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Men’s basketball recovers from season-opening loss to win against Cal Poly

Senior forward Tony Parker had 16 points and 14 rebounds in UCLA’s win over Cal Poly. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Men's basketball


UCLA88
Cal Poly83

By Claire Fahy

Nov. 15, 2015 10:40 p.m.

Tony Parker sat at the podium, shaking his head and mumbling his words. One thing he said was completely clear: “Thirteen assists and 23 turnovers.” The senior forward kept repeating the stat line over and over.

That was Friday. An overtime upset loss to Monmouth had stunned the Bruins and left them looking for answers. By Sunday, it didn’t look like they had necessarily found any, but the team at least managed to reverse those unflattering numbers.

UCLA (1-1) had 22 assists and 11 turnovers against Cal Poly (0-2) in its 88-83 rebound win.

“That’s who we are and that’s who we gotta be,” said coach Steve Alford. “We have to develop that consistency.”

Both games had similar storylines, neither in the Bruins’ favor. UCLA jumped out to early leads each time and came out of halftime strong, but hit scoring droughts as the minutes dwindled. Where Monmouth was able to capitalize, forcing overtime before clinching the 84-81 decision, Cal Poly matched the Bruins’ crunch-time struggles.

READ MORE: Monmouth upsets UCLA men’s basketball in season opener

“Friday we had a good lead, a double-digit lead, they took the lead from us and we weren’t able to win,” Alford said. “(Sunday), same thing, double-digit lead, playing really well, they make a serious run and take the lead from us and we found a way to win.”

The Mustangs took their first lead of the game with 6:29 left to play, going up 69-68 off a jumper by Luke Meikle, who led Cal Poly’s bench with 18 points. The opponents wouldn’t lead again, as Meikle missed his next three shots and team-leader Reese Morgan missed seven to forfeit the upset.

The difference was in UCLA’s guard play. The backcourt combination of freshman Aaron Holiday with juniors Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton produced 38 points and 22 assists compared to Friday’s performance. Against Monmouth, the three combined for 36 points, but only managed half the number of assists and double the turnovers.

“The three of us knew that the first game was on us … we win as a team, we lose as a team but we knew that the three of us didn’t play very well,” said Bryce Alford. “I think we played a lot better as a backcourt instead of three individual guards playing.”

Parker sat at the podium again Sunday, studying the stat sheet, this time in a much different mood. When asked about his relationship with sophomore center Thomas Welsh, Parker was more concerned with off-court issues than Welsh’s career-high 22 points.

“Really with Tom, it’s just about getting his swagger right,” Parker said. “I really want him to rock long hair, with like with the headband, but he won’t do it.”

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Claire Fahy | Alumna
Fahy joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2013 and contributed until she graduated in 2017. She was the Sports editor for the 2015-2016 academic year and an assistant Sports editor for the 2014-2015 academic year. Fahy spent time on the football, men's basketball, men's water polo, men's volleyball and swim and dive beats.
Fahy joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2013 and contributed until she graduated in 2017. She was the Sports editor for the 2015-2016 academic year and an assistant Sports editor for the 2014-2015 academic year. Fahy spent time on the football, men's basketball, men's water polo, men's volleyball and swim and dive beats.
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