Oregon State gets so little respect that the fishwrap and the Orange County Register did not even bother to send reporters. Oregon State, while lacking in talent, definitely has a coach to watch. His game plan give UCLA offense fits for parts of the game:
With a number of NBA scouts in attendance and Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey sitting courtside, the Oregon State defense held UCLA to a season-low 44.1 percent shooting from the field (26 of 59). The stated defensive goal was to take away the three-point line, where the Bruins connected on 9 of 25 shots (36 percent).
The percentages were notable for the fact that UCLA had the most efficient offense and highest effective field goal percentage in the country, according to KenPom. The team scored 97 points or more eight times and shot worse than 50 percent only three.
Playing its customary matchup zone defense, OSU often forced the Bruins into contested jump shots in the first half and only put an opponent on the free throw line one time. Isaac Hamiton, who torched the Beavers in Corvallis last season, went 0 of 10 from the field.
The Daily Bruin does a good job on this one, noting the key points. On Offense, the Beavers tested UCLA's patience:
The Beavers whittled down the shot clock, averaging 21 seconds per possession.
As TJ Leaf said:
I think a lot of it was mentality. We really have to be more engaged defensively and that's something we are starting to learn through the coaches telling us and film showing us how disengaged we are sometimes. We have to stay in a stance and just stay engaged and we will be fine.
At the end of the day TJ Leaf and Lonzo Ball were just way too good for Oregon:
Lonzo Ball scored a career-high 23 points and TJ Leaf had a double-double, totaling 21 points and 10 rebounds, to lead No. 2 UCLA past Oregon State, 76-63, on Friday night at Gill Coliseum.
Ball made 7 of 14 shots, including four 3-pointers, logging at least 20 points for the second time this season. Ball also added seven assists and six rebounds. Leaf tallied his sixth double-double of the season and his sixth 20-point performance.
It was good that the freshmen were so good, because the seniors were off. It is now time to worry about Isaac Hamilton's play:
Senior guard Bryce Alford finished with 12 points, but airballed two of his five attempts from long range. The guard at times had trouble taking care of the ball, finishing with four of the team's 10 turnovers.
Isaac Hamilton shot 0-for-10 from the field in Friday's win after making just 1-of-6 in Wednesday's loss.
The senior guard passed up multiple open shots in the second half, leaving a frustrated coach Steve Alford to yell at him to shoot the ball.
In fairness, Bryce did put out better defensive effort. While Isaac had a few shots barely rim out, you can definitely see his confidence issues.
One thing is for sure. We need to enjoy Ball while we have him. As this article states:
Ball is well within the lottery on multiple Draft-centered websites. DraftExpress.com has Ball going fourth overall in its most recent mock 2017 NBA Draft, and the website has Ball ranked fourth among its top 100 Draft-eligible prospects. NBADraft.net has Ball as its choice to be taken with the first overall pick in its most recent mock draft, and Aran Smith ranks Ball fourth on his list of the top 100 Draft-eligible prospects. And Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks Ball second on his list of the top 100 Draft-eligible prospects.
Ball again took over the game. While UCLA won't be number 2 anymore, they are still the team to beat in the Pac-12 and one of the top in the country.