BOULDER, Colo. — Bryce Alford’s teammates were setting picks to spring him late in a game that was long over.
No offense intended. They were just trying to help him to reach that double-digit 3-point plateau. Alford fell one short — about all he didn’t accomplish on this magical shooting night.
The old record for the Bruins (17-1, 4-1 Pac-12) was 18 in the season opener against Pacific.
Alford was 11 of 18 from the field, including 9 of 14 from 3-point range. He was pushed farther and farther out by the Buffaloes defense, but kept hitting deeper and deeper shots. Alford’s previous best was 31 points against Oregon on Feb. 27, 2014.
“I wanted him to get 40,” teammate Lonzo Ball said. “But 37, that’s a lot of points.”
Alford had seven of his nine 3-pointers in the second half to tie a career high. This one, his dad/coach will recognize.
When Bryce Alford made nine against SMU on March 19, 2015, one was awarded on a goaltending call. So, his father playfully doesn’t count it.
This time, he has no choice.
“He got me, the most I ever made as a player was eight,” Steve Alford said. “I always thought I had him. I was not giving him the SMU game, but I have to give him this.”
“Now Pops can’t say anything,” Bryce Alford said, with a big grin.
Colorado simply had no answers for Alford or UCLA in general.
“This is the best offensive team in the country,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said.
Isaac Hamilton hit four 3-pointers on his way to 20 points. And it was a rather quiet evening for talented freshman and UCLA leading scorer TJ Leaf, who still had 12 points. He averages 17.4.
Xavier Johnson had 21 points for the Buffaloes (10-7, 0-4), who have dropped four straight to open conference play for the first time since 2008-09 when they were in the Big 12.
“We definitely lost some swagger. It’s hard to have swagger when you’re 0-4,” Boyle said. “But you can’t lose your heart and you can’t lose your determination and you can’t lose your fight. We haven’t lost that. I promise you.
“We may have been humbled. Let’s put it that way. Humbled. This conference is no joke, and winning isn’t easy.”
UCLA: With top-ranked Baylor’s loss earlier this week, the Bruins have a chance to climb after remaining at No. 4 for a second straight week. First, though, they need a win at Utah on Saturday.
Colorado: A sizable crowd showed up despite a snowy night and a late start. The Buffaloes are 95-17 at Coors Events Center under Boyle.
THIS & THAT
Alford has 1,687 career points, overtaking Marques Johnson (1,659 points, 1974-77) for 15th on UCLA’s all-time scoring list. … More Alford: The senior guard has hit 275 career 3-pointers. He trails only Jason Kapono (317, 2000-03) for most in school history. … Ball finished with 11 points and eight assists. … Colorado freshman Deleon Brown started in place of senior Josh Fortune, who’s been struggling with his jumper. … The Buffaloes fell to 1-7 against UCLA since joining the Pac-12 for the 2011-12 season. … Led by the long-range shooting of Hamilton, the Bruins went on an 11-2 run early in the second half to pull away.
NOT LOOKING BACK
Mired in a slump, the Buffaloes refuse to dwell on it.
“Just keep believing. Can’t get your head down,” junior George King said. “Amnesia. Because you can’t go back in time and try to replay them.”
UCLA: Travels to Utah to take on a Utes team loaded with confidence after knocking off No. 25 USC on Thursday.
Colorado: Hosts USC on Sunday.
This story corrects information from team game notes to show Bryce Alford previously made nine 3-pointers on March 19, 2015.