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UCLA Basketball News Roundup: A Win that Brings Back Memories

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UCLA has found it’s “go to” guy.

NCAA Basketball: Hall of Fame Classic-Wisconsin at UCLA
Holiday game winning layup beats Wisconsin
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

All the news stories this time on UCLA’s 72-70 win focus on Aaron Holiday and his last second shot. The LA Times even compared it to the most famous layup in UCLA lore:

Tyus Edney was just talking about his famous game-winning shot, which propelled UCLA past Missouri en route to the 1995 national title, so it was fitting that a final-second layup by another diminutive Bruins guard — junior Aaron Holiday — proved to be the difference Tuesday in a 72-70 victory against Wisconsin during the third-place game at the Hall of Fame Classic.

“Winning on a layup like that,” Edney, a first-year UCLA assistant coach, said with a chuckle, “it’s pretty funny....Just being here and, before the game talking with some people who remember that play and things, then Aaron hitting that layup, that’s kind of ironic.”

The game at the neutral site of the College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri makes those kind of memories even more relevant. But the shot answered some other questions. As UCLA Coach Steve Alford stated:

His teammates will grow by watching what he does late game, and knowing that he is a go-to guy.

UCLA found its leader and “go-to” guy last night. This is now Aaron’s team. Ironically, Aaron was a non-factor in the first half:

Aaron Holiday spent most of the game trying to get his teammates involved, even forcing a couple of passes when UCLA coach Steve Alford reckoned he should have taken the shot.

Well, he took one when it meant the most.

Boy, did he ever:

Holiday’s brilliance, which delivered Alford’s 100th victory as UCLA’s coach, wasn’t limited to that single moment. Holiday, who also beat the first-half buzzer with a circus layup, scored the Bruins’ final 10 points during the last 2:47 in erasing a 67-62 deficit.

During that stretch, he drilled his only two three-pointers of the game, sandwiched around a pair of free throws before delivering the dagger with 0.9 seconds left.

And, apparently, others noticed as well.

Aaron definitely earns the last words in this media roundup:

I dribbled left, came off the screen. They tipped the ball out. I got it back. I looked up, had two seconds, and just went to the cup.

You just dream of it growing up. You dream of big moments, being there, and making the big play. I just try to be aggressive. My teammates and my coach gave me confidence and gave me the ball, and we came up with the win.

Go Bruins!