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UCLA opens Pac-12 Conference basketball season against Washington State

UCLA opens Pac-12 Conference basketball season against Washington State
UCLA's Prince Ali (23) shoots against Kentucky defenders Nick Richards, right, and Hamidou Diallo, left, during the CBS Sports Classic at the Smoothie King Center on Dec. 23. (Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images)

UCLA VS. WASHINGTON STATE

When: Friday, 8 p.m. PT.

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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.

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