The Bruins returned home, fresh off a victory in the Wooden Legacy, and did what good teams do: beat a bad UC Riverside team handily.
And that’s about as much as I care to write about the game in this section. Seriously, not much happened in this game, and I’m writing this whole thing early in the second half.
Maybe I should ask what you guys want to talk about. Do you want to talk about that new Pokemon game? It’s pretty good! I actually really liked a ton of the new Pokemon designs, and the removal of HMs is a welcome addition to the franchise.
Or maybe you want to talk about NBC’s #1 new drama, Timeless? I don’t personally watch it, but maybe you do! I assume a lot of people really like watching Abigail Spencer and friends fix history like a weird Peabody and Sherman.
You know what, here’s some madlibs that you can just fill in as you want:
Lonzo Ball was ____________ tonight, while Isaac Hamilton looked ____________ while shooting from the field. Bryce Alford had a ____________ showing, while the inside duo of Thomas Welsh and TJ Leaf performed ____________.
There, that should cover it. On to Kentucky.
Isaac Hamilton led the way with 27 points for the Bruins, while Lonzo Ball set a Pac 12 single-game record for assists by a freshman with 13 in a team-leading 36 minutes. Thomas Welsh led the team in rebounds on his way to a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) while TJ Leaf also recorded a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds). Secean Johnson led the Highlanders with 17 points.
1. Player of the Game: Isaac Hamilton - Well, when you score 27 points an go 7-12 from beyond the arc, you had pretty good game. Now, the obvious caveat is that most of those looks were open shots, but you still have to make them, and boy did Hamilton make them. Going into the Kentucky game on Saturday, Isaac looks to be locked in, which is important against a young Wildcats team.
2. Thomas Welsh emerges - Last year against Kentucky, Thomas Welsh led the way with 21 points on 8-11 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds, as the Bruins pulled off the upset over the then-#1 Wildcats. So it’s really encouraging to see Welsh rounding into form heading into that matchup again. Welsh was 6-6 from the field for 12 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Welsh hasn’t looked as good this year, which the Bruins have been able to weather thanks to the emergence of TJ Leaf, but when he’s on Welsh is an absolute weapon, and adds a completely new facet to an already-formidable UCLA offense.
3. Offensive rebounds again an issue - The Bruins outrebounded their opponents, heavily, as you would expect when you make all your shots and the opponent misses all theirs, but to again lose the offensive rebound battle, and to give up 12 offensive rebounds in general to a bad UC Riverside team, remains a troubling trend. You can forgive it in a game where the Bruin defense looked much-improved, but the Bruins are going to have to limit 2nd chance opportunities on Saturday.
The Bruins next play on Saturday, the big game against #1 Kentucky. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 AM PST.