In most games, you want your team to come out with some fire and grit. Recently, that has not been easy for UCLA (20-5, 9-3) as they have come out flat to start their last three games. Fortunately, thanks to some serious halftime adjustments and some heads-up coaching, the Bruins were once again able to power through and have a strong second half and beat the Utah Utes (17-8, 6-7), 80-66.
It is not clear what is causing the Bruins to come out slow, but it’s good to know that they’re doing something at halftime, to not only correct their current basketball behavior, but to also succeed in doing that. If Bi-Polar Basketball works, it works.
In the last three games UCLA has played USC, Colorado and Utah and each of those games they were close at halftime. USC lead by 6, Colorado lead by 4 and today the Bruins had a 33-32 halftime edge. And why were they close? Because the Bruins were playing horrible, horrible, horrible basketball.
I understand the game against USC at the Galen Center, which is technically a road game, but UCLA should have come out of the gate like they did in their first meeting with the Trojans, beating them 107-73.
The same thing happened with Colorado as they were tearing up UCLA on UCLA’s home floor in the first half. So why not keep the trend going against Utah?
Utah did not necessarily dominate UCLA, but they had the slight edge to start the game. The Bruins had no offense whatsoever. Even on your home floor, 43.3% field-goal shooting is not going to help anybody.
And then comes post-halftime, a completely different story. A “New Personality”, if you will. Here you have to give it up to Head Coach Steve Alford. For the third straight game, he not only got the Bruins to start playing, but he got them on a dominant run straight out of the locker room.
Jordan Adams has not been producing the way he did at the beginning of the season, so for him to net 24 points in this game is not only big, it is a statement.
One guy UCLA constantly depends on is Kyle Anderson. Even when he as a bad game, he still gets a double-double. He had 3 turnovers and several subpar possessions, but still, Andersonhad 16 points and 10 rebounds for his efforts.
And let us not forget Norman Powell. Powell is, well, here you go…
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) February 16, 2014
He ended with 13 points.
A great win for the Bruins at home, but now it gets interesting as the Bruins head up to the Bay Area for a couple contests against Cal and Stanford, two teams that have been holding their own in the Pac-12.
Will these Bi-Polar Bruins show up and come from behind to dominate the second-half, again? Or will UCLA continue their road trend of having a solid first game followed by a lackadaisical second? UCLA is constantly improving, so it does not seem too far fetched to think the Bruins can go 2-0 on the road next weekend. But realistically, if the Bruins can split against Cal and Stanford, that would still keep them in contention for the Pac-12 crown. It will make it harder, but possible.