NCAA BK

Tue, Nov 12, 2013 - 9:00 PM ET
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Oakland-UCLA Preview

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Narrowly escaping with a win in coach Steve Alford's debut, Jordan Adams and the rest of UCLA were admittedly a bit amped up in the season opener.

That isn't likely to be as much of a problem Tuesday night when the 24th-ranked Bruins take on Oakland seeking their 28th victory in 31 home games against an unranked opponent.

In his first game since taking over for Ben Howland, fired in March after a 10-year run that included three consecutive Final Four appearances, Alford guided the Bruins to a hard-fought 72-67 victory over Drexel on Friday.

Dealing with some injuries and foul trouble, they let an early 13-point lead dwindle to one with 2:19 to play before managing to hold on.

"For an opener, very pleased," Alford said. "We got to create our own enthusiasm and excitement."

Alford's team played without senior Travis Wear (appendectomy) - last year's third-leading scorer - and freshman Wanaah Bail (knee surgery), and they aren't expected to return against the Golden Grizzlies.

The Bruins still should be in good hands offensively behind Adams, though he'll try to bounce back after shooting 4 of 12 for a team-high 16 points Friday.

Adams scored 15.3 per game in 2012-13 before going down with a broken foot in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

The sophomore guard is expected to be UCLA's top scoring option following the departure of Shabazz Muhammad, who averaged a team-high 17.9 points last season before heading to the NBA.

"I'm overexcited to get out there and play," Adams said.

Zach LaVine and David Wear chipped in 14 points apiece in the opener, while Kyle Anderson added 12 points, 12 rebounds and tied his career high with seven assists.

The Bruins, who averaged 102.5 points in a pair of exhibition victories, hope to get their up-tempo offense going against an Oakland team that gave up 58 first-half points to No. 12 North Carolina in an 84-61 season-opening defeat Friday.

The Golden Grizzlies, who allowed the Tar Heels to shoot 60.0 percent, are playing a difficult opening stretch with three ranked opponents in their first four games.

They shot 36.4 percent - including 8 for 25 from 3-point range - and committed 14 turnovers, but did outscore North Carolina 40-26 in the second half after trailing by 37 at halftime.

"What I'm proud of is we started running our stuff," coach Greg Kampe said. "And we took some time off the clock and we started guarding them a little bit, and we rebounded."

The Bruins will have to keep an eye on senior guard Travis Bader, who finished with 18 points after leading Oakland with 22.1 per game last season.

Duke Mondy matched his career high with six steals against the Tar Heels, adding 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. He led the nation with 3.0 steals per game last year.

UCLA won the only previous meeting with the Golden Grizzlies, 74-53 in Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 16, 2006.

Oakland has dropped 24 of 25 road games to ranked opponents by an average of 23.3 points.

Tagged: UCLA, Oakland, Travis Wear

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