- Associated Press - Sunday, November 27, 2016

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball hoisted the Wooden Legacy championship trophy with his trademark smile after the 14th-ranked Bruins beat Texas A&M; 74-67 Sunday.

Ball, who had 16 points and 10 assists in the championship game, also earned a watch as he was named the tournament’s MVP. It’s the first of what is expected to be a lot of hardware for the star guard, who has had a fantastic start to his career.

“It’s great. Coach talked about how this is our tournament and it has our name on it,” Ball said. “This was the first championship we were available to get, and we got it. It was a good team effort. As far as me winning the MVP award, I’m grateful.”

Texas A&M; (4-2) had a lead at 63-62 late in the second half, but was done in by turnovers and missed shots in the final minutes. Admon Gilder led the Aggies with 17 points, and Tyler Davis added 16.

Issac Hamilton scored all 17 of his points in the first half, to lead UCLA (7-0), which beat Portland, New Mexico and Texas A&M; to win the title.

Ball had 47 points and 28 assists over the three games, and he set the tournament’s assists mark in the process.

Cathleen Trapani, Wooden’s granddaughter, was one of four Wooden family members on the court for the trophy presentation.

“I think Papa would’ve really liked him because he’s very unselfish and makes them work like a team,” Trapani said. “My husband (Paul Trapani) said he makes others better, which Papa would’ve liked. He’s not obnoxious. He leads by example. Papa never liked exuberance and a showboat. He shares, and he’s big on teamwork. He’s made the team closer.”

Ball started slow as he missed six of his first seven shots but still founds ways to help the Bruins, especially as a facilitator. The UCLA guard set the tournament record for assists.

“UCLA showed how good they really are,” Texas A&M; coach Bill Kennedy said.

BIG PICTURE

UCLA benefited from playing tournament games on the road, although its Wooden Legacy games in Fullerton and Anaheim aren’t far from Westwood. Its first true road game will be Saturday at Rupp Arena, one of the toughest places to play in the country.

Texas A&M; benefited by upsetting Virginia Tech in the semifinals and getting freshman forward Robert Williams more experience. He came off the bench and had a splendid tournament and dazzled with dunks

UP NEXT

UCLA hosts UC Riverside on Wednesday before a difficult task playing at Kentucky - the top-ranked team in the country - on Saturday. UCLA then has a week off before hosting No. 25 Michigan on Dec. 10 at Pauley Pavilion.

Texas A&M; returns home to College Station for three games - Texas A&M-Corpus; Christi, Denver and South Carolina State.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

UCLA is likely to move up in the poll after winning a tournament title and remaining undefeated.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Ball highlighted the all-tournament team as MVP. Also named to the team were: Davis, Texas A&M; Hamilton, UCLA; Tim Williams, New Mexico and Zach LeDay, Virginia Tech.

QUOTE OF THE GAME

UCLA was tested by Nebraska and Texas A&M;, but the Bruins found ways to control the game down the stretch each time.

“With five minutes to go in the game, these guys learned how to just go take the win,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “That’s exciting, coaching a group of guys like that because we’re still a new team. Down the stretch, they were terrific.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide