UCLA started fast and basically held on for an 81-67 win over the height challenged Pepperdine.
The first half was a good one for UCLA. As we mentioned, Pepperdine is a good match up for us. They could not do anything inside and they are not good shooting outside. Our defense was holding them under 30% shooting til the under 12 timeout. UCLA went inside out. As a result of Pepperdine having to cheat and help on Tony and Thomas, the outside opened up nicely as well. At one point the score was UCLA 22 (Parker 8)- Pepperdine 7. Then Parker and later Bryce sat. This was key. It was 24-9 when Parker goes out at the under 12 timeout, 29-16 when Tony and Bryce came back. More importantly the momentum was killed. UCLA was not the same team the rest of the half and the game was more even.
A couple other first half notes. Aaron Holiday was very good in the first half. Scoring a team leading 14 points and 4 assists. However the most interesting player may have been Jonah Bolden. He was all over the place on D. He had 5 rebounds and 2 steals. But he also had 4 ugly shots, one he made. One of them was over his shoulder. Bolden was out of control on offense.
The second half was kind of ugly. Bryce Alford made four jumpers to take the lead out to 20 but then keep shooting and missed his next three. The game became AAU ball. Ali made a number of drives and the game looked like it belonged in the Wooden Center.
Brief player notes.
Tony Parker is UCLA's best player. Parker had his third double-double 15 points 15 rebounds. He seemed to have his hands on every potential rebound in the first half, not getting them all. However, this is a new Tony. Tony moves well now. It is great to see.
There was a stretch in the second half when Bryce Alford hit everything. Then he missed everything. However, for the first three fourths of the game Bryce and Tony were unstoppable on offense when they were in.
Isaac Hamilton had another bad game. Stats don't tell the story. His defense was terrible. He had some ugly turnovers.
Aaron Holiday had a perfect first half. Second he had some issues but a good game.
Thomas Welsh only played 18 minutes because of fouls. He looked good when he was in and had some nice catches of ugly passes.
The bench remained short despite this. Alex Olesinski only played 7 minutes. Prince Ali who had a number of nice drives which he drew fouls and played with good energy played only 12 minutes.
The last player of interest was Jonah Bolden. Bolden made things interesting. He at times flummoxed Pepperdine at the top of the 1-2—2 zone. He had two steals. On offense though, wow. The best thing that can be said is he only shot once in the second half. In the first half, he had a shot over his head and some ugly shots outside the flow of the offense. In a game he played 24 minutes and UCLA won by 14 he was even in the +/-. He is not just raw but out of control on offense.
So a win over a team that was a good match up for UCLA.
UNLV in Maui Monday.