UCLA Basketball: Grading the Bruins' First Pac-12 Stretch
After its first Pac-12 home stretch, UCLA stands at 2-1 in conference play, falling only to the No. 1 team in the nation, Arizona.
Through their first three conference games, the Bruins have had stellar moments and not-so-bright moments, but they nonetheless have garnered momentum heading into their first road trip.
Before UCLA takes on Colorado in Boulder for its first conference road game on Thursday, let’s take a look at how the Bruins have performed in their first stretch of Pac-12 contests.
UCLA tipped off conference play emphatically.
The Bruins demolished their crosstown rival, USC, by a score of 107-73, never allowing the Trojans a chance to win the game.
Four Bruins finished in double figures (Kyle Anderson: 23, Jordan Adams: 21, Bryce Alford: 20, Zach LaVine: 16), and the team combined for 57.7 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Commencing conference play with such a definitive win gave UCLA plenty of confidence heading into its ensuing game against No. 1 Arizona.
Positives: Wide Margin of Victory (34), High Shooting Percentages, Bench Production (41), Winning the Board Battle (41-35), Defense
Negatives: Tony Parker’s 10-Minute Foul-Out, Wear Twins’ Offensive Stagnation (10 points)
Kyle Anderson said after the game that he didn’t believe in moral victories, but UCLA’s loss to No. 1 Arizona was, nevertheless, as good as losses get.
The Bruins ultimately lost the prime-time matchup 79-75, but they battled the Wildcats down to the wire, taking the lead with a minute remaining in the game.
Best of all, the Bruins managed to recapture the lead after Arizona dominated the majority of the second half, proving their resilience.
Positives: Steals (12), Turnover Margin (UCLA 9, UA 17), Parker’s Performance (10 points, 8 rebounds), Rebounding (UCLA 36, UA 37), Coming from Behind
Negatives: Below-Average Shooting Percentages (40% FG, 31% 3P FG), Wears’ Performance (10 points, 4 rebounds), Adams’ Inaccuracy (4-for-15 FG, 1-for-6 3P FG), Defensive Breakdowns
Arizona State: B
After losing to Arizona, UCLA rebounded with a win over Arizona State to boost its conference record to 2-1 heading into its first Pac-12 road trip.
Although the Bruins beat the Sun Devils handily by a 15-point margin (87-72), they were stagnant in the beginning of the second half and allowed ASU to slice the deficit to as few as nine points with six minutes left on the clock.
UCLA got a little too comfortable with the lead, which was as high as 23 in the second half, but the team still held on to notch the win and compile some momentum before hitting the road.
Positives: Zach LaVine’s Team-High 19 Points, Domination of the Boards (42-29), Three-Point Shooting Percentage (58.3%), Energy Boosts from LaVine and Norman Powell,
Negatives: Overconfidence with Lead, Transition Defense, Parker’s 14-minute Foul-Out