UCLA came out strong with no hangover from the Stanford debacle to beat UC Berkeley, 107-84. The defense was sharp (Berkeley shot 26% in the first half) and UCLA was running and shooting well. UC Berkeley is a bad team and it showed in the first half. A good symbol was on back-to-back plays Jaylen Hands intercepted a Berkeley pass and went for a dunk. Well, that is just how bad UC Berkeley is, they intentionally fouled Hands rather than give him another layup.
The first half was surreal for another reason. Berkeley was killing UCLA on the boards. In part, this was because Thomas Welsh had a double double at the HALF, but he still struggled a bit on the defensive boards. Berkeley had 31 rebounds including 18 on offense. When Welsh got hit in the face or his mask was knocked, he fumbled a few rebounds. Ironically, otherwise he was fine. He hit his threes and free throws and had some real nice offensive rebounds.
The second half was more worrisome than it should have been. UCLA struggled with Berkeley’s press. Berkeley shrunk UCLA’s lead to 11 but never got closer. UCLA beat the press in a strange way: three pointers. Basically, UCLA would break the press and pass for a corner open three and, in one case, a four-point play by Olesinski. Olesinski had a career high of 14 points including 4-5 from the field, 3-4 from three, 3-3 free throws.
In sum, UCLA came out well with good defense in the first half. The good defense keyed some good offense and UCLA breezed to 54-33 lead. However, in the second half Berkeley’s press bothered UCLA and the Golden Bears were able to get a lot of easy shots. Berkeley was also burned by UCLA from three. Berkeley shot 63% for the half and came as close to 11.
Player of the Game: Thomas Welsh
Welsh had a double double in the first half. His 14 rebounds equaled the next 4 players combined. UCLA is a different team on defense when he is on the floor. Welsh especially deserves kudos as he struggled with some discomfort from playing with a mask protecting his nose.
Stats of the game: UCLA went 17-30 from three.
Our fours and fives went 8-12 and took advantage of a Berkeley defense that let us shoot threes from the corner. Another thing that was not as obvious was the play of Jaylen Hands who had 8 assists as UCLA had 22 assists after only 10 against Stanford.
Worry about the Four.
Berkeley had 21 offensive rebounds. Welsh seemed to struggle at times and the mask obviously bothered him but he did his part. GG had 5 fouls in 11 minutes and only 2 rebounds. Olesinski was good on offense tonight, but there were times when it seemed he was weak on the boards. The Arizona schools, and some others, may eat us up inside with a good inside big. The numbers don’t really tell the story, but Marcus Lee alone had 11 offensive rebounds. He’s good, but that is ridiculous.