UCLA squeezes past UNLV in Maui Invitational with 77-75 win

The UCLA men’s basketball team will take any win it can get at this point, but how it looked on Monday night against UNLV doesn’t inspire much confidence.

If the Runnin’ Rebels — which has missed two straight NCAA Tournaments and is coming off a seventh-place finish in the Mountain West — took the Bruins down to the wire in a 77-75 decision, what exactly will No. 5 Kansas due tomorrow night?

UCLA deserves credit in at least a couple of areas. Its 3-2 zone defense held UNLV to 41 percent from the field. It was nearly flawless at the free throw line, hitting 23 straight after point guard Bryce Alford’s first miss.

There were several other causes for concern. The biggest was the disappearance of senior Tony Parker, who had opened the season with three straight double-doubles. The Bruins had tried to use both its centers in the same lineup this season, playing Parker next to 7-foot sophomore Thomas Welsh. That wasn’t possible against UNLV, as Parker faded back into his foul-troubled self of old. Continue reading

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UCLA fullback Nate Iese’s role expanding early in 2015

UCLA fullback Nate Iese is listed at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds. UNLV cornerback Torry McTyer is 6-foot, 180.

So when the two collided during the second quarter at Sam Boyd Stadium, one of them plowed on through while the other went flying.

Did Iese feel the contact? “Um, no.”

Iese took off out of the flats twice before the end of the frame, going against McTyer for 9- and 15-yard gains. He ended the 37-3 win with 30 yards on three catches, and now has 73 receiving yards on the season. Perennially underused early in his career, the redshirt junior only had 70 yards on 12 catches all of last season — although two went for touchdowns.

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UCLA linebacker Kenny Young talks about first career interception

UCLA linebacker Kenny Young took back his first career interception during the Bruins’ 37-3 win at UNLV, returning one 23 yards for the only scoring play of the second quarter.

“What happened is the quarterback tried to sprint out,” the sophomore said. “He tried to break contain. And I think he tried to throw it to the running back, but it tipped off the running back’s fingers. It was like a reaction thing, if anything, and I just housed it from there. …

“It was just so exciting that it was my first college pick-six. I’m still soaking it up. Probably going to go to sleep thinking about it.”

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Recapping UCLA’s 37-3 win at UNLV

In case you missed it, here’s some of our coverage from UCLA’s 37-3 win at UNLV on Saturday.

» Josh Rosen wasn’t perfect in his road debut, but UCLA didn’t need him to be.
» Reserve offensive lineman Tevita Halalilo will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle.
» Saturday’s game wasn’t the first time Rosen met UNLV coach Tony Sanchez.
» Game story on the 37-3 decision at Sam Boyd Stadium.

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