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UCLA Almost Loses Again When They Forget Welsh and Parker

UCLA loses another second half lead but this time comes back

Thomas Welsh is the king of the baseline jumper
Thomas Welsh is the king of the baseline jumper
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA won 88-83 on the strength of Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker. UCLA won despite trailing in the second half when they forgot about this strength.

The first half answered the question on who would play point, Bryce or Aaron?  Answer: Isaac.  It was surreal but Isaac did well.  Bryce, Aaron and Isaac finished the half with 14 assists 4 turnovers.   But this is the twin tower team.  Parker had a double double at half with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  On the other side was Thomas Welsh who went 5-6 from the field.

Jonah Bolden made his debut.  He did a little of everything.   A couple nice rebounds, a pick and pop three, an ugly turnover, and Cal Poly went at him on D.

But really the offense was good.  The defense.  YIKES.  At one point the defensive minded slow Cal Poly was scoring quickly by having their guards push it in transition and work it around for open threes.  Our transition D got a bit better but our guards were horrid on D.

In second half , UCLA was up double digits in the second half and Tony Parker went out with his third foul.  Cal Poly went out to a 9-0 run.  When Parker came back in, UCLA was out of sync on offense and Cal Poly went ahead.  During this run Bryce made some ugly turnovers and everyone just looked off.   And UCLA went away from Welsh and Parker when Cal Poly eventually took the lead.

The big story remained the awful perimeter D was so bad that at one point Cal Poly was 11-19 from three.  Maybe UCLA perimeter D improved but I am not sure. Cal Poly went 2-8 the rest of the way.

What was definite was UCLA started going back to Parker and Welsh.  Parker drew fouls but did not make the free throws.  Welsh though, hit a bunch of clutch short Js finishing with 22 points on 10-12 shooting.  He was looking a lot like Don MacLean with the baseline jumper (h/t free90).

In the end UCLA held on and  at times it was fun to watch Thomas and Tony on offense.  The D though was awful at times.  Cal Poly is not exactly a great offense team either.

I conclude with the answers to my pregame questions.

1.  Bench.  Steve Alford mostly ignored his bench.  Bryce did not sit in the second half and Isaac only sat after his third foul.  There may be good reason for this because the bench was Alex Olesinski -2, Ali -5 and Bolden -13.

2.  Bolden.  Bolden was the bench in the second half.  He played three and four.  He hit 2 threes.  He gave something for everyone.  Optimist he hit threes and had some nice moments.  Pessimist, he is very raw and was an awful -13 when he was in.  Not a big guard but a raw athletic stretch four.  Needs a lot of work.

3.  Will UCLA look inside?   UCLA forgot Parker and Welsh at their peril.  When Parker went out Welsh was ignored and Cal Poly went on a run.  Late in the game UCLA came back when they went to Parker who drew fouls and Welsh who hit a number of clutch jumpers for a career high.

Go Bruins.