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UCLA 72 – Drexel 67: Bruins Look Unimpressive in Alford’s Debut

Recap of UCLA’s 72 - 67 sloppy, ugly and unimpressive victory over Drexel in Bruins’ season opener.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA officially started the Post-Ben Howland era with an unimpressive win against a cupcake opponent from Colonial Athletic Conference or something. The final score was 72 - 67as the Bruins had to hang on after fending off number of Drexel mini-runs in the second half.  Bruins looped sloppy, unimpressive and poorly coached in an ugly debut for Steve Alford in Westwood Here is the box score.

Bruins led by a score of 42-31 at the end of first half thanks to some spectacular play from freshman sensation (yeah, I am will go ahead and call him that) Zach LaVine. LaVine and Anderson thrived in a free-flowing offense scoring effortlessly as Bruins pushed the ball up court every chance they got.  Ok, LaVine air-balled a 3 and missed a dunk. But overall the kid had a pretty spectacular (official) debut, finishing the night with 14 points (making 3 out of his 5 3-point attempts).

But the game got close, ugly and embarrassing in the second half. Drexel made number of mini runs to close within 3 to 4 points early on. The Dragons kept torching Bruins' matador defense, but the Bruins answered every time the Dragons made a mini-run. Bruin defense in general looked slow - especially when we were in man-to-man. We were able to get stops when we were mostly playing 2-3 zone. Drexel actually closed within 1 with less than 2 mins left in the game, but the Bruins  answered right back. Bruins looked sloppy and poorly coached in the closing mins as we were trying to give the game away. But Drexel was just worse. Ugly stuff ... all around.

Bryce Alford was terrible - once again. He got around 20 mins of playing time and looked awful, taking dumb shots and scoring just 2 points.  So much for the cliché of "coaches' sons" being smart ball players, because there is nothing smart about Balford's game. It also made no sense why Alford decided to give his son the ball in closing mins with LaVine on the bench. Oh wait, it makes a lot of sense given the clusterf*ck that is UCLA basketball under Dan Chianti Guerrero.

I don't know why I stayed up so late to watch this to write this recap. Because this ranged somewhere from boring to embarrassing (even though Dan MacLean tried really hard shill for the coaching staff like he did during Howland's closing years). I had a little fun watching Anderson and LaVine, and I am happy for them. But there is noting I saw tonight that justifies spending time on the 405, and then shelling out $ to watch Dan Guerrero and Steve Alford's garbage inside Pauley under glass.