After Tuesday's disappointing outing against UCI, UCLA turns this one into a laugher.
The fun has returned to Westwood. It's been a while, years even, since we've been able to enjoy a complete demolition of an inferior opponent, but tonight the Bruins delivered. A few first half stats to capture the scope of the destruction:
Tied for most first half points in the Ben Howland era (63, thanks to LVBruin for looking that one up)
68% FG shooting, 6-7 on 3's, 11-13 on free throws.
22 Rebounds against JMU's 12
19 assists on 23 made baskets.
4 steals and 4 blocks.
Yeah it was fun. All of that adds up to a 34 point halftime lead, rendering the second half garbage time.
It was great to see the activity out of Joshua Smith. Smith was overpowering anyone in purple, and the only person to really stop him was the poor sap who took a charge on him as he rolled to the basket. I'm assuming that player is still counting stars.
Norman Powell started off hot, and showed how streaky he can be by continuing his offensive onslaught the rest of the game. If it takes a couple early buckets to get him going, all the more reason for him to stop settling for jumpers early in the game and get some layups and free throws instead.
Tony Parker got early time and looked good. Smith obviously got a lot of early time. And that means we saw very little of the double Wear lineup in the first half. I'm not saying that's the reason why we had the best half we've had in years, but it does make me wonder.
What the Wears did do a little better than we're used to seeing is help defense, gumming up passing lanes and registering a few blindside blocks, and for the most part they restrained themselves from taking The Worst Shot On The Floor, the long 2, which I may start referring to as The Wear from now on thanks to DCBruins.
Other standouts: Larry Drew II had 12 assists, Powell had a career high 27 points, Kyle Anderson finished with 12 rebounds, and scoring machine Jordan Adams had 25 points and became the first UCLA player to score 20+ points in 3 straight games since Arron Afflalo in 2007 (thanks DJGadabout), in his first three games no less.
So while it was a fun night, it's important to remember that this was James Madison, and these are the kinds of games we really should be having with more regularity against opponents of this caliber.
The real games and the meat of the non conference slate begin Monday against Georgetown all the way across the country in Brooklyn at the Barclay's Center. We'll have to pack up some of tonight's magic in our carry on luggage, because the competition is about to get a lot tougher. Also on deck, tomorrow's appeal of Shabazz Muhammad's status which could drastically change the complexion of the team we see in Brooklyn next week with a favorable ruling.