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Monmouth upsets UCLA men’s basketball in season opener

Senior forward/center Tony Parker fouled out of the game with 1:49 to go in overtime, and the Bruins leading 80-75. After Parker went out, Monmouth went on a 9-1 run and won the game 84-81. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Men's basketball


Monmouth84
UCLA81

By Matt Joye

Nov. 13, 2015 11:46 p.m.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock at Pauley Pavilion, the visiting team threw the ball 30 feet into the air, and a herd of players charged onto the court.

It wasn’t a March Madness upset, but it felt like it. The Monmouth Hawks (1-0) went into Westwood and defeated the 14-point favorite UCLA Bruins on their home court, 84-81. The loss marked the first time that a Steve Alford-coached UCLA team lost a home opener.

The story of the game was turnovers. The Bruins (0-1) committed 23, blowing away their average of 11.9 from last year.

“In my short three years, I don’t remember a game where we were so careless with the basketball,” Alford said after the game. “Careless passing, careless dribbling, careless in transition – that’s just not the way we usually are. For some reason tonight we were.”

Many of the Bruins’ turnovers were unforced. There were hasty outlet passes, poor inbounds passes and a fair share of loose dribbles on the perimeter. Monmouth didn’t employ full-court pressure and they didn’t use much deny defense, they just took advantage of seemingly every faulty dribble from UCLA.

“A lot of them were kind of unconventional turnovers,” said junior guard Bryce Alford, who led UCLA with 22 points and 42 minutes. “I mean (junior guard) Isaac (Hamilton) got ripped once, I got ripped once, and I’m pretty sure (freshman guard) Aaron (Holiday) got ripped once. That doesn’t happen.”

The high number of turnovers prevented UCLA from closing out the game after it was in complete control. The Bruins were leading by as many as 13 points with 12:29 in the second half, but then turned the ball over four times over the next seven minutes, allowing Monmouth to take a 61-60 lead with less than six minutes to play.

From there on, it was a tug-of-war all the way to the finish. Bryce Alford made back-to-back 3-pointers to put UCLA up 70-66, but Monmouth answered with a 3-pointer and a layup of its own.

As the game went into overtime, Monmouth became the aggressor, drawing five fouls on UCLA in the extra period. Those five fouls led to 10 free throw attempts, nine of which were made by Monmouth. Perhaps the biggest play was when Monmouth fouled out UCLA senior forward/center Tony Parker, who had dominated the paint for most of the night. Parker finished the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds, but had to sit out the last 1:49 of overtime, as Monmouth went on a 9-1 run to win the game.

“They just played harder than us; they played way harder than us,” said Parker after the game, staring down at the stat sheet. “They had 13 assists and we had 23 turnovers. We can’t have 23 turnovers. We can’t have 23 turnovers – that decides games.”

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Matt Joye | Alumnus
Joye joined the Bruin as a sophomore transfer in 2013 and contributed until after he graduated in 2016. He was an assistant Sports editor for the 2014-2015 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, men's soccer, women's tennis, track and field and cross country beats.
Joye joined the Bruin as a sophomore transfer in 2013 and contributed until after he graduated in 2016. He was an assistant Sports editor for the 2014-2015 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, men's soccer, women's tennis, track and field and cross country beats.
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