UCLA routs Nicholls 107-74 for 3rd straight win
LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA keeps plowing through lesser opponents, with the Bruins topping 100 points for the second time in three games.
They make it look easy with their offense, led by guard Bryce Alford, whose favorite thing is dishing off to teammates although he can score himself.
Alford scored 28 points, just missing his career-high of 31, while making a career-high six 3-pointers, in UCLA's 107-74 rout of Nicholls State on Thursday night. The sophomore son of coach Steve Alford had a career-best 13 assists, giving him his second double-double of the season, and he made all six of his free throws.
''Assists is what I love to do,'' Alford said. ''I love to get open shots and get guys going. It's easy for me to get them the ball when I'm open.''
The elder Alford said his son didn't practice a lot this week because of a hip flexor.
''He controlled the game, he dictated how we wanted to play offensively and defensively,'' the coach said. ''It's becoming contagious because we got a lot of guys moving the ball and sharing the ball and that starts with your point guard.''
Norman Powell added 23 points and Tony Parker 20 for the Bruins (3-0), who opened with a 35-point win over Montana State and then defeated Coastal Carolina by 13 points. Freshman Kevon Looney had his second straight double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
''Bryce and Norman are really, really flashy guys,'' Parker said. ''Bryce dribbles with his head up so he can see you. When we get rebounds and let those guards play, it's a good thing to watch.''
Amin Torres scored all of his 18 points in the second half for the Colonels (0-2). Richie Lewis added 14 in the first meeting between the schools. The Colonels were outscored 47-45 in the second half while expending most of their energy trying to dig out of a 33-point hole. Torres also tied his career-bests in 3-pointers (four) and field goals (seven) made.
''Their size makes it difficult. They're a real big team,'' Torres said. ''Getting to the basket was real difficult so we had to knock shots (down), whether it was mid-ranges or 3-pointers. Shots had to start falling for us.''
The Bruins took control with a 19-2 run that extended their lead to 33-10 midway through the first half. It was a dominant stretch in which they reeled off four dunks sandwiched around two consecutive 3-pointers by Alford, who had six points in the spurt. Parker added five points and Powell three.
''From the 16-minute to the 12-minute mark, we served the game up to them on a platter,'' Nicholls coach J.P. Piper said. ''Not that they weren't probably going to win this game anyway, I just didn't think we competed. They were laying them up. Dunking at the rim. Wide open threes. It was garbage. They get some credit, they made plays, but I just don't think we competed.''
Just before halftime, Alford whipped a behind-the-back pass to Isaac Hamilton, who hit a 3-pointer.
''I don't plan for that to happen,'' Alford said. ''I saw Isaac in the corner and he hit a big-time shot.''
UCLA shot 64 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line in the half, when the Bruins led 60-29 at the break. They held Nicholls to 39 percent shooting, while controlling the boards 24-13 - including an 18-8 edge on the defensive glass - and owning a 22-14 advantage in the paint.
Looney had a highlight play in the second half, stealing the ball from Torres and tearing down court for a fast-break dunk to make it 96-64. Hamilton's basket gave UCLA its largest lead at 100-64 in the closing minutes.
Nicholls St.: The Colonels shot 46 percent in the second half. ... They play a tough non-conference schedule, with Wake Forest, Michigan, and Wisconsin coming up. ... Their roster includes six foreigners: four Australians, a New Zealander and a German.
UCLA: The Bruins just missed having all five starters in double figures for the third straight game. Isaac Hamilton finished with nine points. ... They went 8-0 to open last season, Steve Alford's first in Westwood. ... Looney became the fourth player in the last 22 years to register a double-double in either of his first two games as a freshman, joining Charles O'Bannon, Kevin Love and Kyle Anderson, who had double-doubles in their first games. Looney had 17 points and 14 rebounds in his second game.
Nicholls St.: At Wake Forest on Monday.
UCLA: Host Long Beach State on Sunday.