LOS ANGELES – Bryce Alford hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds to play to give UCLA an 87-84 victory over No. 7 Arizona in front of 12,026 fans in Pauley Pavilion.
Alford, who finished with a game-high 25 points, made his game-winning shot almost directly in front of UCLA alumnus and NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook on Russell Westbrook Night.
The victory was UCLA’s third over a Top 20 team this season, having already defeated No. 1 Kentucky and No. 20 Gonzaga. UCLA (10-6, 1-2 in the Pac-12) held off a late rally by Arizona, who went on a 15-2 run to tie the game at 83-83 after being down 81-68.
The Bruins had led by as many as 14 points in the second half, going on a 10-0 run to take a 57-43 lead early in the second half thanks to three-pointers by Alford and Isaac Hamilton. The Bruins kept a double-digit lead until the 3:29 mark, when the Wildcats (13-2, 1-1) began to chip away at the lead with their game-tying run.
Arizona tied the game with 42 seconds to play on a layup and free throw by Kadeem Allen for its 10th unanswered point. On the Bruins’ next possession, Hamilton made one of two free throws to regain the lead, 84-83, and Ryan Anderson made one of two for Arizona to tie again, setting up Alford for his heroics.
The Bruins had led for the first 17 minutes of the first half, leading by as many as eight points (30-22) with six minutes to go in the period before Arizona went on a 12-3 run to claim its first lead, 34-33, at the 2:47 mark on a Parker Jackson-Cartwright three-pointer. UCLA closed the half with a 10-2 run thanks to two baskets byTony Parker and a pair of three-pointers by Alford to take a 43-36 lead into halftime.
Four Bruins scored in double-figures – Alford with 25 and six assists, Aaron Holiday with 15 points and six assists, Parker with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Hamilton with 14 points and six assists. The Bruins made a season-high 11 three-pointers.
UCLA will host Arizona State on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. (PT) in Pauley Pavilion.