Bruins race to 104-89 win against Colorado Buffaloes
(Courtesy of Phil McKenzie/CU Independent)
By TuAnh Dam
Jan. 12, 2017 11:05 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 13 at 12:23 a.m.
No slow second half for Bruins tonight.
The No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball (17-1, 4-1 Pac-12) wouldn’t let up against the Colorado Buffaloes (10-7, 0-4), as the Bruins cruised to a 104-89 win against one of the worst teams in the conference after a close first half.
“The first half I thought I was running in mud, like my breathing was off or something,” said freshman guard Lonzo Ball. “But we all regrouped, and the offense started clicking. Coaches got us focused at halftime and knew that we had to try and blow the lead open.”
UCLA shot 61 percent from beyond the arc and set a new school record for made 3s on the road with 19, including nine from senior guard Bryce Alford.
Alford, who made his first three 3-pointers out of the locker room, also set a career-high 37 points.
“I always say when you see the first couple go in it always helps,” Alford said. “I don’t think there is anyone in the country that can play at our pace for a full 40 minutes a game. We knew if we continued to have the pace we had then we could break away in the second half, and that’s what we did.”
Four other players were in double digits Thursday night, as the Bruins broke 100 points for the first time in conference play.
Senior Isaac Hamilton, who struggled with his shot entering this game, found his rhythm in the second half.
Hamilton had made eight of his last 41 shots, before making a reverse layup in the first. The guard later made all four of his second-half shots and finished with 20 points and four rebounds.
“I had a three-game slump, but I think the game prior was a bounce back,” Hamilton said. “That just goes to show you that at any moment any guy can get hot. It opened the floor for Aaron (Holiday) and Lonzo. It’s hard for teams to guard that.”
Ball nearly had as many assists as the entire home team, putting up eight to facilitate his teammates and sinking shots of his own from well beyond the arc, often stifling the Colorado run.
But despite the show on the offensive end of the court, the team struggled with rebounding once again.
Colorado outrebounded UCLA 34 to 28 overall and had the 12 to five edge in offensive rebounding.
The second chance opportunities kept the Buffs within striking distance in the first half, but they couldn’t sustain the same level in the second despite all four of the Bruin bigs being in foul trouble.
Colorado’s own bigs had the advantage in the paint with 30 points to 24, especially with junior center Thomas Welsh unable to knock down his jumpers consistently.
Welsh, who missed four games with a knee injury before returning against Oregon in December, was the only starter to not score in double figures, tallying four points and six rebounds before fouling out.
Ball, Leaf, junior GG Golomon and freshman Ike Anigbogu all picked up three or more fouls, but by then the Bruins had opened up a double-digit lead that the Buffs could not make a significant cut into.
UCLA will travel to Salt Lake City to take on Utah who upset No. 25 USC on Thursday night. The Bruins will be looking to complete their first road sweep under coach Steve Alford and continue a five-game win streak in conference play.