The game meant nothing in the sense that UCLA has locked up the two seed in the conference and UW has locked up a medicore season. So what are the takeaways?
Good News. UCLA offense is looking good and key players are on a roll. UCLA arguably played 40 good minutes on offense. Bad news UCLA defense is looking offensive, at least for a half.
First on the good news. On the offense from Steve Alford:
"We did a much better job in the second half. I believe we had one turnover in the second half. To have one turnover in the last 20 minutes when you are playing on the road, that's some pretty good offense."
"It's what we want to do. We knew that it was going to be a game like this. We did not think that both teams would shoot 55 percent or better. So, it was probably a little too much offense and not enough defense out of either team. We thought it would be fast-paced. We thought it would be up-tempo. That's where we are most comfortable playing. We were getting some shots and then we got the right stops at the right time. Once we got it to three possessions, our guys did a really good job of keeping it there."
Jordan Adams is on fire right now. He was the star of Senior day and he was the star in Seattle.
Jordan Adams scored a career-high 31 points, fighting through apparent leg cramps in the second half, and UCLA wrapped up the No. 2 seed in next week's Pac-12 Conference tournament with a 91-82 win over Washington on Thursday night.
Adams scored 16 points in the first 12-plus minutes of the second half before having to sit with his legs appearing to cramp.
Adams was extremely efficient, making 11 of 15 shots and 8 of 9 free throw attempts. LaVine had just three points at halftime, but the Bothell, Wash., native, who nearly chose Washington over UCLA, came up huge in the closing minutes.
. . . Adams scored six points during a 2 1/2 minute stretch of the second half when UCLA put together its decisive run. His breakaway layup with 8:41 left gave the Bruins a 70-64 lead. Darin Johnson answered with a tough drive for Washington, but Tony Parker scored in the lane and Alford knocked down a 3-pointer for a 75-66 lead with 7:16 left, the biggest lead of the game for either team.
Adams' game at Washington was significant for his UCLA career for other reasons, he set a UCLA record and became the 50th Bruin to score 1000 points:
A little more than four minutes into the second half at Washington, Jordan Adams got his first steal of the night. His second came 32 seconds later.
That sequence during UCLA's 91-82 win gave the sophomore 83 steals on the season, good for the school's single-season steals record. Cameron Dollar set the previous record of 82 in 1997.
Adams reached another milestone earlier en route to a career-high 31 points, scoring seven of UCLA's first 11 points to reach 1,000 for his career. With a pair of free throws less than four minutes into the game, he became the 50th 1000-point scorer in school history.
Only six Bruins have ever reached the mark sooner than Adam's 62 games: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (36 games), Bill Walton (49), Don MacLean (52), Gail Goodrich (61), Tracy Murray (61) and Jason Kapono (61).
Congratulations Jordan. However, another player was the star and took over when Jordan Adams was sidelined with leg cramps. The last four minutes of the game made a nice homecoming for Zach LaVine:
Zach LaVine had 14 points in his homecoming, and shut the door on the Huskies by scoring 11 of those in the final five minutes of the game.
The freshman is finding his comfort zone again after slumping through most of the last six weeks or so. He even jawed back a bit at Washington fans who had taunted him all game long, earning a reprimand from head coach Steve Alford. A stint handling the ball during #SuspensionFest against Oregon seems to have tipped his confidence back up, and the resurgence of the Bruins bench.
Jack Wang who wrote the above may be onto something. While most are going to focus on the Oregon game and Bryce Alford proving that he is a legitimate PAC 12 two guard, Zach stepping up and showing some point guard chops were also important. Zach not just settling for three pointers or outside shots could be bigger long term. Zach's drive and one was particularly nice last night.
LaVine's closing punch included a three-point play off a Washington turnover with 1:24 left that gave the Bruins (23-7, 12-5 Pac-12) an 87-77 lead and finally put the Huskies away.
But more important than any one play it was the fact that when the hot player went down with cramps, Zach came in and UCLA did not lose a beat:
He[Adams] returned three minutes later to discover someone else had taken over the scoring business.
LaVine scored 11 of his 14 points in the last four minutes to finish off his first college game in Seattle, where he played at Bothwell High. Chants of "traitor, traitor, traitor," from the Washington student section greeted him.
"They are trying to get to me like I'm trying win the game," LaVine said. "I think it's hilarious. It's good they remembered me. I was having a little fun with it."
While the offense looked good, maybe too good as Steve Alford pointed out, the defense was, well not so good and ugly for a half and at times. A symbol was Tony Parker. Parker did not have a bad game in all aspects with 10 points and 4 rebounds in just 17 minutes but there was this sequence on defense:
Tony Parker fouled out for the fifth time this season, exiting the game with nearly four minutes left. His most egregious sequence came at around the 12-minute mark of the second half.
The 6-foot-9 forward attempted to close out on UW's Darin Johnson 3-pointer, but got to the right corner late to create a four-point opportunity. After Johnson missed the free throw, Desmond Simmons grabbed the rebound and drew another foul on Parker.
Those who think defense doesn't matter have to keep in mind it was the difference between a close game and UCLA winning in the second half:
The Huskies committed just four turnovers in the first half, but they had nine in the second half that resulted in 18 points. UCLA scored 23 from 13 UW turnovers.
"We tried to force some things," Romar said. "Some things that weren't there at times. We tried to shove it down their throats instead of being patient sometimes. Turnovers were definitely a catalyst to them getting going in the second half."
Congratulations again Jordan Adams. Keep in mind your defensive efforts and steal record may be more important than your points for this Bruin team.