bruins’ first game in Las Vegas, one that earned them a semifinals matchup against Arizona tomorrow at 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Network). Continue reading

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FINAL: UCLA 80, ASU 75

UCLA pulls out a huge win over ASU, winning 80-75 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena after coming back from a 15-point halftime deficit. The Bruins can thank senior point guard Larry Drew II, who led the team with 20 points despite being shackled with four fouls for much of the second half. Continue reading

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UCLA vs. ASU: Halftime update

Jordan Bachynski could be an NBA first-round pick if UCLA were the only team he ever faced. A big reason for Arizona State’s 41-33 lead, the 7-foot-2 center worked the Bruins early with a game-high 14 points, adding four rebounds and a block. He got caught twice goaltending — including one on Larry Drew II that opened scoring for the Bruins — but logged one official block and is two away from breaking the Pac-12 season record. Continue reading

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UCLA vs. ASU: What to Watch

UCLA (20-7, 10-4) vs. ASU (20-8, 9-6)
Tipoff:
8:30 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/AM 570

At a glance: UCLA had one of its worst games of the season against Arizona State, a 78-60 laugher in Tempe Tucson that sucked all the goodwill from the Bruins’ upset of Arizona. Many players said they’re still using that game as motivation, similar to the way they did Sunday in avenging their home loss to USC.

ASU has been inconsistent, but needs a win to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. Ben Howland said this week he expects the Sun Devils — projected as one of the last teams out of the field of 68 — to play with that sort of desperate attitude. Continue reading

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Parker looks to shine against Sun Devils

Opportunity is knocking for Tony Parker.

At 6-foot-9, 275 pounds, Parker is UCLA’s lone true big man — an asset that, if developed, would solve one of the Bruins’ most glaring woes. He’s yet to become that frontcourt salve, a combination of poor health and inconsistent play keeping him off the floor.

That changed a bit Sunday, as he pick-and-rolled his way to eight first-half points in a 75-59 win at USC. When UCLA tips off against Arizona State at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the freshman will get another chance to earn minutes.

“It’s just teaching him to play with physicality,” coach Ben Howland said. “He’s got a great lower body. He’s got good strength. He’s got good hands.”

The downsides? His defense, while improving, isn’t where it should be. He dribbles too often in the low post, giving opposing defenders a chance to block his shot. Continue reading

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