Josh Smith was a beast. He was dominating in so many ways. He won the game for UCLA. On defense, he had two steals and three blocks in the first half. The complete box score is here. UCLA pulled out a 80-72 win that was too close for comfort for much of the game. Josh scored 26 points, had 18 FT attempts and fouled out two-thirds of the Coyotes' front court. I don't know what the +/- for Smith was for the game, but it had to be huge. He was great and did not even start.
Reeves Nelson was the normal Reeves double-double machine but he also had three nice outside shots, including shooting 2-2 from the beyond the arc. One of those was a big one when UCLA was down in the second half. As Nestor would say, not enough data points to conclude much yet, but he looked good in this game.
But the problem is that those two carried the team: 42 of the 80 points. The pair shot 11-22 from the field, 18-22 from the charity stripe, and 2-2 from downtown. The rest of the team was 10-31 from the field, 15-19 from the line, and 3-6 from downtown. The first stat is alarming. We shot under 33% without Reeves and Josh.
Also, Cal State San Bernardino shot 44% from the field. Most alarming was the fact they were 15-31 for two pointers and were beating our guys inside. Smith made some nice blocks and Reeves drew some charges but the interior defense otherwise looked weak. Clearly, the defense is a work in progress.
Of course this is the first game but there were reasons for concern beyond the defense.
LJ was the only other player to shoot 50%, but he had five fouls all in the second half. Lamb made a nice dunk in transition but was 0-5 otherwise. Powell did hit a three-pointer, had some nice passes but also had an air ball and looked a little wild. De'End Parker, on the other hand, looked lost and a bit out of control.
Then there was the Wears. First, Reeves' and Josh's playing time is not going to be threatened by these two. That said they both move well for being 6'10" on the offensive side of the ball. Travis scored 10 points in only 15 minutes. David had a nice three-pointer on a pass back on an in-bounds play and some nice dunks. You really can see how these two are better than Lane or Stover on offense from last year.
But the Coyotes' players did not have much problems with the Wears on defense. This is a major worry. If Division II inside players can score on the Wear twins, it makes you wonder.
Tydides wrote that it looks like we may need Reeves' outside shooting. I am not sure, but Reeves' outside shooting was the best new edition in this one game (well, maybe Smith's domination on defense). Smith and Nelson lived up to their billing for this game. I just hope everyone else can contribute so it is not just the Josh and Reeves show.