Just when you thought the weekend could not get any worse it did. UCLA lost to Montana 66-57 and it was not really that close. The box score is here. Maybe Fox Sports did us a favor not televising it live so most Bruins could hear the score and not watch it.
Kudos to Montana. They played smart and packed in their zone and collapsed when the ball went inside. However, I think Reeves Nelson and Joshua Smith both played so badly I hope something they were sick or something. (uclaluv said Smith may have been sick.)
But even if they were, it became obvious tonight this is a team without a leader or an identity. Everything was pathetic and no one wanted to do anything about it. Next are five observations on the loss of the Montana game I attended.
1. I realize we were hungover from the SUC loss and it is finals BUT there were only 30 or so students there. It is the worst showing from a student section in the 25 years I have been coming to games. The alumni cheered more. Sorry students, you can take a 2 hour break from studying to cheer on your Bruins. That was pathetic.
2. We have abandoned "push it". Montana was the team that ran tonight. UCLA made no effort to run the entire night. Even when down by 15 late in the game UCLA was content to pass it around the outside. What happen to push it CBH? This team needs easy baskets and made no effort to get them on the run.
3. Tyler and Smith are such teases but not leaders. Smith has played his two best games against our toughest opponents but other times has looked like he is a very raw freshman who can't hit the rim on a layup attempt. He was 1-8 tonight and those were all close shots, many of which he missed badly. Smith needs to dominate.
Honeycutt was content to shoot threes and was not a factor. Honeycutt should dominate games like this and not settle for threes. Honeycutt also had 0 assists. Honeycutt, if you want to be a pro, you must dominate games and be a leader at this level. That does not mean you have to score all the time but it does mean that you have to be a factor and not have people wondering "Is Honeycutt on the floor?"
4. What the heck happen to Reeves? Reeves was the guy who DID want to shoot on this team and did go for rebounds. After the half, CBH obviously planned to pound into to Reeves with the first plays and Reeves got point blank looks at the basket . . . and missed. I am not sure the last time he dunked. Since the first half of the Pacific game, Reeves has been terrible. His first shot was blocked and for the rest of the game, he just couldn't make a layup.
5. Montana outrebounded us. Everyone knew we were going to have some problems this year against good guards such as Villanova's but when VCU and Montana's inside guys dominate us as they did at times something is seriously wrong. CBH was subbing like mad trying to find the right combination and even went small with Reeves or Lane at Center and Honeycutt at power forward but we could not stop anyone inside. We should have a huge physical advantage here but we don't. This is an area of major concern.
These were not my original five points but there is so much wrong with tonight I could go on for a while. But the point is this team's needs an identity and a leader. Nothing Montana did tonight was a surprise, taking advantage with a quicker PG, packing in the zone, etc. However, we have too much talent to lose this game at home. CBH has to decide whether this team is going to push it or not. Someone (logically Honeycutt) has to step up and lead.
Until then we will be a team with BS moral "victories" looking for an identity.