The Bruins came out running and firing on all cylinders, abusing the Aggies inside, and apart from our perimeter defenders losing track of their guys whenever the ball would go inside, the defensive effort was generally solid. We saw some better help defense than we've seen all season on the interior at least, and UCLA rode Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee's hot start en route to a 40-27 lead at halftime. (box score)
Unfortunately, the story this season for the Bruins again played itself out in the form of inconsistency. The energy that had the Bruins diving on the floor for loose balls seemed to abandon them, and they appeared content to play the rest of the game to a draw with Davis, and that's exactly what they got. While they did a relatively good job on Joe Harden, they looked to borrow a page from our football team this year, letting an unknown off the bench in Josh Ritchart go off in the second half for 23 points to make things a little interesting. While the Bruins weren't really threatened in the second half, it would be nice to put two solid halves together again like they did in Lawrence.
Despite Honeycutt's start, and his double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks), he did miss a number of layups that need to be converted, which showed up in his 4-16, 25% FGs line. At least he didn't have to carry the load himself. Malcolm Lee's 15 points were also a welcome sight for this team, 9 of them coming from 3 point baskets.
The rebounding edge skewed in our favor as well (44-28) as it should against a team like Davis without the size and bulk inside that we have, but once again our free throw shooting leaves much to be desired (9-17). This is especially disappointing coming from Lazeric Jones (3-6), whose aggressiveness on the ball is likely to earn him more trips to the line as the season wears on.
The win moves the Bruins to 5-4 on the season, and sets up a must win game on Saturday against BYU. The Cougars are the last chance for UCLA to get a "good" win on their tournament profile. If the Bruins think that one good half is going to be good enough to take a win from BYU, they will be sadly mistaken. There's no time to savor any kind of win. Not this year. If CBH wants to maintain the faith of Bruin fans going forward, he will find a way to make this team a tournament team, and that starts on Saturday. I guess the good news here is that CBH gets four full days to "coach 'em up", and the man does have a pretty good record the more time he gets to prepare.