UCLA downs Tulsa, spoils Manning’s tourney coaching debut
SAN DIEGO — This is what UCLA is supposed to do in the NCAA tournament.
Jordan Adams had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Norman Powell scored 15 in his hometown to lead the fourth-seeded Bruins to a 76-59 victory over 13th-seeded Tulsa on Friday night, spoiling the NCAA tournament head coaching debut of Danny Manning.
UCLA (27-8) advanced to Sunday’s third round in the South Region against 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin, which upset No. 5 VCU 77-75 in overtime.
In his first year in Westwood, Steve Alford coached the Bruins to just their third win in the NCAA tournament since 2009. It came in the city where John Wooden won the last of his 10 national championships, in 1975. UCLA has more national titles than any other school (11), and its overall tournament record is 101-38.
Ben Howland was fired last March after the Bruins were routed by 11th-seeded Minnesota in the second round, 83-63. Although Howland led the Bruins to three straight Final Fours from 2006-08, including the championship game in 2006, they were just 2-3 from 2009 through last season.
"I’m really pleased with our team," said Alford, whose Bruins won the Pac-12 tournament a week ago by upsetting Arizona, the top seed in the West. "We played really well and shot the ball at a high level. I like the way these guys are guarding. We’ve got a lot of guys scoring, a lot of balance. We go to another level when we guard and I thought we did a really good job of guarding tonight."
Bryce Alford, one of Steve’s two sons on the team, said getting the first win is the hardest.
"You see a lot of higher seeds go down in the first game just because of the jitters of being in the NCAA tournament and being on national TV," said Bryce Alford, a freshman guard who had seven points. "We came out a little stagnant, but once we picked up our level and got it together, we were good."
Tulsa (21-13) had its 11-game winning streak snapped. Manning led Kansas to the 1988 title and won another championship as a Jayhawks assistant coach six years ago.
D’Andre Wright scored 18 points for Tulsa and James Woodard had 11 points and nine rebounds. The Golden Hurricane shot only 36.8 percent (21 of 57).
"UCLA came out in the first half and they turned us over," Manning said. "I think they had 16 points off of our turnovers and second-chance opportunities. Then in the second half we were able to make a little bit of a run, but they controlled the game with their athleticism and they got out and shot way too high of a percentage for us to have a chance in the second half."
The Golden Hurricane got close twice in the second half, and each time, Adams and Powell — who played at San Diego’s Lincoln High — led big UCLA surges.
Adams and Powell combined for UCLA’s first 12 points in the second half.
After Wright had a tip-in on the first possession to pull Tulsa to 35-32, Adams hit a 3-pointer and then converted a three-point play, rebounding his own miss and getting fouled by Woodard. Tulsa’s Tim Peete had a turnover and Adams fed Powell for a dunk. Powell then made a layup for a 45-32 lead.
Wright made a bank shot to end UCLA’s 10-0 run, but Adams answered with a jump hook to make it 47-34.
Tulsa eventually closed to 57-52 before UCLA pulled away again, on a jumper by Bryce Alford, a layup by Parker and a three-point play by Powell for a 64-54 lead with 4:11 left.
In the final minutes, Adams hit a 3-pointer and Powell revved up the crowd with a slam.
UCLA took its biggest lead of the first half, 26-17, on a three-point play by Tony Parker after he was fouled making a bank shot.
Tulsa then went on a 13-4 run capped by two big plays by Woodard, who hit a 3-pointer and on the next possession dribbled down the court for a slam dunk and a 30-all tie with 1:38 left.
Woodard started the run with two free throws and Wright scored Tulsa’s next six points, on a dunk and two jumpers.
UCLA regained control when Kyle Anderson converted a three-point play and Adams made two free throws for a 35-30 halftime lead.