UCLA point guard Bryce Alford named Pac-12 Player of the Week

UCLA point guard Bryce Alford was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career. He averaged 21.5 points in wins over Arizona and Arizona State, and hit a game-winning 3-pointer against the former. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

UCLA point guard Bryce Alford was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career. He averaged 21.5 points in wins over Arizona and Arizona State, and hit a game-winning 3-pointer against the former. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

A few days after making one of the biggest shots of his life, Bryce Alford has a new career first: Pac-12 Player of the Week.

UCLA’s junior point guard earned the conference’s top weekly honor on Monday morning, after averaging 21.5 points on 55.2 percent shooting in wins over then-No. 7 Arizona and Arizona State. He hit late 3-pointers against both teams, doing so most dramatically with a game-winner over Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski.

The Bruins are now the only team to have two different players named the Pac-12 Player of the Week. Sophomore center Thomas Welsh earned the honor on Dec. 7, shortly after helping the team to an upset against then-No. 1 Kentucky.

At 2-2, UCLA is tied with Cal for fifth place in an increasingly unpredictable conference. Arizona is the only ranked Pac-12 team at No. 18, but will be without freshman guard Allonzo Trier (broken hand) for four to six weeks. Eight others from the league are ranked top-50 in RPI.

The Bruins return to Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday at 8 p.m. against USC. The Trojans have stormed out to a surprising 3-1 start in conference play, but remain the only team that has yet to defeat third-year UCLA coach Steve Alford.

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UCLA center Thomas Welsh named Pac-12 Player of the Week

UCLA's Thomas Welsh (40) was named the Pac-12's Player of the Week after his performances against No. 1 Kentucky and Long Beach State. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA’s Thomas Welsh (40) was named the Pac-12’s Player of the Week after his performances against No. 1 Kentucky and Long Beach State. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA center Thomas Welsh was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday, following his performances in wins over No. 1 Kentucky and Long Beach State.

Welsh was particularly effective in the Bruins’ 87-77 victory against the Wildcats last Thursday — their first over a top-ranked team since 2003. The 7-foot sophomore led the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks, shooting 8 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.

He followed up that performance with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a block during Sunday night’s 83-76 win against Long Beach State.

Welsh is the first Bruin to be earn the conference’s top weekly honor since former guard Norman Powell did so on March 2, 2015.

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Ka’imi Fairbairn named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week

UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has been named the Pac-12’s Special Teams Player of the Week after hitting a school-record 60-yard field goal.

The senior broke Chris Sailer’s 18-year-old mark of 56 yards last Thursday, giving the Bruins a 16-point lead going into halftime of their 40-24 win over then-No. 20 Cal. It was the best moment yet in what has been a surprising final season for Fairbairn, who has turned himself into a Lou Groza Award candidate.

The Hawaii native is 13 of 14 on field goal attempts this season, and ranks seventh in the country with a at 92.9 percent. He is also only 17 points away from tying John Lee’s all-time UCLA scoring record of 390.

Fairbairn was also earned the Pac-12’s weekly honor last November, after he made three field goals in a 44-30 win at Washington.

Quarterback Josh Rosen is the only other Bruin to have been named one of the conference’s top weekly players, doing so after his career debut against Virginia.

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Norman Powell wins his third Pac-12 Player of the Week nod

Norman Powell dunks during a 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23, one day before he won his first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.  (Stephen Carr/Staff)

Norman Powell dunks during a 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23, one day before he won his first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Week honor. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

Norman Powell has earned yet another Pac-12 Player of the Week award, making him the only player in the conference to do so three times this season.

UCLA’s senior guard scored a career-high 28 points in Sunday night’s 72-67 win over Washington State, hitting a key 3-pointer with 1:34 left as well as 4 of 6 free throws in the final 41 seconds. Four days earlier, he scored 24 in a blowout of Washington.

This was arguably the best statistical two-game stretch of his career, one that saw him shoot 61.8 percent from the field and average 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals. Without his performance against the Cougars, the Bruins’ likely would have slipped off from bubble team to NIT-bound.

Powell also won the conference’s top weekly honor on Nov. 24 and Feb. 2. His third nod moved him past Cal’s Tyrone Wallace and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, who have both been named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice this season.

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Norman Powell earns second Pac-12 Player of the Week honor

In the midst of a career stretch, UCLA’s Norman Powell has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second time this season.

The senior guard has scored 68 points on 56.1 percent shooting in his last three games, the first time that he has ever strung together three consecutive efforts of at least 20 points. He did this by rediscovering his penchant for attacking the lane — scoring efficiently despite hitting just one of six 3-pointers during the same stretch.

Still the Bruins’ best on-ball defender, he totaled seven steals in wins over Utah and Colorado, as well as nine rebounds and five assists.

Powell had been previously named the conference’s weekly MVP on Nov. 24, after he combined to score 47 points in wins over Nicholls State and Long Beach State. Freshman forward Kevon Looney also won Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 12, making UCLA the only school to have three such honors this season.

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