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UCLA takes step toward NCAA tournament bid with win at Arizona

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

It didn't work. At all.

Holiday collected 17 points and eight rebounds and Goloman, making his first start in three weeks as part of a bigger lineup, was strong across the board with a career-high 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. The Bruins shot 51.6 percent while holding Arizona to 43.9 percent.

UCLA held all the momentum at halftime after Hands made three consecutive NBA-range three-pointers to give the Bruins a 44-34 lead. Hands walked coolly back down the court after the last three-pointer before receiving a hearty hand slap from Holiday.

The crowd stood in stunned silence as the Bruins jogged toward their locker room. A student who once held a sign reading "ALFORD LOST HIS BALLS" in reference to coach Steve Alford having to deal with the departures of brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball sunk back into his seat.

"It was fun," Hands said of his three-pointers. "I've done it once or twice in Pauley (Pavilion) and it's cool because the crowd goes crazy. Doing it on the road, it gets quiet."

UCLA withstood every second-half run in the only regular-season meeting between these teams, sloughing off the weight of road collapses earlier this season against Michigan and Stanford.

After the Wildcats shaved their 10-point halftime deficit to four, Goloman and Wilkes made back-to-back three-pointers. After Rawle Alkins nailed a three-pointer to get Arizona back within seven points, Goloman made a putback in traffic and Holiday a driving layup to restore UCLA's advantage to double figures.

The Wildcats would not seriously challenge again.

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As the Bruins walked off the court, forward Wilkes playfully flung his body into video coordinator Kory Alford. Hands broke into a wide smile before slapping hands with a contingent of UCLA fans who lined one part of the arena.

They were the only ones who had reason to linger.

"It's a great feeling," said Goloman, a senior, "especially since this was my last time walking off this court in my career."

(c)2018 Los Angeles Times

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