Last night UCLA celebrated 50 years of Pauley in front of an announced crowd of 6193. All received Anniversary pins and Nan Wooden was honored. As far as the game itself there are three takeaways, none of them cut and dry.
1. Was UCLA good last night or CSUN bad in the 75-45 UCLA win?
Steve Alford said:
This was not a poorly played game, we out-rebounded them by six and in a 30-point game we only turned the ball over seven times. Really, the only thing I don't think we did a tremendous job of was getting to the free-throw line. We shot a really good percentage and I thought we really guarded. We had some breakdowns obviously, but we guarded a lot better. Obviously we needed a win, but winning a game ugly and not playing well is not what we want. We wanted to have growth and I thought we did that today. Now we have to have growth on Tuesday and Wednesday's practice.
Of course Thursday is the game against #1 Kentucky. Steve Alford and the Bruins need a good game to build some momentum. Steve thought they got that game but CSUN Coach former NBAer Reggie Theus disagreed:
When we shoot 29%, there's not a lot to talk about. The UCLA players played okay, but they didn't have to play hard because we weren't making any shots.
2. New Point Guard Same as the Old
The Intern has an insightful article on the point guard issue:
Up to that point, freshman Aaron Holiday and junior Bryce Alford had shared point-guard duties on the fly. It had led to confusion. No one seemed to know where to throw the outlet pass. Both had been slow to break out in transition.
So the three met to figure out how to eliminate the uncertainty. They decided Bryce Alford would start as the point guard in the Bruins' next game, Sunday against Cal State Northridge, and they'd "see how it went," Bryce Alford said.
It went well. With more focused roles, UCLA routed CSUN, 77-45, at Pauley Pavilion.
Bryce Alford had eight points and 10 assists. Holiday scored 13 points with four assists.
Bryce Alford shouldered some of the primary ball-handling duties for freshman guard Aaron Holiday, a move precipitated by a meeting a couple days earlier to try playing Holiday more off the ball.
"It's more so just distinguishing who," Bryce Alford said. "Who it is doesn't really matter. We just have to make sure it's one guy."
Personally I thought Aaron was playing more point up to this point. Aaron has a lot to learn and it has showed. I know some will question this move but right now I think Bryce is our best offensive point guard. It was a tribute to Bryce that he was looking to pass first some last night and had a nice 10 assists But again CSUN is not Kentucky.
Tony Parker who called out UCLA after the Wake Forest loss for a lack of toughness praised the team and Isaac Hamilton for being tough last night.
"Toughness is what it comes down to," he said then. "It's nothing coaches can change. It's something we've got to soul search. We've got to go home and soul search."
Parker seemed more pleased on that front on Sunday, even if toughness is hard to measure in a 32-point win. He praised guard Isaac Hamilton, who also had a strong offensive start with 12 points in the first half. The former McDonald's All-American hit four of six 3-point attempts to start the game. Parker, however, was more taken with his defense.
"When he brings his toughness, we all kind of rise to his level," he said of Hamilton. "We just need him to keep playing like he plays."
Tony was certainly tough playing a nice game despite not feeling the best and Isaac certainly says the right thing.
Senior forward Tony Parker, who was described as feeling "under the weather" by Alford, notched his fifth double-double this season, finishing with a team-high 14 points and corralling 11 rebounds.
. . . "It starts for me on the defensive end," Hamilton said.
3 of the next five games are against top ten opponents. It was nice to have a respite with a cupcake. Thursday against #1 Kentucky.