LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bryce Alford scored 22 points, Aaron Holiday had 16 and TJ Leaf added 14, as No. 2 UCLA held off Western Michigan 82-68 on Wednesday night to complete a perfect preseason.
The last time the Bruins (13-0) went undefeated in the preseason was also the last time they won the NCAA title (1994-95).
Western Michigan (3-8) was led by guard Thomas Wilder’s 22 points, with forward Tucker Haymond adding 16 points and Reggie Jones 12.
The Broncos hung tough with UCLA for much of the game, but the Bruins’ balanced attack finally wore down Western Michigan.
Leaf and Isaac Hamilton led UCLA with eight rebounds each, with Hamilton adding 11 points. Holiday had a game-high seven assists off the bench.
After being down by 12 at halftime, the Broncos scored the first eight points of the second half to pull within 45-41. The Bruins, however, answered with a 16-4 run to seal the win.
The Bruins started the game slowly, with turnovers and missed shots making them look a lot like a team that wasn’t taking the Broncos seriously. Western Michigan, showing no fear, jumped out to a 7-1 lead and was still ahead 21-17 midway into the first half.
UCLA regained its focus, and with Alford hitting three 3-pointers, took a 45-33 halftime lead despite 10 turnovers.
Western Michigan: The Broncos are still searching for their first win on the road, having started 0-4 away from home. They are 3-4 at Western Michigan.
UCLA: The Bruins entered the game ranked first in field goal percentage (55.4) and assists per game (23.8), and second in points per game (96.9), 3-point percentage (43.9) and assists-to-turnover rate (1.95).
Western Michigan is off for a week before returning home to host winless Alabama A&M on Dec. 29.
UCLA opens its Pac-12 Conference schedule next Wednesday at No. 20 Oregon.
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