Just when you were expecting people to remark about how UCLA’s basketball program can beat up on weaker teams like Utah but go belly-up against good teams with winning records, the Bruins do this.
In front of their largest crowd of the season at the Sports Arena – 9,253 – Ben Howland’s team turned in a performance that many said was the best of the year, shooting 60% and getting 26 assists, their largest total in six years, in beating a Colorado Buffaloes team that was tied for first place in the Pac-12, 77-60.
Colorado scored nine of the game’s first 11 points and 12 of the first 16, but after the Bruins battled back to take a four point lead at halftime, UCLA went on a 22-5 second half run to end any doubts
“That’s how basketball was meant to be played,” Howland said after the game, as the Bruins improved to 12-9 and 5-4 in the Pac-12 Conference with ten games left to play (nine in the conference).
Here are the highlights from the win:
For the second consecutive game, four Bruins scored in double figures, with point guard Lazeric Jones being the man with 17 points on seven-of-ten shooting, with a whopping nine assists.
Jerime Anderson had eight to help out his senior backcourt mate.
The Wear twins were their usual effective selves up front as David scored 13 points in making six out of seven baskets, while his brother Travis got 12 points and seven boards. Tyler Lamb made three out of five shots from beyond the three-point arc on his way to 13 points, seven boards, six assists and three steals, making him quite the busy Bruin against CU.
In fact, UCLA had another good day from behind the arc as they hit nine of 13 three-pointers; the Bruins have had shooting days of 50% or better in five of their last six games.
As for the defense, they stepped up again as Colorado shot 46% for the game, with their leading scorer Carlon Brown being held to six points.
As a reward for this good play, these guys have to take yet another road trip to the Pacific Northwest this week, this time facing Washington State in Pullman on Saturday and a Washington Husky team in Seattle on Thursday that’s tied with first with California at 7-2.
One could say that the schedule makers don’t have any love for UCLA, but if they want to have a shot at winning the Pac-12, they must win on the road.
And these Washington schools will provide more than a good test.