Powell scores 22, leads UCLA past Colorado, 72-59
LOS ANGELES (AP) For the third straight game, UCLA senior Norman Powell scored 20 or more points. It was more by accident than by design, because everyone was concentrating on defense.
Powell finished with 22 Saturday night on 7-for-11 shooting, and the Bruins broke open a tie game with a 25-4 blitz in the second half to beat Colorado 72-59.
''I'm not really looking at how many points I'm scoring. I'm just trying to provide energy,'' Powell said. ''I'm just looking to do all the little things to help my team win and keep the energy up.
''With me being the team leader and having the most experience, I know these young guys are going to feed off what I do. The last three games I've been able to put up good numbers, and I'm looking to keep that going.''
Kevon Looney had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins (13-9, 5-4 Pac-12), who have won five of seven. Looney entered Saturday as the nation's only freshman averaging double digits in points (12.7) and rebounds (10.0). This was his 11th double-double in 22 games, including a 27-point, 19-rebound performance on Jan. 8 in an 86-81 double-overtime win over Stanford at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA's Bryce Alford finished with eight points, after scoring in double figures in 19 of the team's first 21 games. It matched the second-lowest total of the season for coach Steve Alford's son, who played 32 scoreless minutes on Jan. 4 in a 71-39 loss at Utah and was 0 for 10 from the field.
Colorado (11-10, 4-5 Pac-12) got 16 points from Askia Booker, who scored 43 on Thursday night in a 98-94 triple-overtime win at USC. Booker was 6 for 15 from the field.
''Booker's a really good transition player. So I tried to get up into him and try to outwork him, basically just play hard and deny him the ball and try to make it as tough as possible for him,'' UCLA's Isaac Hamilton said.
Neither team led by more than six until Powell's fastbreak layup capped a 7-0 spurt that gave UCLA a 40-33 lead with 12:43 to play. He drove the left baseline for a dunk that extended the margin to 48-37 with 9:32 left.
Alford missed his first six shots before hitting a 16-footer from the left of the key to extend the Bruins' margin 54-37 with 7:47 left.
''I'm extremely proud of our team,'' Steve Alford said. ''We practiced really well this week and put together two really good games. I thought it was just 80 minutes of just really good basketball for us, and our guys deserve it. Our ball pressure was better and we really contested shots. We've got a good rhythm to us.''
The Buffaloes made only one field goal throughout a 9:36 stretch during the Bruins' decisive rally and got no closer than the final margin.
''We were just going out there and playing aggressive and focusing on what we needed to do,'' Powell said. ''When we execute on defense, it opens up everything and relaxes everybody. We're playing with more flow in the offense and we're able to get out in transition and play to everybody's strengths. This homestand is really going to help us going into next week, with our effort level and the way we've been sharing the ball and trusting each other.''
UCLA, coming off a 69-59 upset win over No.11 Utah on Thursday night, held Colorado to one field goal during a 10-minute span of the first half en route to a 27-23 lead at intermission.
''We were really focusing on making them stand around on offense and basically work with an NBA shot clock with our press,'' Hamilton said. ''It made them rush shots that they usually take time on and make. We were taking away their easy looks. So even when they got looks, they weren't really open ones because they were rushing our shots due to our pressure.''
The Bruins held a 14-0 advantage in points in the paint before Wesley Gordon's dunk with 5:52 left in the half trimmed the margin 20-16. Booker followed with a jumper and Tre'Shaun Fletcher added a 3-pointer to put the Buffaloes ahead 21-20, their last lead of the game.
''It's a bit frustrating, but I'm not going to use the excuse that we ran out of energy,'' coach Tad Boyle said after his team committed 15 turnovers that were converted into 23 points. ''On a couple of the turnovers, we had the ball where we wanted it, but we just couldn't finish plays. When it started happening, some of our guys started losing their confidence and some of them had their heads down.''
Colorado: The Buffaloes are 1-5 against teams coached by Steve Alford. The only victory was Jan. 2, a 62-56 decision at home in the Pac-12 opener for Colorado and UCLA. Gordon, who blocked seven shots in that game, had two blocks in the rematch. ... Colorado trails the all-time series 2-9, and is 0-7 against the Bruins in Los Angeles. ... No Colorado player has had 10 or more assists since Feb. 13, 2014, when Booker had 12 against UCLA. That also was the last time a Bruins opponent had double digits.
UCLA: The Bruins' first two NCAA championship teams were honored in a halftime ceremony. The 1963-64 squad was 30-0 under John Wooden, finishing their season with a 98-83 victory over Duke. They finished the following season 28-2, wrapping it up with a 91-80 win over Michigan. Among the players on hand for the ceremony were Gail Goodrich, Keith Erickson and Rich Levin, who went on to become a sportswriter for the old Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and eventually became Major League baseball's senior vice president for public relations before retiring in 2010. ... The Bruins have four road games left before the Pac-12 Tournament begins on March 11 at Las Vegas. Their only win on the road this season was against USC. ... The Bruins are 42-6 at Pauley Pavilion since the arena was renovated and reopened in November 2012.
Colorado: Hosts Utah next Saturday night.
UCLA: At Stanford Thursday night.