UCLA opens Pac-12 Conference basketball season against Washington State

UCLA VS. WASHINGTON STATE

When: Friday, 8 p.m. PT.

Where: Pauley Pavilion.

On the air: TV: ESPN2; Radio: 1150.

Update: UCLA will open Pac-12 Conference play at home for the first time since the 2013-14 season, coach Steve Alford’s first in Westwood. Alford said the Cougars (8-4) present a unique challenge because they play without a true center and spread the court while running a motion offense reliant on three-point shooting. Washington State also employs a variety of defenses that have held opponents to 32% shooting from beyond the three-point line. Junior forward Robert Franks (18.1 points per game) and sophomore guard Malachi Flynn (15.8) are the only Cougars who average double figures in scoring.

UCLA (9-3) has become more unselfish in recent weeks, sharing the ball better on offense while improving its help defense. The Bruins also showed they can close out a game against a quality opponent after finishing off Kentucky two weeks after a late meltdown against Michigan.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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