It wasn’t pretty, but UCLA’s 59-57 win over Washington was much needed. The victory temporarily stopped the Bruins’ bleeding, but there’s little comfort to be found beyond the victory itself.
We had eight days to rest and learn from the SC debacle. Last night’s results were encouraging in that context. It’s pretty clear that our fundamental problems remain. In fact, if anything they may have gotten worse.
We had just one player score in double digits, Shabazz Muhammad, and he scored 22 points on 8-of-23 shooting. Kyle Anderson (2-8), Travis Wear (2-9) and Jordan Adams (2-11) were a miserable 6-of-28 from the field combined. Goodness. Gracious. Sakes alive! That’s 21.4 percent for those of you without calculators.
Ironically, LDII was the only starter to shoot over 35 percent.
Overall, UCLA shot 33.3 percent from the floor against the Huskies. That’s brutal when you consider our shooting percentage overall for the season is 45.9 percent. We also shot just 22.2 percent from three-point range, despite a season average of 32.3 percent. Unsurprisingly, our numbers from the SC and ASU games were similar.
Friend and neighbors, the verdict is in: Our offense has stalled.
Not to beat a dead horse, but in the first half we shot 22 jumpers and made three. Yeah, that’s 13.6 percent. In the second half we caught on fire and made six out of 30 jumpers for an improved 20 percent clip. Overall we made nine jumpers on 52 attempts. That’s 17.3 percent on jumpers. According to the official play-by play, we went 11-of-14 on lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins. That’s 78.6 percent on what are generally considered high-percentage shots. Someone, somewhere at UCLA might want to run those numbers by Coach Howland and the team.
Seriously, I’m sure they’re aware, but you just get the sense they all believe sooner or later they’ll heat back up from range and all will be well. I don’t think so. I think if we don’t commit to attacking the basket first, and then working outside, as a general offensive philosophy, we are bound to fail. Here’s hoping the Bruins take heed.
A side note: I’ve read a lot on the boards in reaction to Bill Walton’s ramblings during the Washington game. The rabid, extremist (probably never actually played or coached the game) fans have latched onto Walton’s remarks, essentially giving Coach Howland a vote of no confidence on national TV as a sign that their vitriol spewed towards Howland is justified or right. To me, whether or not I agree with the Big Redhead is irrelevant. I think that Walton extolling the virtues of the Wooden Legacy rings kind of hollow when he so vociferously and publicly attacks a member of the Bruin Team, and whether he likes it or not, Ben Howland is a member. I ask myself, “would Coach Wooden have done what Walton has done?” The obvious answer to that question is “no.” It sez here, Walton is out of line.