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Jan 16, 2024 8:38 pm

UCLA out of slump, hoping for more vs. ‘scrappy’ Arizona State

UCLA visits Pac-12 Conference counterpart Arizona State on Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz., after each team ended a four-game streak.

For the Bruins (7-10, 2-4 Pac-12), that was positive news. They stopped a four-game skid, which bottomed out in a 90-44 loss last Thursday at Utah, with their 73-61 rebound at home against Washington on Sunday.

“There’s a different attitude, a different energy,” UCLA center Adem Bona said after the win. “We all took the game personally after the last defeat we faced, and you can see the togetherness.”

Bruins coach Mick Cronin emphasized the need for UCLA to run its offense more effectively through Bona, and it responded by feeding him for a 10-of-13 shooting performance with five dunks and 22 points.

The Bruins improved to 3-0 this season when Bona scores 20-plus points, the previous such instance coming on Nov. 15 against Long Island. That was also the last time UCLA won consecutive games, concluding a 3-0 start to the campaign.

UCLA pursues its first winning streak in more than two months against Arizona State, which saw its perfect start to Pac-12 play end.

The Sun Devils (10-6, 4-1) fell 82-67 at Washington last Thursday. The 67 points scored were the fewest since their last loss, a 65-46 nonconference result on Dec. 20 vs. Northwestern, and the 82 points allowed were the most since an 89-84 loss at San Diego on Dec. 9.

The Sun Devils look to regroup defensively against UCLA, which has plenty of size, beginning with the 6-foot-10 Bona, by countering with turnover creation.

At 8.4 steals per game, Arizona State ranked No. 57 nationally through games played Monday. Frankie Collins averages 3.1 steals per game to pace the Sun Devils, and is the leading scorer at 13.6 points per game contest.

“We’re not the tallest team … so we have to be scrappy. We have to use our speed,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said on the “Bickley & Marotta Show.”

–Field Level Media

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