By Chris Foster
10:20 PM PST, January 23, 2014
The slump that UCLA Coach Steve Alford said was not a slump took a night off.
Alford was adamant this week that the Bruins were not in an offensive funk, shooting 42% in their last four games.
The Bruins, Alford said, were merely in "a hurry offensively" and a little "complacent."
The semantics could be given a rest Thursday. The Bruins were neither complacent nor in a hurry in a 91-74 victory over Stanford at Pauley Pavilion.
"We got back to who we are," Alford said. "We got better ball movement today and got better shots."
It was really that simple.
Tony Parker had career-high 22 points, making nine of 14 shots. Kyle Anderson had 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. The Bruins shot 52% and had five players score in double figures. The Bruins had 34 field goals, with 20 being layups or dunks.
"We just kept moving the ball," said Jordan Adams, who had 19 points. "When you keep moving the ball, the other team gets tired."
Parker took the lead role in the offense. He set up residence near the basket on offense and could not be budged.
"You sometimes have to get Tony mad, and that's not easy to do," Alford said. "He was in the office wearing a really ugly outfit. He wore red and that's something you don't do here. Sometimes you can crack on his outfit."
Said Parker: "Coach is from Indiana. He doesn't have a lot of fashion sense."
Parker's play was nothing Alford could crack on. UCLA scored 46 points in the paint. All nine of Parker's field goals were from within five feet.
"I just stayed along the arc," Parker said. "It makes them have to double-team me and opens things up for other guys."
The victory could give the Bruins some traction after splitting the previous four games, as the Pac-12 race is still forming.
Top-ranked Arizona is the only Pac-12 team in the Associated Press top 25.
Colorado and Oregon, two teams that spent considerable time in the top 25, have fallen off the national map. California was getting attention after winning its first five conference games, but a loss to USC Wednesday will send the Bears' poll voters back into hibernation.
So where does Thursday's victory leave the Bruins? A better idea will come Sunday, when UCLA (15-4, 4-2 in Pac-12) plays California at home. A victory and the Bruins can claim a bridgehead into the conference race.
Stanford (12-6, 3-3) certainly didn't have the look of a contender. The Cardinal committed 23 turnovers and shot 39%. The Bruins had a double digit-lead through the second half.
It was particularly important to reboot Adams, Alford said. The Bruins' leading scorer missed his first three shots, then got a layup. He made six of 11 shots.
"My teammates did a real good job getting me easier looks," Adams said.
Now the trick for the Bruins is bottling the performance.
"We'll show them film of this game," Alford said.
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