There’s a line in one of UCLA’s fight songs that goes,
“We are the Mighty Bruins, the best team in the West…”
After what happened to the Bruins’ basketball team at the Sports Arena on Friday night, UCLA is not even the best team on the Westside as Loyola Marymount University, a small school from nearby Westchester out of the mid major West Coast Conference, completely embarrassed the Bruins 69-58 before a small, seemingly indifferent crowd of 5,382.
The big significance to this loss? It marks the first time that LMU has beaten the Bruins in 70 years.
There were quite a few factors to this defeat, one being that the Lions made ten of 15 three point shots, while UCLA only made two of 15 from the three point stripe, shooting only 40.7% from the field overall as well as hitting only 66.7% of their free throws.
It’s safe to say that their problems from the charity stripe continues; if they don’t improve in that area opponents will adopt a strategy of fouling the Bruins, knowing that they will have trouble making their free throws.
Two Bruins, while not intending to point fingers at them, comrtibuted mightily to this failure:
Point guard Lazeric Jones only made one shot in 32 minutes, missing ten in the process.
He had as many turnovers as points – three – while his counterpart Anthony Ireland schooled him, constantly going to the hole with ease on his way to 21 points.
One word describes Zeke and his performance: PATHETIC.
As was center Josh Smith, whose past issues reared its ugly head in the game as he had a grand total of four points, five rebounds, and most significantly three fouls in only 16 minutes on the court.
Reeves Nelson wasn’t that much better – he ended up 13 points but bricked all three of his 3-point tries and didn’t step up in the first half as after a 34-33 halftime lead, LMU pulled away in the second half.
Along with Ireland, Ashley Hamilton was also a hero for the Lions with his game-high 23 points, nailing Ben Howland’s team with his three pointer with 3:40 left in the game, giving the Lions a 65-55 edge.
The only positive thing that I can say about this is that it was their first game, and UCLA has plenty of time to play better, get better, and be the team that everyone says they will be this year.
Otherwise it could be shades of 2009-2010, when the Bruins couldn’t do anything right and finished with a losing record.
NEXT UP: Middle Tennessee State, Tuesday, October 15th, Sports Arena, 8:00 p.m.