This afternoon's game in Tuscaloosa was a rough one to watch or to follow along with, no matter which team you like. While it is easy to say that there are really no winners in a game like this one, there was in fact a winning team, which was not the Bruins. Despite Alabama's best efforts to give Alford and the Bruins a late Christmas gift late today, the home team prevailed over UCLA, 56-50.
UCLA's offense started out much like last weekend's game v. Kentucky - and without a late 'burst' of a couple baskets towards the end of the 1st half, the scoreline again would have looked something like you would expect of a Noel Mazzone offense against an SEC defense - just with even more headscratching playcalls and substitution patterns on Steve's part. Even today's ESPNU announcing crew couldn't stop themselves from wondering what the heck was going on with UCLA today.
UCLA went 5-27 from the field in the 1st half, with the Crimson Tide's inability to do much on offense - outside of Ricky Tarrant's 15 points - saving the Bruins from the prospect of playing out yet another second half for nothing but
padding Bryce's stat line pride. The Bruins were lucky that Alabama went to the locker room only ahead up 29-17, giving the team the opportunity to nearly pull off the comeback against the #75 team in the nation per Ken Pomeroy.
The Bruin bigs found themselves in foul trouble in the 2nd half, with Kevon Looney fouling out in the final few minutes and Tony Parker in trouble through much of the game without much experienced support available off the bench. Unfortunately the backcourt wasn't much help - Bryce Alford again used the 2nd half to put 16 points on the stat sheet that didn't seem that meaningful during the game (3-13 from the field, 2-9 behind the arc), Issac Hamilton logged 7 turnovers and Bama 2-guard Tarrant finished with 24 points.
Overall, the Bruins shot 31% from the field (16-52), 26% (5-19) from 3-point range, turned the ball over 18 times and last held the lead in the first 2 minutes of the game, 3-2. This was the last game of UCLA's non-conference schedule. The Bruins open Pac-12 play on Friday evening at Colorado.