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News Roundup of a UCLA 71-66 Win Over Gonzaga

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UCLA beats its second top 20 team in 9 days

Jonah Bolden put up a great fight against Kyle Wiltjer
Jonah Bolden put up a great fight against Kyle Wiltjer
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

For the news roundup let's lead with point one of Jack Wang's three obvious points but that feature the word of the day:

This might be Steve Alford's most intriguing UCLA team yet. The Bruins pulled off their most impressive road win in years on Saturday, upsetting No. 20 Gonzaga in a 71-66 decision. They became just the 11th team to ever beat the Bulldogs at McCarthey Athletic Center, which opened in 2004.

. . .

While UCLA has some defensive issues, it is starting to gel into a potent offensive lineup. The Bruins opened at Gonzaga with 17 points in less than five minutes, fell into a prolonged slump, then dominated the paint early in the second half. Far from perfect, but good enough for an offensive efficiency rating that leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 22 in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy.

It's difficult to peg who UCLA's leading scorer might be on any given night, which could signal versatility, inconsistency, or a bit of both. Four players have taken turns pacing the Bruins in their last four games. At Gonzaga, Isaac Hamilton had a second straight 20-point outing for the first time in his career.

Early in the year Alford talked about versatility and depth.  The depth part seems like a bit of BS but on offense this is a versatile team that can score many different ways from ucla.edu:

UCLA defeated its second Top 20 opponent in nine days, downing No. 20 Gonzaga, 71-66, on Saturday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Isaac Hamilton led four Bruins in double-figure scoring with 20 points. Tony Parker shot 8-of-9 from the field and scored 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Bryce Alford scored 13 points, breaking the 1,000 point barrier for his career, and Jonah Bolden recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

UCLA (7-3) jumped out to a 10-3 lead thanks to two buckets by Thomas Welsh and a pair of three-pointers by Hamilton. The Bruins extended their lead to as many as eight points, 13-5, after a three-pointer by Alford before Kyle Wiltjer's three-point shooting brought Gonzaga (6-3) to within three, 17-14. After just five minutes of play, the two teams combined to hit 12 of 16 shots, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. . . .

[In the second half] Parker took over from there, scoring six of UCLA's eight points in an 8-2 Bruin run that saw UCLA regain the lead, 40-39.

If the word of the day is intriguing then the most intriguing player was Jonah Bolden:

Bolden was good enough on D to limit the very good Kyle Wiltjer.  But on offense, three possessions in a row, Bolden put up wild ugly shots:

If Parker and Hamilton where the keys on offense, Bolden was the key on defense:

Meanwhile, Wiltjer made everything he attempted early on, including long three-pointers on three straight possessions. By the first media timeout, UCLA led, 17-14. The race, it seemed, was on.

But Jonah Bolden was watching from the bench. He noticed Parker was giving Wiltjer just enough space, and Wiltjer was punishing him.

Bolden subbed in at the break, and his defense slowed down Wiltjer. Bolden played a career-high 30 minutes, and recorded his first double-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds. By halftime, the scoring had been stanched. Gonzaga led, 32-3.

One last note is Prince Ali hurt his knee his status is unknown:

UCLA's Prince Ali left the game with a left knee sprain. Alford said he does not believe it was serious, but it will require more testing.

What is known is this team is intriguing and will be ranked this week.

Go Bruins!