LOS ANGELES — Two freshmen almost managed something in one game that’s been accomplished only four times in UCLA’s storied history — a triple-double.
Forward T.J. Leaf and guard Lonzo Ball each finished only a few assists shy of a triple-double in No. 2 UCLA’s dominating 102-62 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night.
Leaf finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Ball had 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
UCLA coach Steve Alford took both players out with several minutes still to play, uninterested in individual accomplishments.
“It all centers around our guys being unselfish,” Alford said. “I’m not going to leave our guys in for something like that in a 40-point game.”
UCLA (11-0) scored at least 100 points for the fifth time this season.
The Gauchos outrebounded the Bruins 50-46, but UCLA held Santa Barbara to 30.1 percent shooting (25 of 83).
“We let the boards get away from us in the second half (34-23), but we did have 10 blocks,” Alford said.
Ami Lakoju had 12 rebounds and 11 points, and Gabe Vincent added 10 points for the Gauchos (1-7).
Santa Barbara struggled to find consistency against the Bruins, shooting just 25 percent (13 of 52) in the second half.
Gauchos coach Bob Williams was left almost in awe of the Bruins’ effort.
“They are incredibly gifted, very long and they shoot really well,” Williams said. “They really run effortlessly and they’re playing and making the game easy. They pass and move and cut hard.
“At times out there, they have five guys who can shoot the 3. Their length is something you don’t see at our level.”
Leaf and Ball said they were both unconcerned at just missing a triple-double.
“We really didn’t notice it,” Leaf said. “We’re trying to play unselfish basketball, and we were able to do that tonight.”
Five Bruins scored in double figures. Aaron Holiday had 20 points, Bryce Alford added 15 and Isaac Hamilton had 13 (all in the first half).
The Bruins played their second consecutive game without starting center Thomas Welch, who is out with a bruised right heel.
UC Santa Barbara: The Bruins were the highest-ranked team the Gauchos have faced since meeting No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 21, 2008. The Tar Heels won 84-67.
UCLA: Coming off Saturday’s 102-84 victory over Michigan, the Bruins were ripe for a letdown but had too much talent to ever be in trouble against Santa Barbara.
Holiday, who lost his starting spot with the arrival of Ball, continued his torrid scoring pace off the bench. He is averaging 13.9 points per game. Alford said Holiday had been disappointed in his 73 percent free throw shooting and had been spending extra time on it.
“I was just concentrating,” Holiday said. “Nine of nine? That’s pretty good.”
The Bruins trailed once, slipping behind 12-11. They responded with a 17-0 run — all but three points scored by Leaf.
The four triple-doubles in the UCLA record book belong to Kyle Anderson (2013), Toby Bailey (1995), Jelani McCoy (1995) and Bill Walton (1973). The assist became an official NCAA stat in 1983-84.
The Bruins looked very much the No. 2 team in the country, the spot they have held since upsetting then-No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 3.
UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos meet Iona on Wednesday in Las Vegas in the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic.
UCLA: The Bruins meet Ohio State on Saturday in Las Vegas as part of the CBS Sports Classic. The Buckeyes will have been off a week.