LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Center Tony Parker scored a career-best 28 points and added 12 rebounds on Saturday, leading No. 11-seeded UCLA to a 92-75 South Region third-round victory over No. 14 Alabama-Birmingham in the KFC Yum! Center.
Guard Bryce Alford added 22 points and five assists, sending the Bruins (22-13) to the Sweet Sixteen.
It was the second time this season UCLA defeated UAB, as the Bruins also registered an 88-76 victory in the Battle 4 Atlantis seventh-place game on Nov. 28 in the Bahamas.
Guard Norman Powell scored 15 points, forward Kevon Looney had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Bruins, and guard Isaac Hamilton added 13 points and seven assists.
Guard Robert Brown led UAB (20-16) with a game-best 25 points.
The Blazers made 12-of-26 shots from 3-point range, but had no answer for Parker and UCLA’s balance.
The Bruins made 35-of-58 field goal attempts (60.3 percent) and out-rebounded UAB, 41-26, in addition to outscoring the Blazers, 52-22, in the paint.
UCLA began the second half with an 8-3 run, taking a 54-40 lead on Looney’s layup with 17:06 left in the game, prompting a UAB timeout. Alford’s 3-pointer with 12:54 remaining gave the Bruins a 62-50 advantage.
UAB got consecutive 3-pointers from Denzell Watts and Tyler Madison to close to within 64-58 with 10:18 to play.
But a field goal by Looney and two from Hamilton pushed the UCLA’s advantage to 70-58 with 8:02 to play.
Trailing, 18-13, after Hakeem Baxter’s 3-pointer with 10:26 remaining in the first half, UCLA scored 33 points in the final 9:44 to seize a 46-37 lead through 20 minutes.
Parker, who made 8-of-9 first-half shots, finished the first 20 minutes with 19 points, including 14 in the Bruins’ 33-19 blitz leading into intermission.
UCLA made 19-of-31 first half shots (61.3 percent) and out-rebounded the Blazers, 21-8, which led to an 11-4 advantage in second-chance points.
UAB shot 50 percent in the first half (15-of-30), including 6-of-10 from 3-point range. Brown had 15 points and Lee 10 in the first half. Brown made 6-of-7 shots, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Powell had 10 points at the half for UCLA, and Alford added nine.
UCLA enjoyed a 28-10 advantage in points in the paint during the first 20 minutes.
NOTES: Bryce Alford’s 27 points in Thursday’s victory over SMU were the most by a Bruin in an NCAA tournament game since Kevin Love scored 29 against Western Kentucky on March 27, 2008. … This is UCLA’s 47th NCAA tournament appearance, including four times in the last five seasons. … The Bruins have won at least 20 games in 32 of their last 40 seasons. … This was the fourth meeting all time between UAB and UCLA, with the Bruins also winning the first three. … Robert Brown entered the game averaging 13.3 points, the only Blazer averaging more than eight points. … When UAB beat No. 3 seeded Iowa State on Thursday, it was its first NCAA tournament victory since a 2005 victory over LSU.