UCLA Basketball: Bruins get the win, but still have a few things to solve

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 23: Jaylen Hands #4, Prince Ali #23, Chris Smith #5 and Kris Wilkes #13 of the UCLA Bruins stand on the court during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on November 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. North Carolina defeated UCLA 94-78. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 23: Jaylen Hands #4, Prince Ali #23, Chris Smith #5 and Kris Wilkes #13 of the UCLA Bruins stand on the court during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on November 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. North Carolina defeated UCLA 94-78. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /
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The UCLA basketball team got their first win under interim head coach Murry Bartow, but they are far from being a dominating team.

The UCLA basketball team had their first win in the post-Steve Alford era and it was an improvement from what we have seen in the non-conference portion of the season.

RELATED: UCLA Shows Their Worth With First Win Under Murry Bartow

The Bruins made improvements in scoring, rebounds, field goal percentage, points allowed and field goal percentage allowed, but on top of that, it was entertaining from a fan perspective.

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Though there was an element of change, the UCLA Bruins (8-6, 1-0), will not be transformed into a national championship contender in less than a week. They might not even evolve into that by season’s end, but it was apparent that things went a lot smoother in the first game without Alford.

So what are the items the Bruins have to focus on going forward?

There was still an element of selfishness with the team. A few times (though not as often as they did in the non-conference), the Bruins would take selfish and unwarranted shots. Though the Bruins improved in field goal percentage, they would do well when looking to make the extra pass and try to find someone that might have a better look at the rim.

Shots from behind the arc still suffered, though the Bruins improved from 18.2% to 44.4% from half to half. Still, scoring was a lot more effective inside the arc, especially in the paint, which is what the Bruins should focus on.

UCLA went 29/48 (60.4%) from 2-point range. This was aided by 56 points in the paint. The Bruins had trouble going inside in the non-conference but made it a priority to try and score down low against Stanford. Going forward the Bruins need to make an effort to use their length under the basket. It proved to be effective in their first Pac-12 game as big man Moses Brown returned to the land of double-doubles with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The defense was a little bit better, but gong from non-existent to anything else is a major improvement. The Bruins did a slightly better job of space themselves out, rotating and putting their hands up, but they still got killed when the ball was kicked to the corner, which not only gave Stanford easy opportunities but uncontested ones.

Another issue UCLA has had in the past is letting their foot up off the gas, which was not a problem against Stanford as the Bruins outscored them 54-38 in the second half. Can UCLA continue that trend for the remainder of the season? Let’s hope so.

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UCLA will continue to have issues in some form or another, but if Bartow and his crew can address those problems and make an effort to change, then things will be on the up and up for this team.