UCLA beats Stanford for fourth straight win
LOS ANGELES – Lazeric Jones heard the pounding on his door before 8 a.m. So did the rest of UCLA’s players. The early wakeup call was nothing compared to how Stanford manhandled the Bruins in the early going.
But Malcolm Lee scored 23 points, and UCLA overcame a stumbling start and a 14-point first-half deficit to beat the Cardinal 68-57 Saturday for its fourth straight victory.
Jones added 17 points, Tyler Honeycutt scored 16 points and Reeves Nelson had 10 rebounds for the Bruins (13-6, 5-2 Pac-10), who have won 10 of 12 overall and nine of their last 11 against Stanford.
“Every game we’re looking a little bit better, and our confidence is growing,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve known how good we can be.”
Having beaten the Oregon schools on the road last week, the Bruins completed their first back-to-back league sweeps since 2008-09. They accomplished the second sweep playing mostly without starting center Joshua Smith, who was limited to 6 minutes of their victory over California two days earlier after hitting his head on the floor while taking a charge.
“It shows how good we are with Josh out,” Honeycutt said. “He’s our most dominant player.”
Josh Owens had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Jeremy Green added 12 points for the Cardinal (10-8, 3-4), which has failed to beat either of the Los Angeles schools on the road since 2005. Stanford lost 65-42 at Southern California two nights earlier.
The loss dropped the Cardinal to 4-18 on the road in the Pac-10 over the last two years. Stanford has lost three in a row and four of five.
UCLA took its first lead at 30-28 on a basket by Lee early in the second half.
Stanford tied it twice after that, for the last time at 46 on a 3-pointer by Aaron Bright.
From there, UCLA closed the game on a 22-11 run, getting points from five players to produce a 10-point lead at 64-54, its largest to that point.
Anthony Brown’s 3-pointer cut Stanford’s deficit to 64-57 with 28 seconds left. But Lee was fouled three times in the final 46 seconds and made five of six free throws.
“I knew it was going to be a fight,” Owens said. “We knew that they would not let up. We couldn’t keep the execution together like we had in the first half. They responded well to our run. In the second half, we had some defensive let-ups, Lee started finishing his shots and Honeycutt did as well.”
The 11 a.m. tipoff didn’t appear to help the Bruins, who played as though they were sleepwalking through the opening minutes. Stanford scored the first eight points and led 15-5. The Bruins missed five of their first seven shots and committed three turnovers during that span.
“Wake up out there!” a fan yelled after Jones badly missed the first of two free throws.
“I felt in warmups a little sluggish,” Lee said. “They started scoring really easy.”
The Cardinal stretched its lead to 22-8 before UCLA woke up on defense.
“I burned three timeouts in the first 10 minutes to try to stop the bleeding, and finally we got going,” coach Ben Howland said.
The Bruins forced turnovers and harassed the Cardinal into a 6-minute scoreless stretch. That ignited the Bruins’ offense, which closed on an 18-7 run to trail 27-26 at the break. Lee scored eight points and Honeycutt added seven in the spurt, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 24.
“We wanted to try to get it under control,” Honeycutt said. “It was an early game, and we just didn’t have energy.”
Said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins: “I’m really proud of our guys. They are giving us great contributions, but it’s a work in progress.”
Nelson sprained his left ankle with 7:47 left. He briefly left to get treatment, then returned but didn’t score the rest of the way.
Smith sat on the bench in street clothes and is listed as day-to-day.
“We’re not even categorizing it as a concussion,” said Howland, who initially described it that way after Thursday’s game. “He felt great, but we’re always going to err on the side of caution.”