The UCLA basketball team that Bruin fans have been waiting for all year long have finally arrived.
After a disastrous start to the 2012-13 campaign, UCLA won its fifth straight game, beating the seventh-ranked Missouri Tigers in overtime, 97-94.
The Bruins won this game in the style they prefer: A high-scoring affair with little defense and major reliance on UCLA’s freshman players; against Mizzou, the Bruins leaned heavily on freshman phenom Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 27 points off of 10-for-19 shooting.
Both Travis and David Wear pitched in tremendously as well, scoring a combined 38 points off of 27 shots to go along with 15 boards; this marks perhaps the Wear Twins’ best performance to date after a disappointing 2011-12 season.
As a team, the Bruins shot just over 50 percent from the floor and committed just six turnovers all game.
Defensively, UCLA was dismal, allowing Missouri to stay above 50 percent for the majority of the game before the Tigers went cold, ending the night at 48 percent from the field. Additionally, Missouri also shot 43 percent from downtown, despite shooting 32 percent from three all season; this, of course, confirms UCLA still hasn’t shored up three-point defensive issues so far this season.
The Bruins have finished 10-3 in non-conference play, and are nine wins behind last year’s win total. The Bruins don’t play again until after the New Year, against Cal, a team that was widely considered to be the third-best Pac-12 squad behind UCLA and Arizona entering the season.
Wins like this should be taken with a grain of salt, but the Bruins have rattled off a win streak, leaving doubts as to whether Howland has become entirely useless.