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UCLA Basketball: Nicholls Game Thoughts -- An Unimpressive Blowout

The Bruins went on a dominating run mid-first half, but coasted afterwards. The second half score, UCLA 47, Nicholls 45, left a bad taste in the mouths of Bruin fans.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Which team is worse: Montana State or Nicholls? ArmyBruin75 said "Nicholls State was an insult to cupcakes." In the end, this was an unimpressive 33 point win against a bad team that managed to play even up with the Bruins in a second half that looked like an AAU game.

I commented in the post-game that coach SAlford seemed to let the game play out. I was dismayed at the even more than usual use of a three-bench-player-on-the-court-at-the-same-time rotation. Welsh, Allen, Bail and Golomon combined for 51 minutes, or 25.5% of the total. The rotations gave me the illusion (or perhaps it was trying to change diapers and write a post-game at the same time) that SAlford used the bench extensively, but many of you pointed out that I was wrong in the post-game. Bruinette88 said that wasn't the case and "Alford was falling back on the dreadful roster management."

Interestingly, the beat writers focused on Bryce Alford's style points. Jack Wang said:

The Bruins' sophomore point guard has started making an argument for Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year. As a freshman, there were times he looked like more of a two-guard, eventually finishing a season off the bench with averages of 8.0 points and 2.8 assists on 38.5-percent shooting.

Ryan Kartje added:

There were his four first-half 3-pointers, his smooth behind-the-back dish to fellow guard Isaac Hamilton for a corner 3 of his own, and his behind-the-back-and-through-the-legs move that shook off a defender - street-ball style - and ended in a Kevon Looney dunk. For a stretch, every possession was a chance to flaunt the fluidity of a UCLA offense he knows is in his hands this season.

The LA Times, at least, did recognize the poor defensive effort:

Defensively, though, the Bruins gave up more than 70 points for the third game in a row - partially due to the pace and a lopsided score. But they did surrender a run of seven three-pointers in the second half. UCLA outscored Nicholls State by only two points after the break.

I'll leave you with these takeaways:

  • Individually, the bench players are good pieces though still developing. After tonight, I don't know if SAlford will care about B4A compared to the conference season, but you can't have three bench players in together, and have Isaac Hamilton at the point together with them,
  • Bryce can shoot. He's 56% from 3. I hope that holds up against good defenders. His high assist-rate is impressive as well. That said I don't expect anything from him defensively.
  • This can still be a good defensive team. Hamilton, Powell and Looney are usually solid. SAlford has to pivot quickly from man to zone. Why continue the charade with MTM? Just win. (Note: of course MTM is preferable, Syracuse aside, if you can do it.)
  • Powell's stroke looked much better. I hope this is the Powell we will see against tougher competition.
  • Parker looked comfortable in the low post offensively. But again, can you really learn anything about Parker against Nicholls?