Norman Powell scored a season-high 21 points in UCLA’s 83-73 win at USC last night, 10 of which came in the first 7:08 of the second half as part of his team’s 27-6 run.
It’s not the first time the junior has played the spark plug role this season. In a 70-68 win at Oregon, he scored eight of UCLA’s first 10 points of the second half. In a 69-56 win at Colorado, he scored 19 and forced Buffs guard Askia Booker into early foul trouble.
What made his latest outing a bit different was the return of his shooting stroke. He entered the game shooting 18.4 percent from beyond the arc, but made 2-of-4 against the Trojans. It was the second time this season that he drained multiple 3-pointers.
His eight field goals on Saturday were also a single-game record for a UCLA player in the Galen Center, which was built before the 2006-07 season.
Powell’s improved play has come with increased playing time — though why that uptick hadn’t come earlier is still a pertinent question. The guard has played at least 30 minutes in three of his past four games. He had only cleared that mark in two other games: the first two of the season, against Drexel and Oakland. Continue reading →
On its most recent road swing, UCLA hardly looked like the second-best team in the Pac-12.
It lost at Oregon State, a team that has finished eighth or lower in four of head coach Craig Robinson’s first five seasons. It barely held on at Oregon, a team that had dropped five of its first six conference games.
And yet, it entered Saturday night 2.5 games behind Arizona and half-a-game ahead of a third-place quartet. In retrospect, the preseason talk of a vastly improved conference was perhaps overblown.
Despite its recent hiccups, the Bruins sauntered into the Galen Center and — after a sloppy start — smacked around rival USC in an 83-73 victory. Continue reading →
Gardena Serra standout Adoree’ Jackson picked USC this morning, giving the Trojans a big push in a rivalry that had been tilting quickly to UCLA.
Last year, the Bruins finished with a consensus top-10 recruiting class for the first time since 2010, also their first haul ranked higher than USC’s by both Rivals.com and Scout.com since 2002. This year, UCLA whiffed on nearly every major recruit it hoped for heading into National Signing Day — including Jackson, who at No. 6 overall was the highest-ranked uncommitted player left in the country.
Missing out on the five-star cornerback/athlete ended a disappointing day for the Bruins, who reeled in a solid class but one that will finish outside the top 15 nationally.
The team also missed out on five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans (Alabama), five-star receiver Malachi Dupre, and four-star defensive end Davon Godchaux (LSU). They did manage to wrangle four-star linebacker Kenny Young out of Louisiana, but will finish this cycle without any five-star recruits.
At the halftime buzzer, Jordan Adams soared up next to the basket and tipped in a wayward 3-point attempt — giving UCLA a commanding 24-point lead at the break.
Some 30 seconds later, officials waved off the two points after a review. It was about the only break USC caught all Sunday afternoon, as the Bruins thoroughly dismantled them 107-73 at Pauley Pavilion.
The scoring total was UCLA’s largest this season, and tied for its highest total ever against the Trojans as well as the second-highest margin of victory. Continue reading →
Former USC fullback and longtime assistant Kennedy Polamalu found himself in rival colors Saturday. Hired as UCLA’s new running backs coach, he returned to the place where he got his start as a graduate assistant in 1992.
“Believe me, I was as shocked when I got the phone call as everyone else,” he said. “I’m still kind of in shock.”
Though he spent seven seasons across two stints on the Trojans’ staff, his wife and in-laws are Bruin alums. He got plenty of teasing about seeing “the light.” As for all the USC players he had coached? “They said, ‘Coach, you’re not the enemy; you’re an opponent now.’ I appreciate that.” Continue reading →
In a move that strengthens UCLA’s place atop Los Angeles, the Bruins are set to hire former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu. Bruin Report Online first reported the news.
Polamalu replaces former UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard, who was fired on Monday. The Bruins had landed just one running back recruit — four-star prospect Craig Lee — through their first two signing classes of the Jim Mora era.
Formerly known as Kennedy Pola, the 50-year-old is well known for his recruiting acumen. A Trojans’ fullback from 1982-1985, Polamalu became the school’s running backs/special teams coach in 2000. Over the next four seasons, he coached running backs Justin Vargas and Hershel Dennis, as well as All-American punter Tom Malone.
He also coached Reggie Bush and LenDale White when the pair combined for 1,604 yards and 21 touchdowns from scrimmage as freshmen. Continue reading →
UCLA pulled the Victory Bell back into Pauley Pavilion for the second year in a row, ringing it at halftime of the Bruins’ game against UC Santa Barbara. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was charged with leading an eight-clap, which he closed with a, um, message for USC.