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UCLA Men's Hoops triumph over Rebels

UCLA Men's Hoops triumph over Rebels

Bryce Alford going full speed
Bryce Alford going full speed
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The big question going into tonight's game was how the Bruins would look against a bigger and better team. UNLV will be our first truly big test this season, and we've already failed our first quiz. I don't think there is any question UNLV is a better team than Monmouth.

Added to the increased pressure is the curious side note of having to face Stephen Zimmerman, the 7'  five star center who spurned UCLA to sign with the Runnin' Rebels. He came into the game almost averaging a double double; not bad for a true freshman.

1st Half

UCLA opened the game by turning the ball over which led to a bucket. The Rebels then applied pressure on the inbound pass and got another steal. One, foul, and two free throws later, and, they were up 4-0. The Bruins then fed Welsh in the post which led to our first bucket of the game. After UNLV did nothing on their end, we got the ball back, but Balford promptly turned the ball over again. Seagers was fouled on the way to the basket and went to the charity stripe, and made two. The Bruins moved the ball around, and Welsh picked up a loose ball and scored it. UNLV's Mcaw then scored for UNLV. 8-4 Rebels. Seagers scored again, and immediately UNLV applied pressure on the inbound pass. Bruins did nothing with their possession. The Rebel's fans could be heard clearly and loudly. Holiday scored next for the Bruins, making it a triple. UNLV answered with a 3 of their own by Zimmerman. UCLA fed a streaking  Parker, but it got swatted from behind. UNLV brought it back and then Cornish was fouled on a made shot. Missed free throw. 16-7 Rebels. Bruins turned it over and the Rebels took several shots before the Bruins finally corralled a rebound. UCLA gave the ball to Balford who sank it from 3 land. UNLV promptly turned it over and UCLA got nothing out of it. The rebel however moved the ball well and got two points out of Derrick Jones. Balford was fouled on our next possession, and he made 1 of 2 free throws. UCLA showed a 3/4 court press and UNLV turned it over. Holiday put up an airball. Another Hoiiday turnover led to a jump ball which UNLV got, but promptly turned over. The Bruins gave it to Balford who drove hard to the basket and scored on a scoop shot. Another UNLV turnover led to a another Welsh jump shot and basket. 18-15 Rebels. The Rebels rimmed a shot and it was UCLA ball and it rimmed out. UNLV took a 3 point shot that air balled but Zimmerman was there to rebound it and score it. UCLA's Prince Ali took it straight to the basket and scored. UNLV turned it over, and Balford made them pay with a drive to the basket, driving between defenders. 20-19 Rebels. UNLV did nothing with it, and Ali scored it. UNLV turned it over again, and Ali was fouled going to the basket. The Bruins reset and Balford went hard to the basket but got stripped of the ball. UNLV was called for traveling, turning it over for the 8th time. 20-21 Bruins. UCLA inbounded the ball and found another Rebel press. But it was Ali turning the ball over at the other end when he couldn't handle a Balford pass. The Rebels sent the ball into the post where Parker drew his 3rd foul and was sat down by Salford. UCLA got T'd up for some new rule change, when Bolden touched the ball out of bounds. Don't ask me. AFter the made free throw the Bruins stole the inbound pass and Ali streaked down court to make the lay up. The Rebel's Jones was then fouled going to the basket by Bolden. Bolden sat down. Jones made 2 of 2 free throws. Full court pressure made Ali turn the ball over. The rebs put up another rim shot. On the other end, Balford went to the basket but it was blocked then called goal tending. UNLV did nothing. Then the Bruins put up another shot which was also goal tended. Is that even a word? The Rebels put up a deep three and it bounced out. Olesinki was fouled on the rebound and made 2 of 2 free throws. A careless Rebel pass went out of bounds. UCLA inbound the ball and faced pressure again, but it led to a Rebel foul and Balford went to the line where he made 2 of 2 free throws. The Rebel's Nwamu drove hard to the basket and collided with Hamilton. Blocking foul on Hamilton. Nwamu missed free throw. I missed some action here. 22-31 Bruins. McCaw missed a three and UCLA's Welsh was stripped on the other end. Nwamu put up another three, and this one went in. The Bruins brought the ball up court and Balford drove to the basket drawing the foul. He would go 2 of 2 fron the charity stripe. The rebels brought the ball down court and took a couple shots but got nothing. UCLA brought it down and got one shot off, but no points. UNLV's Carter took it to the hole, and got fouled on the made shot. He added the free throw to make a 3 point play. The bruins Balford stumbled to the basket, got blocked, but UNLV's Nwamu got called for a travel. UCLA's Holiday took a tough shot and missed but Welsh put it back for the basket. UNLV brought it back an McCaw was fouled. He would make 1 of 2 free throws. UCLA's Ali drove to the basket and drew a blocking foul. Made both free throws. UNLV's McCaw had a nice move to the basket and scored with a scoop shot. The Bruins Welsh returned the favor on the other end of the court. UNLV's Morgan was fouled on his shot by Olesinski, sending him to the bench. Morgan would make 2 of 2 free throws. UCLA inbound the ball, and Ali went up hard for a dunk but got hung up. Luckily we kept the ball and Welsh would make a mid range jumper with it. 33-41 Bruins. UNLV's Morgan got an assist on the other end from McCaw and scored the final basket of the half. 35-41 Bruins.

