Based on the stat sheet posted to Twitter by former Bruin Kris Johnson, this game seems to have played out the way so many Bruin games played out last season. UCLA struggled out of the gate and ran out offense late. But, in some ways, this game was very different than the games from last season, even if the result was familiar.
In this game, UCLA Coach Steve Alford started a very different lineup. The Bruin starters were Lonzo Ball, Aaron Holiday, Isaac Hamilton, Ike Onigbogu, and TJ Leaf. That’s right, Bryce Alford did not start the game. That said, he still played 29 minutes and scored 18 points, all of which were from three-point land. He was 6 for 9 from behind the arc and 0 for 2 in front of it. Isaac Hamilton also scored 18 for the Bruins.
Lonzo Ball scored 8 points with 3 assists and 13 rebounds while going 3 for 13 from the field before fouling out. Meanwhile, Leaf went 2 for 7 with 4 points, 1 assist and 2 rebounds in nearly 27 minutes.
But, enough of the stats. Let’s look at the flow of the game. This is where things get familiar.
Melbourne United came out of the gate and went on a 10-4 run in the first five minutes. And, like so many games from last season, the game ended with the score very similar to the way it started.
That doesn’t mean that the Bruins didn’t fight for this one.
They posted 16 points in the final five minutes of the first quarter to take a 20-19 lead after the first period.
UCLA scored the first basket of the second quarter to make it 22-19, Bruins. That’s when Melbourne went on its biggest run of the game as they rattled off thirteen straight points to give United a 32-22 lead.
UCLA closed out the half with a 17-3 run of its own to give the Bruins a 3-point lead at the break.
As the third quarter started, the game stayed pretty close even though UCLA took its biggest lead of the game at 46-41.
Like so many games last year, UCLA didn’t have enough to hold off their opponent as the second half went on. United closed UCLA’s to just two points at the five minute mark of the third quarter and the score was 56-54, UCLA.
Melbourne then finished up the third quarter with a 14-4 run to retake the lead 68-60.
And, again, like so many games last season, UCLA was unable to mount a strong enough comeback at the end of the game. They were able to cut Melbourne’s lead to six in the first five minutes of the fourth and then to five during the final five minutes of the game.
Here are the complete stats, courtesy of former Bruin Kris Johnson:
UCLA’s third and final game of their Australian tour is Monday morning at 2 am PT when they face the Brisbane Bullets.
Thank goodness football season is only seven days away to keep our minds off basketball as much as possible.