UCLA Basketball: Bruins avoid scare with Thomas Welsh in win over Cal

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Jordan Howard
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Jordan Howard /

The UCLA basketball team got a bit of a scare when Thomas Welsh had to leave the game, but returned to help the Bruins take down the Cal Golden Bears and break a three-game losing streak.

The collective hearts of the UCLA basketball fan base stopped for several minutes when senior Thomas Welsh injured his knee in the first half of a win against Cal. The Bruins has started the game slow which allowed the last place Golden Bears to go up 24-13.

The Bruins managed to get back in with an 18-0 run, but in the midst of that, Welsh had hyperextended his knee and need to be helped off the court and into the locker room where he stayed for the rest of the half.

In the meantime, the remaining Bruins held the lead going into the half, 38-31. UCLA did a fine job of kicking things into high gear after their low-energy start, but that was the farthest thing from Bruins fan’s minds. If Welsh was for the game, UCLA could do without him in trying to beat the Bears, but beyond that, it was scary to think what could happen if the center had a serious enough  injury that would keep him out for an extended period of time.

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With UCLA 4-4, riding a three-game losing streak, and USC, Arizona and Arizona State on the horizon, the Bruins could not afford to lose the 7-footer.


Welsh did not warm up before the second half and was on the bench to start. Luckily, five minutes in, with his left knee heavily wrapped, Welsh returned as he apparently only sprained it.

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Though he favored his left knee early in his time back on the court, he was able to get comfortable and help the Bruins put away Cal. Though he stats do not represent his hustle he brought, he was a major factor in UCLA taking a double-digit lead and holding onto it for the victory and the break in the losing streak. Welsh finished with seven points, five rebounds, one assists, one steal and one block.

Though everyone was keeping an eye on Welsh, there were other Bruins who stepped up to help take out Cal.

Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 21 points and added six assists. It was the twentieth time he finished with 20 or more points this season.

Jaylen Hands came alive for 14 points while his freshman counterpart Kris Wilkes had 10. Chris Smith continued to show progress as he chipped in nine for the night. The point is that UCLA was able to overcome an early deficit to get the win, but in reality, this shouldn’t happen against the last place team.

Yes, UCLA won, but if you look deeper, you can see that several problems remained. Cal pulled down 19 offensive rebounds and had 32 points in the paint. UCLA’s inability to have both an inside presence and a defensive game continued, which is concerning knowing that in three of the next four games, UCLA takes on USC, Arizona and Arizona State.

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The Bruins got the win, but a few things still need to be addressed. If not, it is going to be a long, painful end to the season.