Lonzo Ball finished with 17 points, eight assists, six boards and five steals as No. 4 UCLA outlasted Utah on the road, winning 83-82.
The Bruins got the win despite playing anything-but their best game. Utah put up 82 points on the Bruins, scoring 1.139 points-per-possession and shooting 54.5 percent from the floor. At the same time, UCLA shot just 9-for-29 from three – they made 19 threes and scored 104 points against Colorado on Thursday – and, quite frankly, looked like they were playing with heavy legs.
And they probably were.
This was the second time in roughly 40 hours that the Bruins were playing a road game at altitude, which is a difficult thing for NBA players to do, let alone a group of college kids.
The way that the Pac-12 works is that everyone in the conference has a travel partner. Oregon has Oregon State, UCLA has USC, Utah has Colorado. Those teams travel in pairs, meaning that UCLA plays at Colorado while USC plays at Utah one night, and two or three nights later UCLA will play at Utah and USC will play at Colorado.
And since 2011, when Utah and Colorado joined the conference, there have been just three teams that have swept their trip to the Mountain schools. First it was UCLA in 2013, the year they won the league and Ben Howland got fired. Then there was Arizona, once in 2014 and once in 2015. In 2014, Arizona won the Pac-12 and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. In 2015, Arizona won the Pac-12 and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. In both of those seasons, they made the Elite 8 and came within a Frank Kaminsky of the Final Four.
UCLA became the fourth team to sweep the Mountain schools this week.
The Bruins are a buzzer-beating three from Dillon Brooks at Oregon away from being undefeated today.
I guess this team is pretty good.