It’s a good thing the Bruins left room for seconds — second halves — that is, because this game was really a tale of two different halves.
Throughout much of the first half, the game was close.
In fact, for the first 19:52 of the first half, the biggest lead was seven points. It came after Thomas Welsh hit a jumper off a pass from Lonzo Ball to make the score 18-11 UCLA with 12:36 to go in the half. That seven-point lead lasted only 16 seconds before it was cut to four when Jarrel Marshall hit a three that started an 16-8 run for Portland and which would give the Pilots a 27-26 lead with a little more than eight minutes to play in the first half.
On the next play, Aaron Holiday would make a three-pointer to give UCLA a 29-27 edge and the Bruins would never relinquish the lead again. That shot started a 19-10 Bruin run to end the first half and the teams went into the locker room with the score UCLA 45, Portland 37.
After the break, the Bruins came out ready to play ball and have Ball play. Lonzo got UCLA going early with a three-pointer which was followed by another three-pointer from Isaac Hamilton to give the Bruins a fourteen-point lead.
UCLA would eventually lead by as many as 31.
That isn’t to say UCLA played a flawless second half. For the Bruins, despite shooting over 60% from the field in the second half, they were still stymied at times by the Portland defense and had several extended scoreless possessions in the second half.
Portland’s Jazz Johnson led all scorers with 25 while Lonzo Ball led the Bruins with 18. Ball also recorded a double-double by notching 11 assists. Thomas Welsh also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Overall, every Bruin starter plus Aaron Holiday were all in double figures in points.
The Bruins now move on to play Nebraska tomorrow night at 9pm PT/Midnight ET in the Wooden Legacy Semi-final.