Monday, September 24

Men’s basketball takes down Master’s University in exhibition game


Freshman TJ Leaf had 19 points and 12 rebounds in his UCLA debut. The forward showcased his versatility by dunking and then stepping back for the midrange. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Freshman TJ Leaf had 19 points and 12 rebounds in his UCLA debut. The forward showcased his versatility by dunking and then stepping back for the midrange. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)


No standout stars were needed Tuesday night.

UCLA topped Master’s University 100-58 in its only exhibition game behind balanced scoring from its starters and its bench.

All five starters scored in double figures, and freshmen forward TJ Leaf and guard Lonzo Ball notched double-doubles in their collegiate debuts, combining for 13-23 from the field.

Seniors Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton each finished 6-11 from the field, and combined for 7-13 from long range. The guards’ 3-point shooting stretched the floor and opened the lane for Leaf, Ball and junior center Thomas Welsh.

Leaf led the team with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but the forward added big plays for the Bruins in transition, taking the ball coast-to-coast for open dunks against an undersized Master’s University.

Ball consistently lobbed the ball up Leaf and passed his open teammates the ball, leading the team with six assists.

The Bruins had eight assists on their first nine shots in the first half, but could not move the ball as cleanly in the second, finishing the game with 20 turnovers.

They finished the game with 25 assists to 20 turnovers after averaging 15.7 and 12.3 respectively last year.

Ball added two steals and a block, including chasing down a Mustangs player on an open break opportunity to swat the ball away.

Although coach Steve Alford was pleased with the freshmen’s efficiency overall, he pointed out key areas – 3-point shooting and turnovers – for the Bruins to focus on before their season opener against Pacific on Friday.

[Read more: UCLA earns high preseason rankings, individual honors]

UCLA took 24 3s, making nine of them, but Alford would like the Bruins to shoot more long-range shots. The fourth-year coach said it would be the strength of the team and the”free-flowing offense” once the season starts.

UCLA will open the regular season Nov. 11 against Pacific. Last year, the Bruins fell flat in their home opener, losing to 84-81 Monmouth.

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