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UCLA Basketball Roundup: The Bruins Just Couldn’t Score

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UCLA couldn’t even make a free throw against Colorado.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at UCLA
Welsh was great, the rest of the Bruins, were awful.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins Nation post-game guru and GG fanclub president Dimitri apologized to me for stealing the best picture for his post-game recap. That picture pretty much sums up the game, but let me try to put some words to it from Steve Alford:

That’s probably as disappointing as we’ve played all year. Our effort was poor, we were flat. Outside of Tom [Welsh] we really just didn’t have much as far as a good concentrated effort. I take responsibility for that. It’s our job as coaches to make sure we are ready to play. And it’s not just that we weren’t ready to play, we had low energy and low effort. That’s hard to watch.

Hard to watch was right. Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News points out how horrid our offense was.

UCLA missed its first seven shots from distance, not knocking down a 3-pointer until the 2:46 mark of the first half, and missed 10 free throws. Forward Alex Olesinski and guard Chris Smith combined for a 0 for 5 night from the stripe.

And, Hanson Wang of the Daily Bruins writes that it was not just the four position that stunk up Pauley:

The Bruins were also unable to rev up their transition attack, only registering six fast break points the entire game. Alford’s six-guard rotation combined to shoot 11-of-45 from the floor, and as a team, UCLA had 13 assists and 10 turnovers.

Holiday, who played at least 40 minutes for the fifth time this season, recorded a time-high six turnovers.

Personally, I think there is some cause and effect to Holiday’s play. Ask him to play 40 minutes every night and the press is not productive. More on that tomorrow or Tuesday. From the Colorado perspective, Pat Rooney of the Buffzone.com writes:

It was the Buffs’ first victory in a true road game this season, and it erased the team’s 0-8 all-time mark at Pauley Pavilion.

The Buffs dominated the first half, taking a 17-point lead on King’s third 3-pointer of the opening frame with a little more than three minutes remaining. UCLA answered with nine consecutive points, but two free throws from Namon Wright gave CU a 39-29 lead at the break.

UCLA scored the first four points of the second half to get within six, but CU responded with six consecutive points to maintain control. When Bruins senior Thomas Welsh single-handedly rallied UCLA by scoring all the points in a 10-0 run, the Buffs answered with seven consecutive points. That burst included King’s sixth 3-pointer of the game, which established a new career-high.

The Bruins entered the game averaging 85.5 points with a 91.8 mark in their first five Pac-12 games. But by mixing defenses and utilizing a frontcourt trap that frustrated UCLA leading scorer Aaron Holiday, the Buffs were able to hold UCLA to a season-low scoring total. Holiday was shooting .528 in league games but went 4-for-13 while scoring just 10 points.

Ben Bolch of the LA Times noted that Welsh was great.

Welsh’s personal 10-0 run included a jumper, a jump hook and two three-pointers, the second of which pulled the Bruins to within 55-51 with 5:14 left. But Colorado responded with a 7-0 run that put the Buffaloes (11-7, 3-3) well on the way to their first road victory of the season after an 0-5 start.

“We had spurts like that where we were getting stops and cutting their lead down,” Welsh said, “but we didn’t sustain it long enough.”

The Bruins’ runs were keyed by defense, but Thuc Nhi Nguyen’s article really discusses just how awful the offense was.

At times, the Bruins were superb on defense. They forced three shot-clock violations. They held the Buffaloes scoreless for a nearly five-minute stretch in the second half, but only got to within seven points during the defensive stand and gave up 11 total 3-pointers, led by six from George King, who led Colorado with 26 points.

“We just couldn’t score,” Alford said.

That sums it up for now. More analysis later.

Go Bruins!