UCLA basketball pulled away another sloppy victory over a terrible mid-major squad, beating Fresno State 91-78, a score that was not indicative of how tightly-contested this game was.
UCLA began its trek back to relevance trailing the Bulldogs for the majority of the first half, although the Bruins rallied to take back the lead at halftime. After that, though, UCLA never looked back, leading Fresno State for the entire second half while toying with a double-digit lead throughout. Fresno State kept itself in the game, mind you, for much of the second period, but UCLA pulled away with around 13 minutes left in the contest.
The Bruins were led by the efforts of their most effective freshman this season, with Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad accounting for 72 of UCLA’s 91 points as well as 31 of UCLA’s 40 rebounds and all eight of UCLA’s steals on the night. Ben Howland has been notorious for shafting freshmen so perhaps this game changes things, especially as it pertains to Tony Parker, who received just eight minutes of playing time while fellow big men David and Travis Wear earned just eight points off of 11 shots, continuing their run of defining mediocre rotation players.
In typical UCLA fashion, the Bulldogs looked competent offensively, shooting at a solid 47 percent clip all while draining a ridiculous 58 percent of their threes, going 10-for-17 from downtown. This, of course, bolsters the notion that UCLA’s three-point defense is about as crappy as it gets. All this, of course, is magnified by the fact that Fresno State came into the contest with one of the nation’s worst offenses, shooting damn near under 40 percent from the floor and around 25 percent from three. Fresno State, a team averaging an offensive efficiency rating of 93 points per 100 possessions (good enough for bottom third in the nation), turned in an offensive efficiency rating of 113 against the Bruins. Because UCLA’s defense is head-bangingly, frustratingly incompetent, Fresno turned in its best offensive performance of the season.
Every win should be looked at with serious skepticism from here on out, at least until UCLA’s match-up with top-15 team Mizzou next week. The Bruins have not turned in a solid performance against a good team all season, so until then, nothing can be taken from these types of wins.
UCLA is set to take on the 12th-ranked Missouri Tigers on December 28 at 7 p.m. PST.