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Tyler Lamb is healthy and playing like it for UCLA

The difference between Tyler Lamb’s play in UCLA’s last three games and his play a few weeks before is, to paraphrase a Mark Twain quote, akin to the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

The sophomore guard scored a career-high 17 points in UCLA’s win Tuesday over UC Irvine, and he nearly recorded a triple-double the game before against UC Davis, with nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

And before that, against Eastern Washington, Lamb scored 14 points, the most since he had 15 on Nov. 15.

If it looks like he’s a different player, that’s partly true.

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Lamb had been feeling intense pain in his hip for weeks before an MRI exam last week revealed bursitis.

“I felt like I was playing 60%,” he said.

But he had fluid drained from the hip last week and has played great since.

“I feel way more explosive,” Lamb said. “I feel like I’m 100% right now, and hopefully I can keep it up the rest of the season.”

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Coach Ben Howland, whose Bruins (6-5) face Richmond (7-5) at the Sports Arena on Friday, said with that procedure Lamb is practically a new player.

And Howland said Lamb’s impact extends beyond offense.

“He’s put together at least three games where his stats don’t even indicate what he’s doing because he’s always guarding the other team’s best player and he’s going to all year,” Howland said after the win against Irvine.

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The word “Princeton” has conjured up bad memories for UCLA fans ever since the 13th-seeded Tigers’ upset the fourth-seeded and defending national champion Bruins in the 1996 NCAA tournament.

But fans can expect to see that style of offense — with constant motion, backdoor cuts and patient passing — played by Richmond.

“They probably run the Princeton offense as well as anyone in the country,” Howland said on a teleconference with reporters Thursday.

Trading places

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It’s too soon to call Matt Carlino the next Jimmer Fredette at Brigham Young, but the former UCLA guard who transferred to BYU has given the Cougars a considerable scoring boost in his first two games.

Carlino scored 18 points against Baylor, then added 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds against Buffalo in his first collegiate start.

Carlino is one of several former UCLA players who is having a good season.

New Mexico senior forward Drew Gordon is averaging 11 points and a team-high 10.9 rebounds for the 9-2 Lobos.

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(Gordon’s teammate, guard Kendall Williams, a onetime UCLA commit, is averaging 11.1 points.)

Nevada Las Vegas sophomore forward Mike Moser is averaging 13.6 points and a team-high 11.4 rebounds for the 12-2 Rebels, who are ranked No. 21.

And Moser’s teammate, Chace Stanback, another UCLA transfer, is averaging a team-high 14.5 points.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com twitter.com/baxterholmes


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