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UCLA Basketball Avoids Losing Three Games in Battle for Atlantis

UCLA uses a 49 point first half to hold onto for a 88-76 win in the seventh place game in the battle for Atlantis

Isaac Hamilton had his best half as a Bruin with 16 points.
Isaac Hamilton had his best half as a Bruin with 16 points.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For those worried that UCLA basketball would not show up or go into a free fall after two losses, the worries were unfounded.  It helped that UAB is not that good. The first half, saw Isaac Hamilton single-handedly provide the difference by shooting 6-8 and scoring 16 points.  Even better signs in the first half were UCLA shot 17-19 from the free throw line and Thomas Welsh.   Welsh was 2 missed free throws short of perfect with jumpers and hook for 8 points in 8 minutes.  He added four rebounds on defense, two assists, and two blocks.

The second half seemed like a forgone conclusion.  Hamilton scored six quick points and UCLA held on to its lead with fluctuations.  The whistle happy refs kept calling fouls but in the second half UCLA did not hit as many free throws, needing some late makes to go 10-17 for the half which let UAB close to 10 with 3:30 left.  (UCLA had 11 more free throw makes for the game in a key difference.)

Takeaways are tough. I think Norman Powell (5-16 and four turnovers), Kevon Looney(3-7), and Bryce Alford(1-8) looked tired.  Isaac Hamilton and Thomas Welsh's play in the first half was encouraging.   At a couple points against the UAB zone we ran the offense through Goloman who seemingly has passed Bail in the rotation as Looney's backup.  UCLA, led by Bryce's 6 assists early in the game passed better with 19 assists as a team.

On the other hand Norman forced things and with Bryce out ( and Noah and Bail in together) the team looked shaky even against UAB.

A win that is better than a loss.  Unfortunately can't say that about other games today.

Fire away with your thoughts below.