With only a few days left before Thursday’s tipoff against SMU, UCLA center Tony Parker talked about his matchup against the Mustangs’ bigs and the importance of him staying out of foul trouble.
UCLA center Tony Parker talks about Isaac Hamilton’s big day against USC, and facing Arizona again on Friday in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal.
Norman Powell has played in 135 career games for UCLA, a mark bested by only a handful of other Bruins in program history. Along the way, he has gone from little-used benchwarmer to one of the most exciting driving guards in the conference.
He has also gone 7-1 against USC, becoming the first UCLA player to get a career road sweep against the Trojans since Toby Bailey did from 1995-98.
It’s fitting then that the 6-foot-4 guard will get to face the crosstown rival on Wednesday at 6 p.m., his last game ever at Pauley Pavilion barring a trip to the NIT. Asked about playing the Trojans, Powell relayed a message he said head coach Steve Alford had used to open the week.
Thomas Welsh made his third career start for UCLA on Sunday, replacing center Tony Parker in the lineup against Washington State.
Parker was stuck to the bench for tipoff at Pauley Pavilion because he had been late to a shootaround earlier in the day, but entered the game at the 14:40 mark of the first half. Welsh had also replaced Parker for games at Oregon State and Oregon in January, which the junior missed due to back spasms.
During that trip, the 7-foot freshman totaled 12 points and 11 rebounds in 59 combined minutes against the Beavers and the Ducks. UCLA lost both games.
Welsh is averaging 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 points on 43.9 percent shooting in his first season.
Tony Parker couldn’t stay on the floor on UCLA’s last road trip, fouling out in losses at Arizona State and Arizona. In that stretch, he totaled just four points and two rebounds.
Facing Washington at home was a complete 180, as the 6-foot-9 big man abused the Huskies’ undersized lineup early. He made his first four shots, and finished with 20 points as the Bruins won 88-66.
“I only took two shots that (last week),” he said. “I knew I had to come out aggressive and play tough just to get going. … Staying out of foul trouble was a big thing for me too.”