Here are a few notes from UCLA's 77-73 win over Stanford Thursday night.
-- The win gave UCLA its 11th victory of the season and a .500 record for the first time since Nov. 23, when it was 2-2. For you number junkies, that's 69 days since the Bruins had as many wins as they had losses. Back then, Drew Gordon was still on the team, Jerime Anderson was still the starting point guard, Tyler Honeycutt had yet to play his first collegiate game and the thought of coach Ben Howland implementing a zone defense seemed laughable.
-- Stanford forward Landry Fields, a Long Beach native, posted a career-high 35 points against UCLA. "He played big," Howland said. "He's from L.A. and wants to come down here [and play well]." The Bruins tried to stop him by playing a combination of zone and man-to-man. The switch was not a part of the game plan. "That was just a game-time adjustment because they were killing our zone," Howland said.
-- Fields and Jeremy Green combined for 53 of Stanford's 73 points. UCLA had four players in double figures, led by Reeves Nelson's 18 and Michael Roll's 16. Surprisingly, UCLA did some damage at the free-throw line, making 18 of 22 attempts in the second half. Stanford only went to the stripe a total of 13 times.
-- UCLA only committed five turnovers Thursday, a vast improvement from its woeful, 23-turnover performance in the teams' previous match-up on Jan. 9 (which UCLA lost by 11).
-- Nelson had made three assists heading into Thursday and left with two more. "That's improvement," Howland said with a smile. The jokes kept coming when the players took their seats at the press conference. When asked if he'd be kind enough to donate the two assists to Honeycutt (who was two assists short of a triple-double), Nelson leaned into the microphone and simply said, "No."
-- The Bruins have won four of five games since the disappointing 21-point home loss to crosstown rival USC. Players have stepped up their game. "We're getting used to each other," Honeycutt said. "We came here as a young team against USC. We weren't ready for what they offered." UCLA has had four players post double-doubles in the last three games. There had not been a double-double in the first 19 games.
-- Sophomore center J'mison Morgan was in uniform but did not see any action. He had been out since Jan. 12 with a partial torn quadriceps muscle in his right leg. Morgan has played in 13 of UCLA's 22 games and averaged two points.