Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Holiday hoops are on tap in Sin City, as the 19th-ranked UCLA Bruins tangle with the Nevada Wolf Pack as part of the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena.
Now under the direction of head coach Steve Alford, the Bruins are off to a perfect 5-0 start, their best opening to a campaign since 2007-08 when the squad posted a 7-0 mark. This is the first game outside of Pauley Pavilion for the team, with the most recent contest coming against Chattanooga on Sunday which ended 106-65. That game, along with the Morehead State victory (81-70) two days earlier, was also part of this tournament.
As for the Wolf Pack, they too battled both the Mocs and Eagles but in their case they earned a split over the squads. First, Nevada barely slipped by Chattanooga in an 83-81 final which required a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put it over the top, while the Morehead State contest ended up as a 63-58 setback. Overall, Nevada has split all six games on the schedule to this point.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Bruins have never lost to Nevada in four previous games. Both teams will be back in action on Friday in this event as the Bruins clash with the Northwestern Wildcats and Nevada battles Missouri.
The Pack had a difficult time finding the basket versus Morehead State last week, shooting only 34.0 percent from the floor and 5-of-17 beyond the arc, en route to the five-point home loss at the Lawlor Events Center. Deonte Burton, who played the hero for Nevada two nights earlier, finished with 19 points, followed by Jerry Evans with 11 and seven rebounds. The team ended up with almost as may turnovers (16) as made field goals (17).
Burton, the leading scorer in all six games for the Pack, is producing 24.5 ppg on the strength of his 51.6 percent accuracy from the floor, as well as his 39-of-52 shooting at the free-throw line. Burton is also second on the unit in assists with 15 and while he has shown that he can play unselfishly, his 16 turnovers are still a few too many. Nevada is scoring 72.8 ppg, but at the same time giving up 74.3 ppg.
Jordan Adams tallied a game-high 22 points while Norman Powell and Zach LaVine each contributed 19 for the Bruins as they crushed the Mocs in Los Angeles on Sunday. Kyle Anderson, who two days earlier produced the first UCLA triple- double since 1995, accounted for 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as he continued to display his versatility. The Bruins shot an impressive 62 percent from the field as they reached triple digits for the first time in close to five years.
Anderson has made up for his mediocre 63.0 percent shooting at the free-throw line by doing everything asked of him by coach Alford, from scoring (11.6 ppg), to rebounding (9.8 rpg) and passing (39 assists) over the first five games. Adams checks in with 22.2 ppg, shooting not only 56.3 percent from the field but also 46.2 percent beyond the arc. As a team, UCLA has connected on 53.2 percent from the floor, compared to just 35.0 percent for the competition.