Alford, No. 4 Bruins blast Buffaloes

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[January 13, 2017]  BOULDER, Colo. -- Bryce Alford picked up the pace in the second half, and the rest of the UCLA Bruins were quick to join him.

Alford scored a career-high 37 points and helped UCLA's offense assert itself in the second half as the fourth-ranked Bruins pulled away for a 104-89 win over the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday night.

Isaac Hamilton contributed 20 points and Aaron Holiday added 14 for UCLA, which surpassed 100 points in a game for the sixth time this season.

"That goes to show at any given moment, any guy can get hot, and it helped," Hamilton said of Alford's big night. "It opened the floor for a lot of guys."

The Bruins, with the nation's third-ranked scoring offense coming into the game, got plenty of looks from beyond the arc and capitalized more often than not, hitting 19 of their 31 3-point tries. Alford made 9 of 14 from beyond the arc, matching a career best. Seven of his 3-pointers came in the second half.

"I think we wear people down," Alford said. "When people try to play at our pace, I don't think there's anybody in the country that can play at our pace for a full 40 minutes. We weren't happy particularly with the way we played in the first half, but we knew if we continued to have our pace be high that we could break away in the second half, and that's what we did."

UCLA (17-1, 4-1 Pac-12) won its fourth in a row since its only loss of the season, 89-87 to Oregon on Dec. 28.

"When they get hot and we let them get going, there is no one in the country that can really guard them," Colorado's Derrick White said. "They move the ball really well, they use screens really well, so we can learn from them."

Colorado, playing its home conference opener, got 21 points from Xavier Johnson and 20 from White but could not keep up with the sharpshooting Bruins. George King added 13 points for Colorado (10-7, 0-4), which lost its fourth in a row.

After a basket by Wesley Gordon pulled the Buffaloes within six points early in the second half, Alford got hot from beyond the arc. He connected on three 3-pointers in under a minute and a half, and the Bruins pulled put to a 64-51 lead with 17:05 remaining.

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Bruins guard Bryce Alford (20) reacts after committing a foul in the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Coors Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

 A short time later, the Bruins went on an 11-2 spurt that put them in front by 18 points with 12:46 to go. Hamilton connected on a pair of 3-pointers in that span, helping the Bruins take the game firmly in hand.

"They did a good job of pushing the pace, moving the ball," King said. "They made shot shots and got going. It was hard to stop them after that point."

Colorado continued to trail by double digits the rest of the way.

Gordon hit a turnaround jumper at the first-half buzzer, allowing the Buffaloes to pull within 51-45.

UCLA had pulled out to its biggest lead to that point moments earlier when Hamilton connected on a 3-pointer and Ike Anigbogu put down a dunk on consecutive possessions for a 51-43 advantage.

NOTES: UCLA G Bryce Alford moved past Marques Johnson into 15th place on UCLA's all-time scoring list. ... Colorado remains winless in conference play this season. ... The Bruins outshot the Buffaloes 56.5 percent to 46.6 percent. ... UCLA's Thomas Welsh fouled out with 1:47 remaining in the game. ... The Bruins play at Colorado on Saturday. ... The Buffaloes play host to No. 25 USC on Sunday.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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