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News Roundup of UCLA Basketball's Win over 11th Place ASU

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UCLA beats a bad ASU team 78-65

Inside the paint Jonah Bolden is a beast and gives UCLA a true power forward
Inside the paint Jonah Bolden is a beast and gives UCLA a true power forward
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This news roundup is a bit different because when you are the tenth place team playing the eleventh place team, the fishwrap and the Orange County register don't even bother to send reporters.  They just use the AP story.  Inside UCLA's Jack Wang did cover the game and gives it a nice perspective:

The Bruins injected a bit of life into their tepid NCAA tournament hopes in Tempe, closing out a 78-65 win over Arizona State — one of just two teams sitting below them in the Pac-12 standings. After weathering some hot shooting early on, they held ASU to 31 percent from the field in the second half. With 86 seconds left, Steve Alford felt comfortable enough to empty his bench.

Talent disparity or not, UCLA (13-11, 5-7) showed a few encouraging signs. Most crucial was the play of sophomore Jonah Bolden, who led the Bruins with a career-high 16 points. That's no small feat, even considering his four-star pedigree. Heading into Valentine's Day, the 6-foot-10 forward had averaged just 3.5 points per game in conference play.

Perhaps sharing the floor with Tony Parker has helped. The senior center is by no means a perfect player, but he nonetheless commands a healthy share of defensive attention. And in the last couple of games, Alford has become more willing to play Bolden next to Parker, rather than subbing out Bolden for sophomore Gyorgy Goloman.

Bolden has responded, totaling 26 points through the weekend — nearly a quarter of his season total. At the Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday, he was also one rebound away from his second career double-double. Meanwhile, Parker poured in eight points in just 13 minutes off the bench.

Before the season I said Bolden was the absolute key to the season.  The x factor.  It is not just that Bolden did not get enough minutes, it is that he got minutes as a big guard and was content to shoot outside.  Sunday Bolden was driving to the hoop and shooting off the dribble.  Bolden is a very skilled four but he is not a stretch four nor is he a big guard.

Also as Walton said, GG is not ready at this level.  Alford needs to play Big-Big some just to keep Bolden, Welsh and Parker on the floor.  But to hear Alford talk after the game GG was the key to everything, including Bolden's play.

Beyond mid-season, we have had to change how we play because of injuries. I've said it before that I thought G.G. [Goloman] was going to be out for no more than six weeks, and it ended up being 13, 14 weeks. So, that's affected how we play. We don't like playing with two centers. We were somewhat forced into doing that. I thought our guys did as well as they could in that, especially in the non-league. But, we are trying to play a different way and they're doing a good job for us. That's what I couldn't be happier for them. It's not easy when you're about 20 some-odd games in, to change how you want to play. Our guys have really responded well to it.

No.  Bolden should have been a power not stretch four from day one not 20 some games into the season.

As far as the game itself, ASU is a bad team and UCLA had much more talent.

In the desert, Arizona State relied on raining down threes to keep pace for most of the game.

Once the well ran dry and the shots stopped falling, UCLA showed its dominance in the paint to pull away 78-65.

The Sun Devils (14-12, 4-9 Pac-12) kept pace in the first half, shooting a blistering 53.8 percent from three on 13 attempts. Not to be outdone, the Bruins put up 10 threes on 40 percent shooting.

While ASU shot 31 percent from the field in the second, UCLA remained hot. The Bruins took only eight threes and relied on getting the ball in the paint.

Alford was happy with the weekend and UCLA's play.  However he was still a bit catty about the Arizona game:

This was a great road trip for us. We played really well, really well for 70 of the 80 minutes, even in Tucson. Tonight, we did a much better job at the foul line. We didn't get out-shot at the foul line like we did down in Tucson. I thought that it was a really good road trip for us. We needed this win, and I'm proud of our guys.

Much better job at the foul line, lol.  I must admit though Alford has a point as Just SC faced the same thing:

The thing is the Arizona game would not be a problem if Alford had not taken 20+ games to realize that Bolden is our best power forward.