One of the reasons I personally think Jim Mora is a very good coach is he usually adjusts in the second half. Sometimes players don't play smart or fall into bad rhythms as Duke did when they gave up even trying to go inside and settled for threes against UCLA's zone. In the second half they went inside out and it was a new game. From the UCLA perspective here is a good brief summary:
UCLA hung with Duke in the first half, but couldn't keep up with the athletic Blue Devils in the second half. It happened last time the Bruins played a good team, too.
As Coach K said:
"We did a good job hitting Amile (Jefferson) in the middle of the zone, and he became the toss-back guy," Krzyzewski said. "He got the ball right back to guys, and they got rhythm shots."
Here is another brief summary of the first half:
HALF: Duke 37, UCLA 37: At the break, Duke and UCLA are tied in a fast-paced affair. Duke's Jabari Parker leads all scorers with 11 points.
With UCLA playing a lot of zone, Duke is settling for a lot of threes. They have attempted 19 threes and only 15 twos in the rest 20 minutes.
UCLA is playing a very clean game with just two personal fouls and just five turnovers. Guard Kyle Anderson has 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals at the break.
But the Bruins could not maintain it.
The Bruins (9-2) took control of the game's rhythm toward the end of the first half, and entered the break tied at 37. They never truly rediscovered that groove. Following a 5-of-8 showing from beyond the arc through the first 20 minutes, they shot 3-of-15 the rest of the way.
In addition to Dickie V. and the ESPN crew a lot of Scouts were at the game:
There were 45 NBA scouts on hand here at the Garden Thursday night - and yes, there are only 30 NBA teams - because there were multiple potential lottery picks putting on a show.
How did the potential Bruin draftees do?
UCLA point guard Kyle Anderson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in front of his hometown crowd, while leading scorer Jordan Adams had just 10 points. Freshman guard Zach LaVine had the worst game of his young career, finishing with seven points and missing five of his six 3-point attempts.
I guess the "good news" is Zach's play last night which included a missed dunk will cool some of the draft talk for a bit. Zach missed some shots but he was also forcing things too much. He looked like a raw freshman on offense for the first time this year.
Kyle had a mixed bag game. At times he looked great but he did have 6 turnovers many that were costly.
"Quinn Cook did a good job of pressuring the ball. That 94 feet of pressure is tough," said Anderson, who had six turnovers. "They didn't let us execute our offense. Duke's signature is the pressure defense, That's what they want to do, and we fell into it."
Just like Missouri in the second half UCLA struggled passing and rebounding. UCLA was out rebounded 41 to 33 (Remember Duke is a bad rebounding team this season) and had only 12 assists to Duke's 21.
One last add is David Wear had 16 points on 4-4 from three point land.
I will let a national and local press guy have the last words on the Bruins as I mostly agree with both. Wang points out there is talent on the team:
Now 11 games into their first season under coach Steve Alford, UCLA has rolled over subpar opponents while falling short late against big-name programs. The team is promising: it can put up points, and it can do so at the breakneck pace promised before the season. But it also lacks fortitude on defense and on the boards, and has yet to prove late-game resolve.
UCLA, on the other hand, remains a bit of a question mark. The Bruins' non-conference schedule was weak - over 300 teams played tougher opponents, according to KenPom.com. LaVine struggled with his shooting, Anderson lost the ball a few times and Adams didn't impact the game like he has been lately. The jury is out on these Bruins, at least until a few conference games are in the books.
And close with the bottom line:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>UCLA has been outscored by a combined 34 points in second halves against Duke and Missouri.</p>— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) <a href="https://twitter.com/jeffborzello/statuses/413856448062316544">December 20, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Alford has the tools, but so far he has failed to take advantage of them against good teams. Go Bruins.