The Bruins came home to Westwood and Pauley Pavilion tonight in hopes of breaking their 5 game losing streak with Stanford making the trip down the coast and the SPTR's needing a home team to help out. In a double-overtime battle, UCLA prevailed 86-81.
As chrissor noted in his game preview, this was at heart a battle between UCLA's bigs and Stanford's guards. Kevon Looney and Tony Parker did their best to make the Bruin advantage inside count tonight - Kevon shook off his December swoon with an outstanding 27 point, 19 rebound performance, including a long 3-pointer to tie late in OT, while Parker also pulled off the double-double (22-12). Georgy Golomon played ok in his time on the court, with a nice assist during UCLA's late 2nd half run being one of his 3 in the game, but the bench did not contribute a single point tonight. By the end of the game, an obviously injured Norman Powell was forced to gut it out rather than go to the bench trio.
The first half did not start out that hot for either team, with the Bruins headed to the locker room down 37-32 thanks in part to the trees' taking advantage of periods when all three of Golomon, Allen and Welsh were on the court together The second half wasn't looking better early on, with Powell doing his best to play through an injury while Stanford started hitting 3's and taking advantage of their trips to the line. There just wasn't an defensive answer for Chason Randle (32 points, 11-25, 7-13 3pt) or Anthony Brown (21 pts, 8 rebs) and while Looney and Parker were doing their best inside, Stanford was able to open up a 10-point lead midway through the period, maintaining an 8 point lead until the final few minutes, when they started missing shots while the Bruin Bigs kept on hitting their own.
In a welcome note, none of the bigs got in foul trouble tonight. While Stanford generally caught the wrath of the SPTR's tonight, their attention when focused on UCLA was on the guards. Powell got the Afflalo in the Final Four treatment by picking up 2 fouls in the opening couple minutes, while Bryce Alford played with 4 fouls late in the 2nd half and through most of the first OT period. I did miss the first few minutes of the 2nd half, transitioning from where I was watching the game early until I could get the online radio feed started - that the first thing that I heard upon TuneIn Radio starting up was Alford missing a pair of 3's wasn't a surprise, but Bryce wasn't too shabby overall (5-13, 15/4/4), actually playing under control for the most part, helping Parker contribute early and bailing the team out with made 3's late in regulation and the 1st overtime just before exiting the game. With that said, the Bruins pulled away in the final OT after Bryce (and the Trees' Nastic) was planted on the bench.
While Looney and Parker were the stars of the night for UCLA, do not forget the effort that Norman Powell put forth tonight. He went down hard early in the game and was clearly not at his best afterward, but got himself and played like we hope a senior leader would do in a tough situation, finishing with a 12/5 line while allowing Steve Alford to keep from exposing his barren bench to a crucial period in the game and the Bruins' season.
UCLA's next game is Sunday afternoon against Cal at Pauley Pavilion.