LOS ANGELES - Tony Parker scored 16 points, including two free tie-breaking free throws with 56.8 seconds remaining, leading UCLA to a 75-67 win over Alabama on Saturday night.
Trevor Releford scored a game-high 34 points to lead Alabama (5-7). Releford scored five consecutive points down the stretch, tying the game 67-67 with 1:24 to play in the second half.
Parker made a pair of free throws with 56.8 seconds left to give UCLA a 69-67 cushion. UCLA scored its next six points at the free throw line to seal its ninth consecutive home win. Parker added two key rebounds and a block in the final minute for the Bruins (11-2).
“We got a huge shot in the arm with Tony Parker,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “I thought he was just terrific, especially in the second half.”
Saturday night’s game marked the first contest all season in which the Bruins trailed at halftime. Alabama overcame an early 20-9 deficit and took a 34-33 halftime lead. UCLA opened the second half with a 5-0 scoring run to take a 39-34 advantage at the 17:47 mark.
Alabama won the rebounding battle in the first half by a 17-11 margin, but UCLA took over on the glass in the final 20 minutes and finished with 37 total rebounds to Alabama’s 26.
“We’re getting ready to enter the conference season,” Alford said. “We’re getting ready to get into January, February, March, so we needed this. We were tied with Duke at half, we were up at Missouri, so we haven’t been in that situation, especially at home. We needed somebody to give us a really good shot at home, like Drexel did early in the season.”
Parker was one of five UCLA players to score in double figures. Jordan Adams logged 14 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Norman Powell and Kyle Anderson each scored 13 points, and Travis Wear finished with 10.
Anderson missed nearly five minutes while overcoming leg cramps on the bench in the game’s final 10 minutes. The sophomore from Fairview, N.J., returned to the game with 5:09 to play and helped UCLA secure its second consecutive win.
The Bruins will return to action at home against crosstown rival USC on Sunday, Jan. 5. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports 1 in Pauley Pavilion.