This game was a nail-biter. Neither team ever led by more than 9 points at any given time. For most of the game, the lead was 5 points or less.
So, it’s not surprising that the game was as close as it was.
In the first two minutes of the game, the Bruins jumped out to a quick five-point lead as they scored seven of the first nine points. But, an 8-0 Utah run gave the Utes a 10-7 lead. Over the next five minutes, Utah would increase their lead to six points with the score, 24-18 Utah.
UCLA would come right back with a 6-0 run of their own to tie it at 24 with 10:32 left in the first half. A 10-3 Bruin run gave UCLA a seven-point lead with just under seven minutes to play before the break and the score was 34-27. The Utes bounced right back with a 10-3 run of their own as the teams ties at 37 with about two minutes to go. The teams would head to the locker room with the score 42-40, UCLA.
The Bruins came out of the locker room looking incredibly flat as Utah started the second half with an 11-0 run to give them a nine-point lead which would prove to be the largest lead of the game for either team and the score was 51-42, Utes.
Over the next four minutes, UCLA slowly cut away at that lead and got it down to 1, 55-54 with 12 minutes to go in the game. The teams would battle back and forth and the score would be tied three times over the next nine minutes and it was tied at 75 with 3:13 to go.
That’s when Sedrick Barefield’s layup gave the Utes a two-point lead, but Bryce Alford nailed a three-pointer to put the Bruins back in front 78-77. Barefield matched Alford with a three of his own to put the Utes up 80-78.
Aaron Holiday took a pass from Lonzo Ball with 1:52 left and hit a three-pointer himself to put the Bruins back in front, 81-80.
After the teams traded a pair of scoreless possessions, Utah got the ball back with just 22 seconds left, but the Bruins still had three fouls to give, which was a little amazing considering some of the fouls that were called by the Pac-12 officials earlier in the game. So, when Utah tried to inbound the ball, they fouled the Utes which kept them from shooting and kept them from the charity stripe.
The Utes had to inbound the ball from the baseline with just 6 seconds to go. At this point, Steve Alford subbed Aaron Holiday in defensively for Bryce Alford. Utah got the ball to Kyle Kuzma who shot and missed a fade away three-pointer with four seconds left and Thomas Welsh came up with the rebound and was fouled immediately, sending Welsh to the line for two.
And, Thomas Welsh hit them both to give UCLA an 83-80 lead.
The Utes inbounded to Lorenzo Bonham who hit a jumper at the buzzer but it didn’t matter as UCLA heads home with an 83-82 win and the first road sweep since Steve Alford became head coach at UCLA.
Lonzo Ball led UCLA with 17 points and Thomas Welsh had 16 while Utah’s Lorenzo Bonham led all scorers with 19. Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday were also in double figures while TJ Leaf posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Overall, it may not have been pretty, but the Bruins got exactly what they needed to stay in the hunt for the conference title. That’s what great teams do.