Thanks in part to his prolific scoring and outstanding effort on the defensive end, Jordan Adams has played a key role during UCLA's best start in six years.
Adams and the 19th-ranked Bruins look to continue their perfect run to open the season with their first game away from home Thursday night against Nevada in the Las Vegas Invitational.
After averaging 15.3 points during his freshman season, Adams has developed into one of the top scorers in the nation with 22.2 per game through the first five contests.
Coming off a career-high 30 points in a win over Morehead State, the sophomore guard led the Bruins (5-0) with 22 on 8-of-10 shooting in a 106-65 victory over visiting Chattanooga in the regional round of the tournament on Sunday.
Adams has scored at least 21 in four straight games, shooting 61.5 percent overall and 11 for 23 from 3-point range over that span. He's also chipped in defensively, ranking in the nation's top five with 3.4 steals per game.
As a team, the Bruins are averaging 11.0 steals - among the most in the country. They matched their season average while holding an opponent under 39.0 percent shooting for the fifth straight game Sunday.
"We're really talented," junior Norman Powell said. "We know we can put up points, but being a great team that you want to be we've got to get defensive stops."
Powell and Zach LaVine scored 19 apiece, while Kyle Anderson added 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists against the Mocs. Anderson has totaled 30 points, 22 boards and 18 assists in his last two games, including the program's first triple-double since 1995 Friday against Morehead State.
After shooting a season-high 62.9 percent while surpassing 100 points for the first time since Dec. 23, 2008, UCLA will try to extend the program's best start since winning its first seven games in 2007.
"As I told the team - we needed to get out of the gate quickly," said coach Steve Alford, who is expected to have freshman forward Wanaah Bail for the first time since offseason knee surgery. "We had five home games to start the season. ... Our guys have done a good job. It's a new program, a new system."
The Bruins have won all four meetings with the Wolf Pack (3-3), who are likely to have a difficult time bouncing back from a poor offensive showing in a 63-58 loss to visiting Morehead State on Sunday.
Although Deonte Burton continued his outstanding start with 19 points, Nevada committed a season-high 16 turnovers and shot a season-low 34.0 percent. Behind Burton's 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Wolf Pack opened the tournament with an 83-81 victory over Chattanooga on Friday.
The senior guard, who ranks in the nation's top 10 with 24.5 points per game, is shooting 51.6 percent overall while hitting 14 of 32 from 3-point range.
"As he goes, we go," coach David Carter said. "We feed off him, but everyone has to be aggressive. There has to be a sense of urgency for everybody."
The Wolf Pack have dropped their last 12 against ranked opponents by an average of 16.9 points.
They'll take on Missouri, while UCLA plays Northwestern as the Las Vegas Invitational continues Friday.
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