UCLA had its first significant road win of the season and its first outside of LA to bring UCLA into a tie for third place. More importantly, it makes a tournament bid not only possible but likely if UCLA wins all the remaining games it should, which means all games besides against Arizona.
Norman Powell scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Isaac Hamilton finished with 18 points to lead UCLA past Stanford, 69-67, in a Pac-12 game at Maples Pavilion on Thursday night. . . .
Hamilton made four of his first five 3-point field goal attempts and scored 12 of the Bruins' first 26 points. . . .
Leading at halftime, 31-25, Powell helped the Bruins increase their cushion by scoring 15 of his of his game-high 20 points in the second half. The senior guard from San Diego, Calif., shot just 2 for 10 in the first half, but answered by nailing 5 of 9 field goal attempts after the break. . . .
Hamilton drained a 3-pointer just 10 seconds into the second half, propelling UCLA to an early 8-0 run. In fact, the Bruins extended their margin to 22 points (57-35) on a free throw shot from Hamilton with 10:18 to play.
Hamilton had his best game as a Bruin for what he did on defense as well. Steve Alford said:
"I said this to him in the locker room. I said, ‘Hey, your offense is nice. But, what you are doing for us defensively, that is what means the world to us.' From what he did against Utah, and then Colorado and the job he did on [Askia] Booker, and then tonight - I don't think that there's a better guard in this league than Randle. This was probably one of [Randle's] his worst games of the season and Isaac had a lot do to with that."
Shutting down PAC 12 POY candidate Randle and leading by 22 in the second half you think would lead to an easy win, but it did not. For two reasons. Reason one from Jack Wang:
That was when it all unraveled. Alford, who finished with 18 points and an absurd 30-foot 3-pointer, didn't do much to move the ball. He stalled a few late offensive possessions by launching jumpers, and finished with just one assist against three turnovers. UCLA had nine assists but also nine giveaways, which Stanford turned into 16 points.
His teammates threw up bricks with him, the Bruins collectively missing their last seven shots. Their final four points came at the free throw line, an area that was not particularly forgiving: UCLA went 13-of-22 at the charity stripe.
I would argue we took the lead when Bryce playing off the ball and almost lost the lead with Bryce on the ball. Bryce took 4 of the last five first shots and missed them all.
Next, playing on the road in the PAC 12 sometimes you have to play against an extra man, the SPTR. Walton went off on fouls that GG and Welsh had called on them for being hit by the moving arms of Stanford players. After Chason Randle got called for a flagrant foul, the refs stopped calling Stanford fouls until they fouled at the end of the game intentionally while Kevon Looney almost fouled out and Tony Parker did. I think some of that may have been miss placed guilt for the below:
Stanford looked out of it when it trailed by 58-36 at the midway point of the second half. But the Cardinal embarked on a 17-5 run that got it within 10 points with 5:35 to play. That spurt started right after Randle was called for a flagrant foul for an elbow to the face.
"I think it got guys fired up a little bit," Stanford senior Anthony Brown said, who led his team with 19 points. "Coach got fired up. He was kind of getting into us. We weren't playing with any passion, any pride. After that happened, we said, 'We have to do something now. We can't lose by 30 at home.'"
UCLA had the same number of fouls called on it as a team trying to foul to catch up after the Randle flagrant foul. Most hilariously the SPTR initially gave the ball to Stanford on a play late in the game when Bryce was intentionally fouled by two separate Stanford players and clearly the ball went off Stanford. (A review reversed the call.)
In this roundup I'll give the last word to Jack Wang who is seemingly the only beat reporter who covered the game.
UCLA played stretches of good basketball and stretches of bad basketball, and bits of basketball that hung on little more than good fortune. . . .
It was a victory that moved UCLA (14-9, 6-4) into third-place tie in the Pac-12, and one that represented the team's first significant road win of the season. It was also one that saw the Bruins - who attacked and defended well through the middle swath of the game - melt down in the final minutes, going without a field goal after 5:19 after leading by as much as 22 points.