UCLA Basketball Stays Competitive In Tough League
January 14, 2016
By Myke Williams
The UCLA men's and women's basketball teams are playing competitive basketball in leagues where on any given night the last place team can beat a top team. The league is that competitive.
The UCLA men found that out during their first weekend of Pac-12 play when they lost to Washington and Washington State.
After starting 0-2 in the Pac-12 the Bruin men turned their fortunes around when they swept the Arizona schools last week. Their 87-84 thrilling victory over Arizona at home in front of over 12,000 fans was old fashioned UCLA basketball. The Bruins are currently 11-6 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play.
Bruin guard Bryce Alford hit the game-winning shot against the Wildcats with 1.8 seconds left. "Bryce is a tough kid and a tough competitor," said UCLA head coach Steve Alford after the win over Arizona. "We were much more energized than we were against the Washington schools. We are a different team when we play with energy."
One player who has to be at the top of his game every night if the Bruins expect to contend for the Pac-12 championship is senior center/forward, Tony Parker. "I tell Tony that he has to step up and be a leader for this team. He is the only senior on the team."
The Bruins played the Trojans last Wednesday and their next games will be next week against Oregon State on January 20 at 8 p.m. and Saturday January 23, against Oregon at 1 p.m. on CBS.
The Bruin women are 11-4 overall and 3-1 in Pac-12 play. The second place Bruins travel to Washington to play the Huskies on Friday, January 15, at 8 p.m., and they play Washington State on Sunday January 17, at noon.
The No. 17-ranked Bruins were beaten by the Trojans last Sunday at USC, 71-68. That was the first Pac-12 loss for the Bruins. "They were the better team tonight," said UCLA head coach Cori Close who is in her fourth year as head of the Bruin program. "They did not surprise us. When you get into the thick of the No. 1 conference in the nation there are not a lot of surprises. Everyone knows what everyone else is going to do. When you play close games you have to weather the storm with defense. Our team will respond after this loss."