Liberty travels to Los Angeles to face the Bruins of UCLA on Saturday at 6pm eastern to conclude the non-conference portion of its regular season. The game will be played in historic Pauley Pavilion, where the Bruins have called home since 1965, and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.
It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs and just the 3rd ever meeting between the Flames and a member of the Pac-12. Liberty faced Arizona during the 2003-04 season, falling 107-91, and lost to Colorado, 93-77, in 1994.
UCLA is led by 6th year head coach Steve Alford. Alford came to Westwood following 6 seasons at New Mexico, where he followed Ritchie McKay’s tenure as head coach. The Bruins are one of the blue blood programs of the NCAA, having won 11 national championships, the most by any program.
Alford’s squad is currently 7-5 on the season, having lost 3 straight, including losses by a combined 43 points in their last 2 contests against Cincinnati and Ohio State. They defeated Presbyterian, 80-65, in November. They are led by 6’8″ sophomore guard Kris Wilkes who is averaging 17.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. 6’3″ sophomore guard Jaylen Hands averages 11.8 points and a team-best 7.4 assists per game. 7’1″ freshman center Moses Brown also averages double figures at 11.6 points and a team-leading 8.8 rebounds per game.
Alford brought in a highly rated recruiting class, rated by most publications as a top 10 class. However, the class has suffered with losses to two of the highly rated prospects, Tyger Campbell and Shareef O’Neal. Campbell, a four-star guard, sustained a torn ACL in his left knee. O’Neal, the son of NBA all-timer Shaq, has yet to play because of a medical issue related to his heart.
This will be Liberty’s final non-conference tune-up before opening ASUN play next Saturday at Florida Gulf Coast.