The game was one of those that was fun on the surface and never was in doubt. But underneath the fun there are worries. Starting with was this UCLA's last game at Pauley this year?
For Powell, senior night was bittersweet, but a return here would be a sadder ending. The only way for the Bruins to play in Westwood again this season would be in the NIT. . .
Powell has been the engine late in the season, but he was jittery, he said, and his shot was askew. Yet, the starters scored all but two of the Bruins' points.
That's just it. UCLA went 9-0 at home in the PAC 12 conference season. A nice record to be sure. However, even against a poorly coached team without its best players the bench could not score.
Maybe the locking up of the fourth place seed is another sign. UCLA had to get a first round bye for the PAC 12 tournament and they did it, barely.
An outside-inside combination of Bryce Alford (23 points) and Tony Parker (22 points) helped the Bruins (19-12, 10-7) lock up fourth place in the Pac-12 Conference and a first-round bye in next week's conference tournament in Las Vegas.
The Bruins also went undefeated (9-0) at home in conference games, finished 16-1 at home overall and beat the Trojans for the ninth time in their last 10 meetings.
While it was Norman Powell's senior night, Tony Parker and Bryce Alford were the ones have the big games. Good news for UCLA fans was the way they did, Parker dominating inside and Bryce scoring efficiently instead of by volume.
Parker got the Bruins going. In the game's first seven minutes, Parker had three offensive rebounds and putback layups, and he had 10 points in the first 6:30.
Alford delivered the daggers. After the Bruins took the lead at 15-12, Alford had a steal and layup, then consecutive 3-pointers to push UCLA's lead to 23-15 with 11:50 left in the first half.
In other news it may also be the last game of Kevon Looney. UCLA received some other news in the form of a new commit:
Three-star forward Alex Olesinski has committed to UCLA, according to Scout.com, giving the Bruins the third member of their 2015 class. The team has already signed four-star guards Aaron Holiday and Prince Ali. . . .
Their parents, Marie and Jan, were members of the Polish national basketball and pentathlon teams, respectively.
UCLA keeps getting more international with GG, Bail and now Olesinski. ESPN lists him as a NR (Not Rated) SMALL forward. Max Preps ranks him number 303. It is also a bit of a strange recuiting process in that the key was Steve Alford's New Mexico connections:
The state of New Mexico tied Steve Alford, Alan Huss and Alex Olesinski together. Unranked and undervalued nationally, Olesinski's senior surge came with the responsibilities of being a role player. It led him to the highest level.
Welcome Alex! Olesinski is a nice edition but is not going to make anyone forget Kevon Looney or our current small forward Norman Powell. The recruiting class needs a big name and a big name big badly.
Otherwise seemingly are only ready for primetime big may be Tony Parker. Parker keeps getting better but he is going to need some help. However, Tony will likely be the most interesting UCLA interview next year and we will close with a Tonyism on how he is going to spend the break before the Vegas PAC 12 tournament:
Parker, who is 6 feet 9 and 260 pounds, said the time off will be exciting because "I get to go to yoga."
But the electioneering for an NCAA invitation, he said, he would leave to the coaching staff.