Tony Parker led five Bruins in double figures with 16 points and five boards has UCLA avoided yet another second half collapse, holding on to beat Alabama 75-67 in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night.
Kyle Anderson once again stuffed the stat sheet for the Bruins, chipping in with 13 points, six boards, seven assists, two steals and a block.
The Bruins had developed a nasty habit of second half collapses against quality competition. They were run out of the gym in the final stanza against both Missouri and Duke. It looked like that might happen on Saturday as well, as the Crimson Tide used a 9-0 spurt early in the second half to take a 43-39 lead, but UCLA responded with 10 straight to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Trevor Releford had 34 points to lead Alabama after coming off the bench which included five straight that he scored with two minutes left to tie the game at 67. But Tony Parker hit two free throws with 56 seconds left to give UCLA the lead back, and Releford would only get a touch on one of the next three possessions as the Tide failed to score again.
I’m not convinced that UCLA is going to be good enough to compete for a Pac-12 title. They have as much talent, particularly on the perimeter, as any team in the country, but I’m not sold on their ability to defend dynamic ball-handlers. This is a team that has to play zone because their point guard is a 6-foot-9 forward nicknamed ‘Slo-Mo’. The other concern is interior play, but if Parker can find a way to continue to play the way he did tonight, the big bodies on the front lines of Arizona and Oregon before a little bit less of a concern.
Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas