The UCLA Bruins basketball team (11-6 overall, 2-2 Pac-12) welcomed NBA star and former Bruins basketball player Russell Westbrook with an 87-84 win against No. 7 Arizona (13-3 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) on Thursday night. And on Saturday, the Bruins defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils 81-74 in Pauley Pavilion.
The Arizona game was the first conference home game for UCLA. The matchup was coined ‘Westbrook Night’ in honor of Westbrook‘s donation to the University for its new basketball facility.
During halftime, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero and Associate Athletic Director for Basketball Chris Carlson awarded Westbrook with a framed rendering of the practice court that will be named after him. At the conclusion of the presentation, Westbrook led the fans in UCLA’s iconic Eight Clap cheer.
“It’s a true blessing to be able to go to the greatest university in the world: UCLA,” Westbrook said to an audience of 12,026 fans in Pauley Pavilion. “I’m honored and humbled to be able to give back to the school I went to. I wanna thank you guys for your support.”
Four Bruins scored in the double digits in their fight against the Wildcats, junior guard Bryce Alford led in scoring for UCLA with 25 points. Senior Tony Parker earned a double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Wildcats forward Ryan Anderson led Arizona with a double double, 15 points and 15 rebounds.
The Bruins clinched a six-point lead in the first 10 minutes with a strong offensive effort from junior guard Isaac Hamilton and freshman guard Aaron Holiday. However, the Wildcats rallied back and earned a one-point lead with 2:47 remaining in the first half. UCLA would enter halftime ahead 36-43.
The Bruins dominated the offense early in the second half and clinched a 15-point lead after five minutes. Anderson kept the Wildcats in the game and guard Kadeem Allen tied with the Bruins at 83 points with 41 seconds in regulation. Alford sank a final three-point shot to seal the fate of the Wildcats, earning a standing ovation from former Bruin Westbrook and the home crowd.
The Bruins would live by the three again on Saturday in their 81-74 win against the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-6 overall, 0-3 Pac-12). Hamilton led UCLA with 26 points. Guard Tra Holder matched Hamilton with 26 points for Arizona State. Sophomore 7-foot center Thomas Welsh led the boards with 16 rebounds for the Bruins.
At best, the Sun Devils could only tie with the Bruins in the first 10 minutes of the game. UCLA then pulled away with a 9-0 run. The Bruin offence slowed down as halftime approached, allowing Arizona State to make a comeback. By halftime, Arizona State rallied to a one-point deficit 37-38. The Sun Devil bench scored 6 points compared to UCLA’s 4 points.