SAN DIEGO – UCLA is back in the Sweet 16 for the primary time in six seasons, a big step in the correct path for a program whose tradition was tarnished in latest seasons.
The Bruins don’t need to stop there.
“We’ve had a good total season but our work is not executed,” sophomore forward Kyle Anderson said Sunday after the Bruins beat Stephen F. Austin seventy seven-60 attain the NCAA match regionals for the first time since 2008. “They don’t hang Sweet 16s up in Pauley.”
No, they don’t. Expectations are always excessive in Westwood because of the eleven nationwide championship banners hanging in Pauley Pavilion, the primary 10 coming below John Wooden and the last one coming in 1995.
The fourth-seeded Bruins (28-8) will play Florida, the tournament’s overall high seed, in the South Regional semifinals on Thursday in Memphis.
“It is a tough turn-round for us and we’re going to play arguably one of the best basketball staff in the nation right now, nevertheless it’s good to see us back in that mix and back in that discussion,” mentioned first-12 months coach Steve Alford, who has won as many NCAA match video games in three days as the Bruins had in the earlier five seasons mixed. “That’s what’s been a whole lot of fun.”
Alford replaced Ben Howland, who was fired a year in the past after the Bruins lost to Minnesota in their NCAA match opener. This is UCLA’s first trip to the regionals since Howland obtained the Bruins to their third straight Ultimate 4 in 2008.
Florida beat UCLA in the national championship game in 2006 and once more in the national semifinals the next season. The Gators also eradicated the Bruins in the second round in 2011.
Jordan Adams scored 19 points, Norman Powell had 16 and Anderson had 15 points and eight rebounds.
“It is an excellent feeling,” Anderson stated. “That is what guys come to UCLA for. A storied program, that is what you need here. We have crushed some good groups recently and now we have got the Florida Gators. That is what I do know Jordan and myself got here to UCLA for. We’re going to have some enjoyable with it.”
The Bruins have gained five straight and seven of eight overall, together with an upset of Arizona, the No. 1 seed in the West, in the Pac-12 match championship game.
“It is a particular factor and we’re wanting forward to subsequent week,” said Alford, who helped Indiana win the 1987 nationwide title. “These two guys to my left have had an terrible lot to do with it,” he said, referring to Adams and Anderson. “Kyle and Jordan have been tremendous all year with their leadership they usually brought and raised the bar for their teammates, and that is a special trait to have.”
Stephen F. Austin (32-three), the No. 12 seed, was held to 35.1 % taking pictures (20 of fifty seven) and had its 29-recreation profitable streak snapped. The Lumberjacks hadn’t lost in exactly 4 months.
SFA coach Brad Underwood stated the Bruins are “going to have an opportunity to advance an actual great distance.”
Thomas Walkup had 22 factors and 11 rebounds for the Lumberjacks while Desmond Haymon had 17 factors and Nikola Gajic added 10. Haymon’s four-point play despatched the Lumberjacks into overtime towards fifth-seeded VCU on Friday evening and SFA received 77-75.
The Lumberjacks hadn’t misplaced since Nov. 23, a 66-58 defeat at East Tennessee State. After Wichita State misplaced to Kentucky to have its 35-recreation successful streak snapped, SFA’s 29-sport streak turned the nation’s longest, for about three hours.
“I am going to say what I advised the workforce – I couldn’t be prouder,” Underwood mentioned. “We didn’t have an amazing year. We had a 12 months for the historical past books… A 29-recreation profitable streak, they do not know how good that really is. That is very, very special.”
The Lumberjacks head back to Nacogdoches, Texas, at the least having earned the first NCAA event victory at school historical past. They’re 1-2 total in two event appearances.
The Lumberjacks stayed with the Bruins via much of the primary half before the mismatch in talent and pedigree grew to become apparent.
The Bruins, in the NCAA match for the 46th time, went on a 12-2 run in simply less than three minutes, starting with a runner in the lane by Alford’s son, Bryce. Alford also had a 3-pointer that helped UCLA take a 32-21 lead with 5:44 left.
Three-pointers by Deshaunt Walker and Haymon closed the gap to 5 points earlier than the Bruins completed the half on a ten-5 run to lead forty two-32. Tony Parker had two layups and Adams a 3-pointer to help preserve the lead in double digits.
Powell, who played at San Diego’s Lincoln Excessive, opened the second half with two large plays, a slam dunk and then a coast-to-coast drive with a behind-the-again transfer followed by a layup for a 46-32 lead.
UCLA had 22 assists and solely three turnovers.
“They annihilated us in transition,” Underwood said. “It is not that they’re just athletic, they’re extraordinarily skilled and really, very unselfish. And so they’re a really effectively-coached basketball crew.”