We are half way through January. Yet Dan Chianti Guerrero's $18 million head coach still hasn't registered a single quality win in his first season in Westwood. Steve Alford once again got outcoached in a game that mattered as the Bruins lose to Utah Utes in Salt Lake City. The final score was 69-74. Here is the box score.
Bruins were coming off meaningless wins against a wounded Colorado team at Boulder and an NIT caliber Arizona State team at Pauley. They took on a inspired Utah team (14-4, 3-3), which is most likely headed towards the NIT but is a well-coach bunch under Larry Krystkowiak.
The first half was our worst half of the year, and that's saying something because this team has played a lot of ugly basketball whenever it has taken on a decent team (we have had 3 of those games all season). Bruins looked listless and completely lost on both ends of the court. They only scored 26 points and were down by 10 at the half. Without Kyle's 3 for 3 from 3 (and 13 points), well you do the math. The rest of the team only scored 13 points. Kyle finished the game with a career high 28 points.
The half started of slow (boring) and then became sloppy. Bad shot selection, bad decisions, and high school type turnovers (walking on the base line) made the Bruins look like the worst team in the PAC-12. With the Bruins up 18-15, the Utes went on a run with 15 unanswered points, missing 11 straight shots. All together the Bruins shot only 31% and had 9 turnovers to the Ute's 48% and 7 turnovers. To answer the question: was this the lowest scoring first half this year:
To make matters worse Steve Alford decided to go with his son during key stretches in first half when the Utes took control of the game on both ends of the court. Bryce Alford looked like the walk-on caliber player that he is, putting up selfish shots and making no effort on defense. Yet his Dad stuck with him and kept UCLA's most talented athlete Norman Powell on the bench (giving more datapoints for opposing coaches and high school point-guard recruits re. why they should stay away from Guerrero's tainted program in next 3 years). Balford finished the road-trip (not just this game) with 0 points (and yet his Dad kept him on the floor for closing mins.
As mentioned above while Utah played inspired they don't have the same talent as the Bruins. So it wasn't a surprise when the Bruins made a brief run in second half to close the gap in the second half - within 2 points in the closing minute. But not surprisingly the poorly coached and undisciplined Bruins didn't get it done in closing mins as Utes pulled away for the win.
There is not much to look forward to if you care about UCLA. Maybe we will limp into the tourney because Pac-12 is so mediocre. But there is nothing we have seen in these first few weeks that lead us to think that this program is headed in the right direction. They look just like the teams that we saw under the other Steve - playing disorganized, jungle ball.
And with Kyle Anderson heading to the pros
NBA development league after this season, it is going to be more of all Balford all the time for next three years.
This is your post game thread.