That’s when the Bruins (3-0) trailed by nine points and starters Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes failed to score. UCLA was a dramatically different team over the final 20 minutes.
“The second 20 was the best we’ve played to date,” Alford said.
The Bruins opened on a 26-9 run, punctuating the spurt with five consecutive dunks — two each by Brown and Hands and one by Wilkes — that extended their lead to 62-37.
“When you have a player like that you got to use him as much as possible,” reserve Jules Bernard said of Brown.
Brown got things started by dunking on an alley-oop pass from Wilkes. His second jam was off a pass by Hands from the top of the key. Hands stole the ball and got out on a fast break before throwing the ball down with one hand as part of the sequence, drawing raucous cheers.
Just in case fans hadn’t seen enough highlight moves, Prince Ali came up with a flying one-hand dunk that made it 79-46. Jalen Hill threw one down, too.
“It gets our adrenaline up and our energy flowing,” said Bernard, who had 18 points. “It makes us less tired when we’re on defensive end.”
Reserve Chris Smith added 15 points. Wilkes and Ali finished with 14 points each. The Bruins had 13 blocked shots and seven steals.
“Mo’s presence is huge. He’s got great timing,” Alford said. “He had eight blocks and I bet he changed another eight shots.”
Jamaal King and Isaiah Blackmon led Saint Francis (1-2) with nine points each. Keith Braxton had 11 rebounds.
The Red Flash jumped on the Bruins at the start, racing to an 11-2 lead. They led 29-28 late in the first half.
“The first half we really executed the game plan and then we let them have too many offensive rebounds,” Saint Francis coach Rob Krimmel said. “The second half they really willed their way.”
Saint Francis: The Red Flash opened a brutal stretch in which they play three straight ranked opponents on the road. Next up is No. 7 North Carolina on Monday, followed by No. 16 Virginia Tech on Nov. 24. They own a 49-game skid against ranked opponents that dates to Jan. 25, 1959, when Saint Francis beat St. Bonaventure 92-81. Away from the Top 25, they won 18 games last season, their most since winning the NEC championship in 1990-91.
UCLA: The Bruins have to get their act together quickly with their first ranked opponents awaiting them next week in Las Vegas. After blowing out Fort Wayne by 25 points in their opener, they stumbled at times against Long Beach State before winning by 11 and got bogged down early by the Red Flash.
HE SAID IT
“He’s like a young giraffe. As he matures, you’re going to see him get even more fluid.” — Alford on Brown.
Saint Francis: At No. 7 North Carolina on Monday.
UCLA: Plays No. 11 Michigan State on Thanksgiving to open the Las Vegas Invitational.
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