Just after the Bruins hit the 100 mark for the third time this season, the 49ers, getting careless with the ball, dribbled right into Bryce Alford who snatched it away. He threw the ball to Aaron Holiday who was breaking free ahead. Instead of taking the dunk himself, Holiday bounced the ball off the backboard to a trailing Lonzo Ball, who smashed the ball into the basket, and the light crowd at Pauley Pavilion had something to go nuts for in another early-season blowout victory over an overmatched opponent for the Bruins.
T.J. Leaf led all scorers with 21 points, and fellow freshman Ball had a double-double with 20 points and 11 assists, in a game where the Bruins shot 64.8% from the field—their best FG% of the first four games—and 12-20 from behind the arc.
The 49ers turned the ball over 23 times in this game, largely unforced errors on sloppy offense rather than suffocating defense from the Bruins—about midway through the second half, Long Beach State hit a patch where they seemed to turn the ball over on almost every possession, probably wondering how much longer they really needed to be there.
To my eye on one viewing it did seem that UCLA was better about not allowing easy baskets, perhaps its best defensive effort so far this season. Then again, Long Beach State was pretty eager to give the ball away at times, and their own miscues may have masked a poorer defensive effort.
Long Beach shot 46.6% percent from the field, but made 50% of their threes. The beyond the arc shooting keyed a mini run in the first half before the Bruins raced out to a 56-37 halftime lead.
There continues to be precious little to take away from these games before real competition appears, other than that these Bruins can score in a lot of different ways and especially in transition.
All five starters for UCLA scored in double figures, and Aaron Holiday came off the bench to add 16 points of his own. Alford has been using mostly a seven man rotation, with only GG and Holiday coming off the bench for meaningful playing time, presumedly until Ike Anigbogu and Prince Ali return from injury.
I jotted down a quote from Don MacLean during the broadcast, perhaps hastily paraphrased, "It’s the 4th game of the season and it feels like I’ve been saying the same thing every night."
This Bruin offense is fun to watch, and each game has provided enough Sportscenter-worthy highlights that editors are going to be leaving some pretty good ones on the cutting room floor.
To end, another hastily paraphrased quote from MacLean:
"I just hope it holds up against better competition."