Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Once again, the Bruins ride noteworthy performances by their freshmen to beat inferior competition
If you're sick of this plotline, you might as well stop watching the Bruins now, because it looks like this is how things will play out for the remainder of the season. The star freshmen truly are stars, and they've asserted themselves as this season has worn on. The competition will remain weak, as the Pac 12 is truly a woeful conference once again. And we will continue to struggle to put away teams that have no business being in games with us.
Following criticism from many places including here about his defensive effort, Pac 12 player of the week Shabazz Muhammad came out with a complete game to at least temporarily silence the doubts about his devotion to being a complete player. We're used to seeing his offense, and he didn't leave us wanting there with a game high 23 points, but it was his effort on both ends of the floor, including 7 defensive rebounds that were the fruit of his labor.
Fellow frosh Kyle Anderson has resumed his duties on the glass, tabbing 12 rebounds to make up for the Wear Twins' pathetic efforts there. Jordan Adams, who needs to take more of the Wears' shots in this offense, once again displayed his knack for playing the lanes and anticipating plays as he picked up 7 steals.
Of course, those were the highlights for Bruin fans. The reality is that this was a brutally ugly game featuring a Stanford team whose go to move appears to be the missed layup. The Wears started off the game showing that they still have that selfish hero-ball streak in them, taking 10 of the first 15 shots in another predictably slow start for UCLA. Why they're allowed to continue to play no defense on the inside and jack up shots that should be going to the freshmen while Tony Parker sits on the bench may end up being the final enduring mystery as Howland ships out of Westwood after this season.
Perhaps even more perplexing than Howland's hate for Parker is that Stanford has 9 wins at this point. All one has to do is look at the shooting percentages (34% for Stanford, 41% for UCLA) to see how unwatchable this became for long stretches. Stanford's decent defense showed they were able to bog down the Bruins offense, and UCLA's lack of defense was no match for the offensive ineptitude of the Cardinal, who had trouble handling simple passes and making point blank layups. Just another "marquee" Pac-12 tilt. Get ready folks. If this afternoon is any indication, there are many more ugly games to come.