Rankings and score be damned, this was one of the best complete games UCLA has played all year! Yes, they lost and time and again they were out-hustled by Duke, but the Bruins came to play and that is what is needed to progress as a team. Maybe it was playing in front of a full arena, which these Bruins are not use to, but something had sparked inside them. Aside from a momentum-killing Blue Devil run in the second half, UCLA went toe-to-toe with the 8th ranked team in the nation, but fell short, 80-63.
There is more NBA talent in this UCLA/Duke game than that putrid Knicks/Bucks game last night.
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) December 20, 2013
The first half was just as predicted, an offensive showcase. UCLA had opened the scoring, but it was Duke that took the early lead, 13-5. Once the Bruins settled into their game and shook off nervousness, they fought back against Duke behind floor general, Kyle Anderson.
Run baby run – UCLA. -put the Rock in Anderson’s hands . — Dick Vitale (@DickieV) December 20, 2013
UCLA, who has had some abhorrent defense lately, did well to not only stay with Duke, but took control of the game late in the first half. Their 2-3 zone defense, albeit allowing 32 three-point attempts for the game, closed off the majority of the Blue Devil’s dribble penetration. Halftime saw a 37-37 game.
The start of the second half came off a little different as Duke came roaring out of the locker room. They knocked down threes, evenly distributed the ball and got into transition more efficiently than the Bruins did. We also saw how non-existent the Bruin defense was…quite a bit.
When the three-pointers were not falling, the Blue Devils would be patient and wait for that perfect time to strike for the basket, especially when freshman phenomena, Jabari Parker got his hands on the ball. Parker ended his night with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He was everywhere and no Bruin cold stop him, although Travis Wear tried. Parker himself, is not a freshman…he is a walking lottery pick. Lakers, are you paying attention?
Aside from our big three, Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine, the star of the game (should be) was David Wear. Wear started the game on fire and came away with 15 points and 5 rebounds and was 4-for-4 on three pointers. At times he was the most active and efficient Bruin, keeping UCLA in the game in that first half battle.
Of the big three, only Anderson seemed to be in the game as he tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Playing across the river form his home state of New Jersey, Anderson put on a show as he got the Bruins going when he needed to. Unfortunately, toward the end, his efforts became more rallying points than anything, as the #8 Duke Blue Devils were too much and too far ahead for a UCLA comeback.