No. 22 UCLA beats Drexel 72-67 in Alford's debut - NBC Sports

No. 22 UCLA beats Drexel 72-67 in Alford's debut
APWF
UCLA head coach Steve Alford claps for his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Drexel, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
November 9, 2013, 2:36 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) Jordan Adams scored 16 points and No. 22 UCLA held off Drexel 72-67 Friday night in Steve Alford's debut as coach of the Bruins.

Zach LaVine and David Wear added 14 points each, and Kyle Anderson had 12 points, 12 rebounds and tied his career high with seven assists for the Bruins, who let an early 13-point lead dwindle to one with 2:19 to play.

Frantz Massenat scored 20 points, Damion Lee added 17 and Dartaye Ruffin had 13 rebounds for the Dragons, who traveled cross-country from Philadelphia to play a game that started at midnight EST.

There were plenty of empty seats for Alford's first game since taking over from Ben Howland, fired in March after a 10-year run that included three consecutive Final Four appearances. Alford wasn't a popular choice among boosters to take over a program that owns a record 11 national championships. He bailed out on New Mexico weeks after agreeing to a new 10-year deal.

The Dragons got within four points six times in the second half before closing to 65-63 on a layup by Massenat with 2:45 to play. They cut it to one on another basket by Massenat.

After a pair of free throws by Adams, Chris Fouch airballed a 3-point attempt from the right sideline and Wear grabbed the rebound. Tony Parker, who rarely played as a freshman under Howland, took a pass from Norman Powell and dunked, extending UCLA's lead to 70-65.

Lee's layup had the Dragons trailing 70-67 and then Parker turned the ball over. The Dragons inbounded and the ball went through the legs of Kazembe Abif, with the Bruins pouncing for a held ball call. They regained possession, but freshman Bryce Alford, the coach's son, missed a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left.

Lee airballed a 3-point attempt from the top of the key with 5 seconds to go. The Dragons were forced to foul, sending Adams to the line. He made both for a 72-67 lead.

The Dragons never got off a final shot, and Abif turned the ball over as time expired.

The Bruins led 42-31 at halftime, with LaVine scoring 11 points off the bench. He was 3 of 4 from 3-point range, where UCLA shot 56 percent.

Massenat went 3 of 5 on 3-pointers for the Dragons, who shot 30 percent from the floor and 9 of 14 from the line.

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