Freshman point guard Lonzo Ball led No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball to an 83-82 win over Utah on Saturday to complete the Bruins’ first sweep of a road trip during coach Steve Alford’s tenure.
Ball played all 40 minutes, producing 17 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals to carry UCLA to victory in a tight contest that featured nine ties and 12 lead changes.
After heading into halftime leading 42-40, the Bruins let the Utes start the second half on an 11-0 run before Ball finally drilled a 3 on UCLA’s eighth shot of the period. UCLA would trail throughout much of the half, but closed the game on a 14-9 run to finish off Utah.
Sophomore guard Aaron Holiday’s 3-pointer gave the Bruins the lead for good with just under two minutes to go, and junior center Thomas Welsh’s free throws with one second left extended the lead to 83-80.
Utah then chucked the ball all the way downcourt, allowing forward Kyle Kuzma to make a two-point shot at the buzzer and bring the final deficit to just one point.
The Bruins, who lead the nation in offensive rating, were slightly off Saturday, shooting under 50 percent for just the sixth time this year, but they were able to hang on even as the Utes produced their third-best shooting performance of the season.
Welsh put up 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added eight rebounds, while freshman forward TJ Leaf recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 boards.
Senior guard Isaac Hamilton, who seemed to break out of a recent shooting slump in Thursday’s win over Colorado, struggled again Saturday, notching just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting in a season-low 22 minutes.