Roundup of a UCLA Victory over ASU: The Zach LaVine Show

It was the Zach LaVine show in the first half - Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

News roundup of UCLA's victory over Arizona State.

Zach LaVine showed why he should be playing more minutes and (gulp) why the pros like him so much.

He scored 15 points to fuel a 20-8 run that gave UCLA (13-3 overall, 2-1 in Pac-12 play) a 37-20 lead. The Sun Devils (13-4, 2-2) never recovered.

"Zach has that explosiveness," Coach Steve Alford said. "He can stretch a defense with his shot or drive the ball well. He is so athletic that when gets in trouble, he can get himself out."

It was an eclectic performance. LaVine scored from the perimeter, making three of three three-point shots. He scored off the dribble. He even provided a film-at-11 highlight with a windmill dunk.

"If you can take your man, you take him," LaVine said. "Coach gives us the freedom to do that."

While Zach's offense was an obvious key to the win, the defense was better in the stretch that blew the game open.  Throughout the game Norman Powell and Zach LaVine did a good job on Jahii Carson.

Against the Bruins, ASU started with promise, jumping to a 12-6 lead, but then everything collapsed. After beating UCLA last Thursday, Arizona coach Sean Miller called the Bruins a "team of runs." Against the Sun Devils, the Bruins ran for a while.

. . . "Behind LaVine, UCLA scored 14 in a row to take a 20-12 lead. The Bruins later put together a 12-2 spurt. By the time ASU reserve point guard Brandan Kearney hit a 3-pointer with four minutes left in the first half, the Bruins had out-scored ASU 35-9 over 11 minutes. UCLA led 50-33 at halftime. In Pac-12 play, that's difficult to overcome. On the road, it's nearly impossible.

Sendek pointed to ASU's eight first-half turnovers, four coming on  four consecutive possessions that ignited the Bruins.

"We had some inexplicable turnovers. Just careless turnovers,'' Sendek said. "It's almost like we lost our sense of what we were doing. An inbounds pass,  we throw it right to him. A one-handed pass against a press. We don't chin a rebound. You can't do that at this level and be in a good place."

More on the "run."

UCLA responded with a 14-0 spurt, highlighted by two 3-pointers by LaVine, to take a 20-12 lead with 12:11 left in the opening half.

LaVine continued with a hot hand as he scored four consecutive baskets for UCLA to increase the Bruins lead to 37-20 lead with 5:44 left in the half. UCLA upped its lead to 41-21 following a basket by Adams with 4:36 left in the half.

The Bruins used good ball movement, effective passing and an aggressive defense to create separation. UCLA led 50-33 at the break.

The game was over at the half.  Lost in the LaVine highlights was another very good game by Kyle Anderson.

After holding a 17-point halftime advantage, UCLA led by as much as 23 and never by less than nine. Sophomore Kyle Anderson again flirted with a triple-double, dropping 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists on the Sun Devils.

Led by Kyle, another encouraging sign going forward was the rebounding:

The Bruins won the battle of the boards by a 42-29 margin and is 11-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent. UCLA also forced 14 turnovers.

I think there is more than a little hyperbole here by Alford but the Bruins did look good at times on defense.

Anderson logged his ninth double-double of the season, his fifth in the Bruins' last six games, and finished three assists shy of a triple-double.

. . . "We moved the ball better and that really affected our defensive positioning," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "We made big defensive strides tonight in a positive direction. ASU is a very dangerous team coming off of a big win at USC."

The last word goes to Zach LaVine.

"Sometimes it's hard to get into the flow. I took about 500 shots a day this week, so I wanted to be more aggressive. Coach wants me to come off the bench. It's different for me, but you have to accept your role. Being a scorer, getting your first shot is always pivotal."

Go Bruins!

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