As it turns out, when you accomplish something no UCLA player has done since 1994, you get recognized for it.
In the double-overtime win over Stanford, Looney had 27 points and 19 rebounds. No UCLA player has posted those stats in a game since Ed O’Bannon more than 20 years ago.
The Bruins had lost five in a row until that game, but midway through the second half, UCLA found itself down 14. Then Looney took over, making a three-pointer, converting a three-point play and punctuating the UCLA run with an emphatic dunk. Looney helped send the game into overtime, and he contributed to the scoring in the decisive second overtime period.
Looney had been one of the most productive freshmen in the nation before the Bruins’ skid. Through his first 11 games, Looney averaged a double-double and scored in double digits in each game. But for a four-game period, Looney failed to crack double digits in points and rebounds.
The turnaround coincides with a shift in strategy. UCLA Coach Steve Alford has encouraged the offense to run through the paint more often. That has involved Looney more in the offense.
Looney is the second Bruin to win player of the week honors this season. Norman Powell won the award on Nov. 24.