- By Jason Gold Diehards
UCLA’s offense came out hot on Thursday and Aaron Holiday carried the load as the Bruins took out Stanford 88-77. The Bruins scored 15 points in the first five minutes of the game and never looked back.
Holiday was simply magnificent for the Bruins as he tied a career-high with 34 points. He added 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals on the night. It was the second straight game in which Holiday has scored 34 points.
UCLA’s lead was pretty steady throughout the contest. Stanford cut UCLA’s lead to 55-54 with 13 minutes remaining, but that’s as close as it got. Stanford never had the lead in the entire game. The Bruins showed up in a big way Thursday and now will have the opportunity to face Arizona on Friday night in Las Vegas.
1. Thomas Welsh hit four three-pointers on Thursday, tying his career high. On the night, Welsh notched his 17th double-double of the season, scoring 18 and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Welsh will be a huge key against Arizona on Friday. While the Bruins will certainly need Welsh’s offensive output, his defense and rebounding will be of the utmost importance considering he’ll be playing against DeAndre Ayton.
2. Daejon Davis’ foul trouble was a big issue for Stanford. Davis, who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, was forced to sit for about 12 and a half minutes in the second half, despite having 10 points (on 4-of-5 shooting) before picking up his fourth foul.
While Davis’ foul trouble certainly cost Stanford, he wasn’t alone in terms of being in foul trouble. With 7 minutes remaining in the game, six players had four fouls: Davis, KZ Okpala and Oscar Da Silva for Stanford, Welsh, Kris Wilkes and Gyorgy Goloman for UCLA. The foul situation definitely hampered Stanford’s ability to mount a comeback against UCLA.
3. Aaron Holiday was dominant on Thursday. It was his show and he proved why he’s one of the best players in the conference. The 34 point output was his 18th 20-point game of the season and fourth 30-point game on the year. He will be at his best on Friday in order to take out Arizona.
4. The win on Thursday should get UCLA in to the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had UCLA as one of the last four teams in the tournament coming into today, but the Bruins should be off the bubble after this win. A victory over Arizona on Friday would certainly lock them in to the tournament.
5. UCLA will face Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday night. The game will be at 6 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network. The two teams split the season series, with both winning on the other’s home court.
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