The #4 UCLA Bruins (28-9, 12-6) fell to the #1 Florida Gators (35-2, 18-0) in the Sweet 16, 79-68. It is the fourth time UCLA has lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament since 2006, but what separates this team from those before, is that this Bruin squad had a fighting chance throughout the game.
The game was sloppy on both sides of the ball to start. UCLA’s big three scorers, Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Norman Powell, could not get much going in the first half and had only four points each. Still striking distance was not very far away.
Unfortunately, coaching and talent tipped momentum toward the Gators as the game progressed in the second half.
Florida point guard Scottie Welbekin, came out on fire in the second as he scored 10 points, which helped Florida get into a solid groove that would eventually down the Bruins. For everything the Bruins had, Florida answered back.
The second half was an improvement for the Bruins. The defense tightened, Adams, Anderson and Powell contributed more and the Gators appeared to be showing holes in their game. The Bruins had several lethal mid-range shots, but lacked the ability to attack the rim consistently.
Adams, who ended up with a team-high 17 points, shot 7-for-15 and had shots that often clanked off the rim more than he would have liked. That was the kind of night UCLA had overall.
UCLA finishes with its best record since 2007-08 by posting a 28-9 record. #GoBruins
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) March 28, 2014
Head Coach Steve Alford‘s first season with the Bruins ends in a tough loss, but it is something to grow on. Many of the UCLA fan base never expected Alford to go this far into the tournament. Well he has now gone up against the over #1 team and proved he could run, which is a big jumping off point for the future. Still, he did show he needs time to get completely comfortable with his players, his style of play and especially the pressure of the Big Dance.
Florida head coach Billy Donovan made sure of that. There were several things he out-coached Alford on, one in particular was going to the press early in the game which flustered UCLA. Still, it is nothing that cannot be corrected for another run next season.
Kyle Anderson has probably played his last game as a Bruin, but not without 11 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Once again he had trouble getting into the game as he only had four points in the first half, but managed to come alive in the second. Well played, Mr. Anderson and thank you.
Norman Powell, who had a quiet 8 points, still gave us one last poster…
But let us give it to the Wear Twins. For the most part, they carried this team. They helped start the game for the Bruins and were often the lead component to the Bruin’s second-half runs. In their final games as Bruins, David finished with 7 points and 6 rebounds while Travis totaled 14 points, 2 rebounds. Thank you Wear Twins.
The Bruins now look toward next season. With four big men coming to Westwood, who is going to stick around from this year’s squad to participate in the 2014-15 campaign? A lot of questions are going to be answered over the off-season, but as of right now, UCLA is in very good position to repeat this next year and even go further. Good game and Go Bruins.
Go Joe Bruin Player Of The Game: David and Travis Wear