2nd Half

The Bruins opened the second half with the ball, Holiday would slip and fall to the floor. Bryced picked up the ball and shot and missed. Parker drew a foul going for the rebound, and promptly returned to the bench. UNLV's McCaw drove and scored on a baseline shot. The Bruins moved the ball around and got it to Bolden who missed a deep three. On the other end UNLV's McCaw's shot went nowhere. The Bruins drove down court and Holiday's driving shot found the bottom of the net. UNLV's Nwamu made a three pointer on the other end. 40-43 Bruins. Welsh would score for the Bruins with a jump shot on the other end. The Rebel's Zimmerman scored on a good looking rebound and put back. The Bruins inbound and faced another full court press. In the half court, they turned the ball over, and the Rebels broke down court where Seaghers drew the foul on the layup. He made 2 of 2 free throws. Thomas Welsh would score for the Bruins on the other end. TV timeout. Bruins inbound and moved the ball up court and rimmed the ball. UNLV came back and did the same. UCLA's Holiday took the next shot and scored from 3pt range. 44-50 Bruins. Missed some action here. Aaron Hliday scored on a streaking drive to the basket. Okonoboh dunked on the other end with an assist from Seaghers. Thomas Welsh responded with a dunk of his own. 47-54 Bruins. Hamilton's pass flew through Olesinski's hands and it was Rebel's ball. Jones' shot was blocked by Welsh but picked up and scored by Morgan. UNLV picked Hamilton's pocket and it led to a Jones' 3pt bucket on the other end. 52-54 Bruins. Bruins took over and Balford took it to the basket; it was blocked and the Bruins reset. Holiday was fouled on his shot attempt. Bruins inbound and drove to the basket drawing another foul. Shot went nowhere. UNLV brought it back and Holiday picked a pocket giving it back to the Bruins. Half court set and Ali fed Hamilton with a beautiful pass which he scored. Morgan scored on the other end for the Rebels. Bruins next possession was a turnover by Hamilton. Zimmerman was fouled on the other end and went to the line. Making 1 of 2. 55-56 Bruins. Balford drew a foul on a heads  up play and went to the line where he made 2 of 2 from the line. UNLV was next, McCaw drove to the basket but dropped a dime on Carter who scored easily. The Bruins brought it back and took several shots but got nothing out of it. The Rebels McCaw slipped past the Bruin defense for a sweet scoop shot. The Rebels then applied full court pressure on the inbound pass, and Carter got the steal from Hamilton. He would feed McCaw for a wide open 3pt shot. 62-58 Rebels. The Bruins came back and did not manage much. UNLV picked up the pace before settling into a half court set but nothing came of it. Balford was fouled at the half court and sent to the line. He would make 2 of 2. UCLA stayed in a zone and allowed the Rebels to jog it up court. They got nothing, but the rebound by Parker sent the Bruins streaking down court where Balford would miss a layup that would be put back by Parker. Tie Game. UNLV's next possession ended when Cornish stepped on the baseline. Bruins brought it up under pressure where Alford and Bolden worked a beautiful give and go for an easy basket. The Rebels Seagher answered with a deep three to take the lead by one with 6:02 left. Bruins inbound the ball faced pressure. Ali lost it on the other end. UNLV got into it's half court set then turned the ball over. Bruins got their half court going only to have Balford brick a shot. The Rebels came back and got it to McCaw who went baseline to the basket but dropped it out of bounds. Bruins brought it up and promptly turned it over. 65-64 Rebels. Missed something. UCLA got the ball back and Hamilton dropped a 3 on the Rebels.The Rebels brought it back and Seagher took a shot that missed. 65-67 Bruins UCLA brought the ball up court and Balford took an ill advised 3 that clanked out. 1:47 remaining. UNLV got the ball and McCaw's mid range shot was contested. Ball went out of bounds and into UCLA's possession. Holiday was fouled bringing it up court. and went to the line. He made 2 of 2. 65-69 UCLA with 1:25 remaining. UNLV turned the ball over. UCLA gave the ball to Holiday who drove to the basket and got fouled going in. He would make 2 of 2 free throws. The rebels shot went wide but was tipped back in by Carter. Zimmerman was fouled and went to the line where he missed the front end of a 1 and 1. The Rebels got the ball back and missed their next shot. Welsh got the rebound and was quickly fouled. 67-71 Bruins :34 remaining. Welsh at the free throw line where he made  2 of 2. UNLV brought the ball up and Seaghers took it hard to the basket for a score. 69-73 Bruins. :24 left. The Bruins brought it in under pressure. Bruins went over the top and found a streaking Hamilton going hard to the basket and he misses the dunk! luckily got the rebound and Holiday was fouled. He made 2 of 2. UNLV took and made a 3 point shot by McCaw. Bruins faced pressure again and Holiday was fouled. He made 2 of 2. 72-77 Bruins :05.8 remaining. UNLV inbound and quickly moved the ball up court under little pressure allowing McCaw to put up a wide open 3. 75-77 Bruins. And, that would be your final score.

Wrap Up

Free throws aren't free. But we sure made them look that way. We would go 23 of 24 from the charity stripe. I was very impressed by that. Holiday led that charge by going 8 of 8, while Balford went a very respectable 9 of 10. So, good job there. Welsh and Alford led the team with 20 points each. But it was Welsh that was the player of the game with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks.

On the whole, it was a very sloppy game with both teams combining for 35 turnovers. The Bruins had 19. We are going to have to improve that moving forward.

Defensively we are not very intimidating. We stuck to a Zone defense throughout, and while we did manage 8 steals, the Rebels gave us another 8 turnovers all by themselves. We did manage 37 rebounds, but I can't help but think that also had to do with the abundance of bricks the Rebels put up.

Offensively there doesn't seem to be a lot of cohesion or team play. We seemed to be at our most effective when relying on individuals free lancing and getting their own shots off, rather than working together. Right off the top of my head, I recall two plays; the give and go by Balford and Bolden and the Ali to Hamilton pass where players worked together make the opening.

Those are my impressions and to be taken with a grain of salt. It's trickier typing while watching basketball than it is writing up football.

What were your impressions?