Well, well, well…
It was sure nice to see UCLA’s basketball team play a solid game against a Division I opponent for once as they held Pepperdine to a mere 11 points in the first half and beat the Waves, 62-39, last night at the Sports Arena.
It was the Bruins’ first win in that building this year.
Too bad hardly anyone was there to see it; only 3,885 showed up (and it seemed less than that according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times), including a student section of only 34.
The Bruins, now 2-4 on the young season, had a 22-4 run to close the first half and held the Waves to 31.3% shooting, blocking eight shots and forcing 15 turnovers in the process.
It was good to see Ben Howland’s team making the opponents turn the ball over instead of the other way around.
“We did a much better job rotating, helping, scrambling, supporting one another…Our team defense was the by far the best we’ve had all year, and that’s how we have to play.” Coach Howland said.
No Pepperdine player reached double digits in points, while UCLA was led with Lazeric Jones’ 14 points and four assists; it was nice to see him have a good game at long last.
The Wear brothers, David and Travis, combined for 18 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots in a busy night for them, while Norman Powell, a freshman guard, did well in scoring 10 points off the bench and exciting the small crowd with a steal and breakaway dunk to put an exclamation point on his efforts.
Concerns remain pertaining to key front line guys Josh Smith and Reeves Nelson, however, as Smith picked up three fouls and scored only four points in 12 minutes while Nelson logged in even less minutes on the floor – ten – picking up three fouls of his own and making only one basket.
If the Bruins are going to continue this progress that they began against these Waves from Malibu and start winning games, Smith and Nelson need to immensely improve their performances, starting against their next opponent, which promises to be a lot tougher than Pepperdine…
NEXT UP: Texas Longhorns, Saturday, December 3, Sports Arena, 1:30 p.m.
These Longhorns from Austin are led by J’Covan Brown, who averages 23.2 points for Texas. They are 3-2 on the season so far and will definitely pose a challenge to the Bruins.