After a huge season changing win against #1 ranked Kentucky last Thursday, the UCLA Basketball team were almost Munsoned by a gritty Cal State Long Beach squad.
Led by a devilish first half performance by Nick Faust (15 pts, 5 Rebs, 4/7 3FG), the Bruins found themselves down 16-22 midway through the first half and 27-35 with 3 minutes left in the half.
However the Bruins found a spark late with two Bryce Alford threes and finished the half on an 10-3 run to fortunately walk into the locker room down by only a point.
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The Bruins were effective when they could get the ball inside to Tony Parker, Thomas Welsh and Isaac Hamilton (a combined 9/18 for 19 first half points), but all too often the UCLA guards played paddy cake with the ball on the perimeter and settled for a late outside shot. The 49ers also seemed to be quicker to the ball and playing with more hustle until the Bruins strong close to the half.
In the second half, UCLA leaned on the big guys early with five straight point blank shots by Parker, Welsh and Hamilton and a 12-5 run to take the lead 49-43. Faust and the Beach tried to keep pace with more three point attempts, but five minutes into the second half the Bruins had extended the lead to 54-46. After feeding the bigs, Alford took control with 6 quick points to make the score 60-48 midway thru the 2nd half.
However the 49ers refused to go away, and trailed by only 2 with two minutes to play after a three pointer by Justin Bibbins. However Hamilton sealed the game with a layup and a steal and the Bruins improved their record to 6-3.
Alford finished with 24 to lead the Bruins, Hamilton finished with 21 and Welsh and Parker scored 15 and 16 points respectively with 10 rebounds each.
Faust led the Beach with 24 in a losing effort. The Bruins have four more non-conference games to improve their post-season resume including the next game on December 12 at Gonzaga and a neutral site game in Brooklyn against North Carolina on December 19.