The UCLA basketball team put on a display of cohesion and conformity as they played consistently on both ends of the court in a win over Loyola Marymount which was fueled by double-double performances from Jaylen Hands and Moses Brown.
In the first four games of the season, the UCLA basketball team coasted to four straight wins on individual talent. During their two-game stint in Sin City, they were dismantled by veteran teams and many of their weaknesses were exposed.
In the last two games, they have played tighter on defense, they have played more cohesively on offense, and they did not give up after jumping out to a substantial lead in the first half.
More from Go Joe Bruin
- UCLA Football: It’s time for the nation to meet Dante Moore
- UCLA Football: Where are they ranked heading into week 4
- UCLA Football: Position battle breakdown for Utah showdown
- UCLA vs. Utah: Location, time, prediction, and more
- UCLA Football: Highlights from Chip Kelly’s appearance on the Jim Rome Show
One thing that this team has been in need of is a leader. Someone to bring all of this together. In the last two games, Jaylen Hands has started to emerge as that leader. In the Bruins’ last game, Hands was no use to the Bruins in the scoring department (4 points) but was able to get his teammates involved with 11 assists. He built off of that effort with 17 points and 10 assists against LMU, which was in addition to his 2 steals and 2 rebounds.
That wasn’t the only double-double effort as Moses Brown got back into a groove after a lackluster performance in Las Vegas. The 7’2 freshman scored 12 points off 6/7 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. He was a menace on the offense but also returned to be one on defense as he had three blocks on the night in addition to the multiple shots he redirected.
As for the defense, the Bruins were a lot more active and applied tighter pressure whenever LMU had the ball. UCLA made better rotations and was able to get in the face of the Lions as they forced LMU into a dismal 20/69 performance (29.0%). It wasn’t suffocating, but it was enough to disrupt the Lions’ methodical style of basketball.
LMU was also uncharacteristically bad at the free throw line. Before tonight, Loyola was the 8th best free throw shooting team in the nation, making 79.5% from the line. Against UCLA, they could only nail 16/23 (69.6%).
What was a bad night for LMU, turns out to be a good night for UCLA as they are able to take advantage of the Lions’ misfortunes. When the Bruins come together, they can do some very exciting things. They just have to be consistent, especially when they go against top tier teams.
They have a chance to prove that in their next four games as they will face Notre Dame, Belmont, Cincinnati, and Ohio State.