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NCAAB | Bruins at Wildcats

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NCAAB | Bruins at Wildcats

By Don Phillips

UCLA Bruins (13-10, 4-6) at No. 17/14 Arizona Wildcats (19-5, 7-4)


Venue: McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona (14,538)
Game Time: 9 PM ET, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
Television: ESPN
TV Talent: Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network from IMG College): AM 570
Radio Talent: Bill Roth (play-by-play), Darrick Martin (analyst)
SIRIUS Channel/XM Channel: Ch. 84/Ch. 8

UCLA leads the all-time series 54-40 with the Bruins having won five of the last eight games against the Wildcats. The Bruins lost at the McKale Center last season, 57-47, (Feb. 21, 2015) and did not face the Wildcats in Los Angeles. In March 2014, UCLA outlasted Arizona 75-71 in the Pac-12 Tournament title game.

UCLA looks to sweep the regular-season series against Arizona this evening, having defeated the Wildcats in Pauley Pavilion, 87-84, on Jan. 7 in the Bruins’ first Pac-12 home game of the year. Bryce Alford hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds to play in that game, leading UCLA to an 87-84 win. The Bruins led 81-68 with under 4:23 to play before Arizona used a 15-2 scoring run to tie the contest, 83-83, with 41 seconds left. In the final 25 seconds, UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton and Arizona’s Ryan Anderson each missed one of two free throws before Alford nailed the game winner.

The Bruins have gone 13-10, including a 4-6 mark in Pac-12 games, and have eight regular-season games remaining. Three of UCLA’s wins this season have come against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll – No. 1 Kentucky (Dec. 3), at No. 20 Gonzaga (Dec. 12) and No. 7 Arizona (Jan. 7).

In the team’s only game last week, UCLA dropped an 80-61 decision at USC, marking the first time since 2010 in which the Bruins lost both regular season contests to the Trojans. Four UCLA players scored in double figures, with Aaron Holiday scoring a team-leading 15 points before a capacity crowd at USC’s Galen Center.

UCLA is the only Pac-12 team to have at least two scorers in the conference’s top 10 (Bryce Alford is fourth with 16.7 ppg, Isaac Hamilton ranks seventh with 16.3 ppg). The Bruins are the only Pac-12 team with at least two players among the league’s top 10 rebounders (Tony Parker is third with 9.3 rpg, Thomas Welsh ranks sixth with 8.8 rpg).

Senior Tony Parker and Thomas Welsh rank first and second, respectively, among all Pac-12 players in offensive rebounds. Parker, who ranks third in the league in total rebounds per game (9.3 rpg), has registered 3.9 offensive boards per game. Welsh, the league’s sixth-leading rebounder (8.8 rpg), has averaged 3.6 offensive rebounds per contest. Parker and Welsh have each recorded nine double-doubles, tied for the fourth-highest total among Pac-12 players. The Bruins’ duo has grabbed 43 percent of UCLA’s total rebounds (408 of 947).

Junior guard Bryce Alford has averaged a team-leading 16.7 points per game, the fourth-highest scoring average in the Pac-12. Alford also ranks third in the conference in both assists per game (5.3) and assist-turnover ratio (2.4). He has not committed more than two turnovers in any of the team’s last nine games, logging 50 assists and 12 turnovers in that span (4.2 assist-turnover ratio).

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Selection: UCLA