UCLA routs Washington without injured Leaf
LOS ANGELES — UCLA coach Steve Alford kidded TJ Leaf that his two points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one steal in 5 minutes was pretty impressive.
That’s all the time Leaf got because the freshman sprained his left ankle. His absence didn’t bother the third-ranked Bruins who went on to rout Washington 98-66 on Wednesday for their eighth consecutive win.
“I really don’t want to add any additional pressure, but that UCLA team could win a national championship,” said Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar, a former UCLA assistant.
Bryce Alford scored 29 points and Lonzo Ball added 19 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Bruins (27-3, 14-3 Pac-12), who improved to 15-1 at home. They completed a season sweep of Washington after winning by 41 points on the road last month.
Leaf was injured in the first half after stepping on the foot of a Huskies player as they came down from rebounding. Leaf landed on the court and stayed down until he was helped up by two staff members. He limped off with his arms draped over the staffers and went into the locker room.
Leaf will wear a boot and use crutches in between getting treatment to see if he can return in time for Saturday’s regular-season finale.
“He’s such a positive, uplifting dude, it’s hard to tell what happened,” Bryce Alford said.
The Bruins led by 21 points at halftime and extended the lead to 42 in the second half.
“We were engaged right from the beginning,” the elder Alford said. “Our guys really concentrated well in a lopsided game. We were really good in a lot of areas.”
Noah Dickerson tied his career high with 23 points for the Huskies (9-20, 2-15). They have lost 11 in a row and 13 of 14. Their 20 turnovers led to 34 points by the Bruins.
“We want to finish the season strong,” Dickerson said. “At the Pac-12 Tournament, we want to have a strong showing.”