Coach Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins ran their PRN ("Post Reeves Nelson") record to 4-0 this evening with a controlled and comfortable win over UCI. The final score was 89-60 (box score) in favor of the good guys but the game except for first few minutes was never in any kind of doubt. The feel good blowout win enabled the Bruins to finally get to the .500 mark this season against D-1 programs (with an overall record of 6-5).
IMO the player of the game tonight was Norman Powell. The freshman who is living up to his hype thanks to the minutes he is finally getting in recent contests, completely changed the complexion of a lethargic contest when he stepped on to the court in first half. Bruins were somewhat lollygagging through the night when the freshman came in. All on sudden Powell energized the whole squad with his defense, athleticism and two three point bombs, spurring the Bruins to an 18-3 run.
Powell kept it going in second half with jump shots, end to end fast break, and dunks showing off his total skillset in front of the 100 something Bruins who showed up at the
Garbage Sports Arena (thanks Dan!). Great game for the freshman finishing with 19 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks, gaining huge confidence heading into the last OOC game of the season. Who knows may be it has something to do with that "number 4" jersey in Howland's program (crossing fingers). Who knows may be it has something to do with that "number 4" jersey in Howland's program (crossing fingers).
Besides Powell, Tyler Lamb put together a solid game for the Bruin squad finishing with 17 points, 3 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Lamb played a pretty smart and controlled game, taking good shots, looking good on couple of breaks, and a sound effort on the defensive end. Bruins also got good production out of David Wear (12 points and 9 boards) Joshua Smith (12 points and 7 boards) and Lazeric Jones (11 points and 6 assists).
As we talked a little bit in our game thread the Bruins as a team showed pretty decent team effort, hustling on both ends of the court. They held the Anteaters to below 40 percent (39.6) shooting and outrebounded them by a margin of 18 (39 to 21). I also thought our bigs in general had a nice game tonight, as they were consistently looking for passing out of double team.
Bruins kept getting clean looks all night, getting wide open shots around the perimeter and also having their way inside. As a team UCLA shot 54.1 percent from the floor, which wasn't too shabby given UCI coming into this game had held its opponents to 39 percent shooting from the floor. Bruins also minimized mistakes with 8 turnovers, while racking up 22 assists. FWIW the team certainly played together and more importantly looked like they enjoyed playing with each other.
Bruins have had put together couple of complete games in a row heading into the last OOC game of the season. If they can replicate this performance against Richmond and then follow it up with good wins in their first Pac-12 road trip this season, we can legitimately talk about regaining momentum this program lost in the first few games of this season. The wins in recent games will not matter much if the team doesn't live up the pre-season expectations and improve upon last year's tourney appearance.
Let's hope the Bruins can build on the streak. We will have lot more on this game tomorrow. For now you can chime in this post game thread with your quick takes. If you have extended reflections make sure to use the fanpost section. Fire away.