UCLA Hoops Roundup: Perspective

UCLA was always going to have a tough time beating Arizona.  UCLA needed the breaks and the opposite thing happen when Lazeric Jones lost his cool.  Everyone needs to keep perspective on this game.  Related to that here are three points to this game.

1.  This was a big game but now the next three are must wins:

Lee said this loss hurt because it was for second place in the Pac-10, but that the Bruins know they are in a must-win game Saturday at Arizona State.

"Although this game was big, this game is over and our next game is the biggest," he said. "Last year we came to the desert and left 0-2 so we just got to get ready for Arizona State. We can’t compound a loss with a loss because that’s just going to separate us from Arizona."

The team can't have another losing streak.  To make the NCAA Tournament they have to beat last place ASU on Saturday PERIOD. 

2.  With the exception of Malcolm Lee  the team looked immature or worse at times.  I say this not because the "key juncture" where Lazeric Jones got a technical foul for elbowing but people forget he was chasing down Fogg after he had missed a layup at the other end.  Jones did not seem to realize the refs were not going to call the same fouls they did in the Stanford game, where the same play might have been a foul.  Jones, on more than one occasion made stupid frustration fouls after misses or mistakes, with this particular one on Fogg being the most crucial.  Jones, if you are going to be a leader, you can't do that!

UCLA was trying to get back into the game when Fogg, who had just made two foul shots, got free on what seemed like an endless parade of Arizona fast breaks in the second half.

As Fogg went up for the lay-in he got tangled up with UCLA's Jones. As the pair separated, Jones flung an elbow toward Fogg.

"It was nothing against that player," Jones said of Fogg. "I was just trying to get him off of me. I apologized to him during the game. I didn't try to blatantly elbow him. We're cool."

But after a video review, Jones was charged with a technical foul, and Fogg was awarded four free throws.   "Obviously," UCLA coach Ben Howland said, "it was a key juncture."

Jones stupidity was one thing.  But it was more frustrating watching Reeves "SC is not a big game" Nelson yuck it up at the the end of the game.  Yes, Reeves had a good game on offense, especially in the first half that kept us in it.  Yes, I have defended Reeves for his bad body language etc. because he has also cheered on his teammates.  But his laughing at the end of this loss and the below was inexcusable:

The sellout crowd was ready and at times had fun, teasing UCLA standout Reeves Nelson to sit down after he had fouled out with 2:58 left. Nelson, who led both teams with 24 points, sat down then stood up; sat down and then stood up. By then, the crowd was instructing Nelson to check the scoreboard because Arizona was on the verge of victory.

The games was not over at that point (although looking very grim.)  This was not a time to be laughing.

3.  While some players did fight onto the end, we need more from a number of key players.

In our three losses in the PAC 10 Lazeric Jones is 0-15 from the field. 

The team stats are almost as bad:

First off, Reeves Nelson had a fantastic game--maybe the best game of the year. He had 24 points and 10 rebounds and made 10 of 12 shots, single-handedly keeping the Bruins in the game during the first half.

The rest of the team made 14 of 46 shots from the field. That's 30.4%. And from long-range it was worse. The Bruins were two of 15 on three-point attempts.

UCLA made a couple of furious rally to get back in the game, pulling to within eight points with 6:07 to play and nine with 1:12 to play, but missed three-point attempt after three-point attempt that would have kept their rallies going. Instead, Arizona pulled away.

Yes, Arizona had the best player on the court, but it should not have been this bad.  Smith missed a number of lay-ins and Lane, Stover and Smith had one rebound each in a total of 42 minutes.

As usual, Williams fed the intensity with 22 splashy points and five rebounds, numbers that are actually average for him, but it was the manner in which he delivered that made an impact.

Williams threw down a variety of dunks and moves, including a bend-but-don't break rubberbandman slam in the first half, when he reached backward to catch an errant alley-oop pass and slammed it through the hoop. He also had a 360-degree blow-by of a UCLA defender and some (for him) routine tomahawk dunks.

 

UCLA made just 2 of 15 three-pointers and 41.4 percent overall from the field, and turned the ball over 19 times. The Bruins did manage to out-rebound UA 35-30, though big man Josh Smith had only one board.

The TOs were ugly as well.  Nelson, Honeycutt, and Anderson all had 4 or more turnovers.  Anderson's were understandable as he was playing too fast for him but the offense shooting so bad?!?   As Joshua Smith said:

"We just got sped up," Smith said. "We let little things get in our head, let the crowd get in our head, let the refs get in our head. We didn't play the right way.". . .

 

When Nelson picked up his fourth foul with 11:48 left in the game, he had eight field goals. The rest of the team to that point? Eight field goals.

Nelson shot 10 of 12 for the game; the rest of the Bruins shot 14 for 46.

They were particularly porous from long range, hitting just 2-of-15 3-pointers.

Our 18 point deficit during the game was the largest of the season. As Tydides detailed the defense was not there either. We need to bounce back fast and beat ASU.  This had better not be the key stat from the ASU game as Arizona reporter wrote:

Yes, UCLA’s Reeves Nelson had an incredible game. But he had the exact same 24 points a week ago and he followed it up with a whopping four points on Saturday. You’re welcome, ASU.

We need to beat ASU and start another win streak Saturday.  This was always going to be a tough game. But we need to learn from it and continue to grow up.

Go Bruins.

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