UCLA beats last-place Washington State 83-50 to gain split
LOS ANGELES (AP) Desperate to end a two-game skid, UCLA coach Steve Alford knew change was in order.
UCLA built an early 20-point lead in the second half and cruised past last-place Washington State 83-50 Saturday.
Isaac Hamilton scored 11 of his 22 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, Bryce Alford added 12 points, making all seven of his free throws, and the Bruins (13-9, 4-5 Pac-12) went 24 of 28 from the line in salvaging a split after losing to first-place Washington 86-84 on Thursday.
Alford realized playing one big man at a time might help the Bruins more than having both Parker and Thomas Welsh in the lineup together. Welsh had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Parker had 11 points along with four fouls.
''We're really getting exposed playing two centers at once,'' Alford said. ''We have to get more athletic and be able to play the way we like playing. I appreciate Tony. He handled it really well. He's had a terrific attitude the last two days.''
Parker was 5 of 5 from the foul line and took a charge.
''That hasn't happened all year,'' Alford said.
Aaron Holiday added 10 points for the Bruins, who avenged an 85-78 road loss to the Cougars earlier this month.
Bolden had three points and seven rebounds in place of Parker.
''It was definitely a big change,'' Welsh said. ''We're definitely more athletic with Jonah in the game. It's going to be helpful for us being more efficient offensively and defensively going forward.''
Ike Iroegbu scored 16 points to lead Washington State, which has lost seven in a row. The Cougars had 18 turnovers, including 10 in the first half when UCLA led by 13 at the break.
''We could have lived with the turnovers if we were able to knock down shots,'' WSU coach Ernie Kent said.
The Cougars (9-12, 1-8) closed within eight early in the second half before UCLA went on a 14-7 run that extended its lead to 50-30. Alford had five points and Holiday three as five different players scored.
''UCLA had great confidence and really took control in the second half,'' Kent said.
From there, the Cougars never made another run. Hamilton fired off 11 straight points by himself, capping his offensive outburst with a pair of 3-pointers that made it 76-48.
Washington State: C Valentine Izundu has missed the last seven games with a foot injury and the Cougars haven't won since the shot blocker has been out. They were 9-5 with him in the lineup. ... The Cougars have just three road wins against UCLA in school history. ... Iroegbu is the only player to start all 21 games this season... WSU got swept in Los Angeles, losing 81-71 at USC on Thursday.
UCLA: The Bruins have won their last six home games against the Cougars. ... F Alex Olesinski got hurt with 2:18 left after the starters had gone to the bench. Alford called it ''a tough ankle sprain.'' In an effort to make the New Mexico native laugh, Alford told Olesinski, ''I've got six years of New Mexico blood in me and you can't show pain.''
The Bruins got off to a much stronger start than two days ago, when they trailed Washington by 18 points in the second half.
''Coach emphasized come with passion and a sense of urgency, and that's what we did,'' Hamilton said. ''We got to continue to do so.''
Washington State's Josh Hawkinson leads the Pac-12 and is fifth in the nation with 15 double-doubles in 19 games. The junior came up short against the Bruins, with seven points and six rebounds.
Washington State: Hosts No. 18 Arizona on Wednesday.
UCLA: Visits crosstown rival Southern California on Wednesday in the start of a three-game road trip.