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The Australian Holiday Ends Well, UCLA Basketball 94-91

Aaron Holiday dominates at times for a nice UCLA win.

Holiday gives UCLA a nice Holiday trip.
Holiday gives UCLA a nice Holiday trip.
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Welsh, Isaac Hamilton, Bryce Alford, Lonzo Ball and Alex Olesinski started the game. Welsh started well with a nice pass and his specialty mid range jumper. Isaac, Bryce and Alex all hit threes. Ball got beat early and often on defense but had some steals in transition and a nice athletic tip in. Ike Anigbou was fun to watch. He hustled all over the place and had a number of offensive boards but was out of position on D.

Which kind of summed up the quarter, except for TJ Leaf who was gunning too much, UCLA looked good on offense and not so good on defense. Scoring 26 in a 10 minute quarter is good, giving up 29 is awful. Brisbane shot 66%. Ball was torched on offense. Brisbane would screen high with a big who would go low. Ball got beat almost every time by a big on a switch.

The second quarter on defense was similar to the first. Ball kept getting torched. We had some problems on the defensive boards. Brisbane led by double digits. But one guy turned the game around. Aaron Holiday was sensational making steals, blocking shots, and attacking on offense. Holiday seemed angry but in a series of about two minutes made it tough for Brisbane's point guard to get the ball up the court. Bryce hit a buzzer three and at half UCLA down 51-49. Brisbane shot 53% for the half mostly on 2s (only shot 3 threes). UCLA shot 45%. UCLA 10 offense rebounds.

Ike Anigbou dominated the offense glass. Ike has very good hand. But struggled on defense. He often let his man post too low. He also was not ready on help defense. Leaf has great handles and led the break with an alley-oop to Ball. Leaf and Ball seem to have a connection.

Ball was ice cold from outside bricking a number of three attempts. Part of the problem was coaching, as the Australian announcer pointed out, why does UCLA continue to switch on the dribble hand off. A slow-footed seven footer would be shooting over Ball all day on the switch.

The third quarter, Aaron Holiday had some key streaks. UCLA's offense with Hamilton on the floor was very good.  Hamilton seems to be the best player on the floor on offense. When he is on the offense runs so much better because Isaac is a threat to score off the dribble and outside. Isaac playing time was limited by fouls but in the broadest sense, we seemed better when Isaac was on the floor, Brisbane when he was off. (Caveat: Holiday took over the game in stretches.) Brisbane beat us on the boards by and UCLA had 14 turnovers. It was 75-70 Bullets at the end of the third.

The referee was not the best and they called a number of things that were probably not calls. Steve had some right to complain but it was more equally bad.

The fourth quarter UCLA took the lead with Hamilton on the floor until he fouled out. Ball and Leaf showed they have a connection. Ball was better and UCLA took the lead. But the game ended in a surreal fashion. Alford tried to give a foul with a three point lead and the refs gave the guy a shooting foul. Fortunately the Brisbane player missed the free throws. UCLA won 94-91.

This game was Aaron Holiday's though. He was the spark on defense with block shots and steals.  He single-handedly brought us back with his defense and pushed it inside. Isaac shows that he is the number one option on offense.  And Ike was dominate on the offensive boards.

Nice win, but the D is still an issue. And, oh, Holiday has to play big minutes.

Go Bruins!