LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It was only natural that Bryce Alford has evolved as an earnest playmaker and skilled passer, a teammate said. Maybe he gets it from his mother. "He has that in his game," said UCLA center Tony Parker, whose 28 points in a win over University of Alabama-Birmingham came with lots of help from Bryce, the point guard who runs the show for coach Steve Alford, his dad, a former standout for Indiana.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"Coach Alford didn't pass much, so I think Bryce focuses on being a better passer than him," Parker said. "He passed the ball really, really well today. He always does, to me."

The coach was sitting two seats away when Parker said that. He laughed. He didn't argue. "He's right, I didn't pass that much," the coach said later. But he also cited his players' 83-44 drubbing from Kentucky in November, in which the Bruins trailed 41-7 at halftime. "There weren't too many halves where personally I only scored seven in a half."