If you remember correctly, America was stunned that UCLA was even in the field this year. Motivation? Maybe. UCLA jumped out to an early lead in the first half on the shoulders of Bryce Alford, who went 9-of-11 from 3-point range. Alford was draining threes and controlling the tempo of the game as SMU looked like it had just gotten out of bed and was late for class. Larry Brown, SMU’s head coach is suffering from bronchitis and early on it felt as if his players were a little under the weather as well. UCLA took a 4 point lead into halftime.
What was in SMU’s Gatorade in the second half? They must have made a new batch, I’m thinking lemon lime with extra sugar and less water. SMU started the second half 1-of-12 from the field and then went on a 19-0 run to storm back and make it a game. But then, Alford takes a desperation 3-point shot with UCLA down 2 and the refs call a controversial goaltending. (Was it goaltending? Check the photo above. You make the call.)
UCLA goes up one and Nick Moore for SMU gets two good looks at the basket and comes up short. UCLA wins 60-59. Can this day get any crazier? Could we ask for better basketball?
Alford was on fire. For all but six minutes during the game, he controlled the tempo and hit big shot after big shot to lead UCLA to a thrilling victory. Alford was 9 for 11 from behind the arc. And UCLA wasn’t even supposed to be here! The Bruins marched on to an 8-0 run to end the game.
No. 11 UCLA advances to play No. 14 UAB, which upset Iowa State earlier today, on Saturday. This game continues a trend of close games as 7 of 8 games have been decided by 4 points or fewer.
SMU finishes its season at 27-7.