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UCLA Basketball: Bruins Coast to Easy Win Over Cupcake

The Bruins beat Cal State Fullerton, 73-45 while Bill Walton made his first appearance at Pauley this season. Norman Powell led all scorers, but the big men, Parker and Looney excel inside early on. No hockey-line substitutions tonight's game -- is that the last we've seen of that type of rotation?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Walton was back behind the mike at a sparse Pauley Pavilion as the Bruins rolled to an easy 73-45 win over Cal State Fullerton.

Walton had partner Ted Robinson doing a double-take right off the bat:

  • CSUF and UCLA are similar teams with similar styles.
  • Great things are on the horizon for the program
  • CSUF Coach Dedrique Taylor makes him "believe in evolution."
  • They finally fixed the 405 (talking mostly about Wilshire off-ramp). (Actually, 7 years of work didn't accomplish much although there are several nice ramps now.)

On the court, the Bruins came out with energy. In the first five plays:

  • Tony Parker scored on the first possession.
  • The Bruins got a shot clock violation on CSUF.
  • Isaac Hamilton fed a posting Norman for a basket.
  • Bryce Alford found a wide open Kevon Looney twice underneath.

The Bruins were up 7-2 at 17:30 and 9-2 at the 16:00 TV timeout.  Looney had 6 points and 2 rebounds.

Of note, Thomas Welsh was the first sub into the game at 14:28 for Parker although Parker was 3-3 for 6 points and 2 rebounds. The Bruins immediately went into a ¾ zone trap but fell back into man-to-man which they would play for most of the half.

Golomon went in for Looney at 13:03 and the Bruins were up 18-5. Noah Allen finally came in at 10:42 with Kevon Looney for Norman Powell and Hamilton. At the eight minute TV timeout, the Bruins were up 20-13 having only scored two points in four minutes Steve Alford cycled through the bench.

The starters mostly came back, and the Bruins went up 33-18 at the 3:28 mark when Wannah Bail came into the game.  He only played 2 minutes as the UCLA offense one again stalled.

At the half, UCLA was up 40-23. The Bruins seem to be looking to get the ball inside, and shot 50% due mainly to good post play.  Parker was 6-7 for 12 points (including a baby hook from about 7 feet out) and 5 rebounds (side note: I didn't see him pass once), Powell had 11 points and Looney had 10 points and 7 rebounds.  In a little bit of good news, Looney was 4-4 from the line.

At the opening of the second half, Tony Parker went to the bench limping, and the Bruin offense once again stalled, 46-31 at 15:46. The early first half intensity was gone by this point, and the turnovers started to creep up. Fortunately, Parker was not injured and came back at 13:30.

Golomon went in for Looney, and got time with the other starters. The Bruins went into a zone, Parker got a block and a steal and the Bruins outscored CSUF 24-13 to lead 62-39 at the 8 minute TV timeout.  Hamilton had a nice baseline fade away from 12 feet, but Golomon bricked 2 more FT's going 0-4 -- all hard off the back of the rim as UCLA shot a meager  55% from the line at that point (though, refreshingly, the refs did not call many fouls -- Parker did pick up his fourth at 6:09).

The Bruins would only score 11 points the rest of the way clearing the bench with 2:06 left.

My takeaways:

  • There was no hockey-line shift this game (no more than 2 subs at a time). Welsh got in first and played 15 minutes, Golomon got in second and had 12 minutes, Allen had 11 minutes and Bail 7. Bail only had 2 minutes in the first half, and got his last 5 after the Bruins already had their final run. There were only 4 bench points (from those four) with 10 rebounds (4 each for Bail and Welsh).
  • Hard to believe the Bruins only scored 73 points against CSUF. They surpassed by 25 point minimum margin of victory for a cupcake, but once again, the intensity dropped off sharply in the second half. The Bruins had a low-ish number of possessions, 74, and a high-ish average time of possession, 15. Also, Alford and Hamilton were low-key tonight 14 and 12 points respectively. Norman Powell led all scorers with 18.
  • Though Powell ultimately had 18 points, there were 26 points in the paint, and UCLA seemed to push it inside more than usual with the game still being seriously contested.
  • Utah beats #8 Wichita St., 69-68. Utah was without Jordan Loveridge, but 7'0" freshman center from Austria Jakob Poeltl has 12 points and 11 rebounds (I've been saying he was an unknown prior to the season).