Oh, what a way to follow up a close loss to the #1 team in the nation… by blowing out your next opponent. The Arizona State Sun Devil’s (13-4, 2-2) hopes for an upset was quickly squashed by this up-tempo UCLA (13-3, 2-1) team as the Bruins won 87-72.
The Sun Devils were the ones that started in a hurry, as they went 12-6 early on. But after a few minutes of sparring with ASU, UCLA went on a 21-4 run and did not let up.
Part of that run was sparked when Zach LaVine, Bryce Alford and Tony Parker came in around the 14:00 mark in the first half. As it has become a pattern with head coach Steve Alford, the second wave of offense came in, and like clockwork, had the Bruins running circles around ASU..
In the first half alone, LaVine, had 15 points off of 3-for-3 shooting. This guy was on fire. He even ignited the crowd with another amazing mindmill dunk.
— UCLA Bruins (@BR_UCLABruins) January 13, 2014
The Bruins lead at halftime, 50-33.
The second half was a little different as ASU came out with a purpose and wanted to correct giving up a big lead to the Bruins. It took them a good portion of the half, but the Sun Devils finally made it to within ten points with just under six minutes left in the game. Did that faze UCLA? Heavens no.
The Bruins played their game and was not sucked into the slow style of ball that ASU was trying to end with. It was apparent that things were not going the Sun Devil’s way as they started the “Hack-a-Bruin” with more than two minutes left and down 80-70. And poor Herb Sendek. The Sun Devil’s coach even got a technical.
You could chalk this win up to UCLA actually having some defense. Seriously. Aside from Tony Parker who fouled out with 1 point and 2 rebounds, the Bruins did a good job of limiting the Sun Devil’s scoring. ASU shot only 42.9%, and more importantly, their leading scorer Jahii Carson only got 9 points on 4-for-17 shooting.
The kids did some rebounding as well, especially Kyle Anderson. Count it: 13 rebounds (11 defensive) to go with 17 points. Jordan Adams contributed to the party with 15 points and 7 rebounds of his own.
The point is this people: UCLA was not going to be told what tempo to play at. They play Bruin ball. A fast and flashy brand of basketball. What is making them more dangerous is the fact that their chemistry has strengthened since the beginning of the season, which is quite handy for them now that they are in conference play. It is showing as their rebounding and overall defense is improving, slightly. If that is the case, we just might have a tournament team here.