I think it is fair to say that after last night’s annihilation by Utah at the Rose Bowl, UCLA sports fans needed something to take their minds off UCLA Football. Lucky for us, UCLA Basketball kicked off their 2018-2019 season tonight at Pauley Pavilion with its first game of the season, mind you it was just an exhibition game against the New York Institute of Technology Bears, but it is UCLA Basketball nonetheless.
I did read an interesting tidbit on the NYIT website. NYIT is undefeated against California schools while playing in California in their school history. They are 4-0 with victories at Cal State Bakersfield on January 2, 1980, consecutive wins at San Francisco State, Cal State East Bay, and Cal State Los Angeles to open their 1982-1983 season.
So the Bruins started out the 2018-2019 season with a starting lineup that included Moses Brown, Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes, Prince Ali and Jalen Hill. With the length of this UCLA team, the Bruins will definitely see a lot of zone, and NYIT started out in one. And one thing that was abundantly clear very early in this first half, Moses Brown and all 7’2’ of him is going to be a problem for opposing teams. He scored in numerous ways, ran the floor and was active on the defensive end as well. Brown went to the bench at the 11:46 media timeout with 11 points and 4 rebounds, and the UCLA Bruins up 21-15. He was simply dominant against an over-matched NYIT team.
UCLA then went on a 17-2 run with newcomers Jules Bernard and David Singleton pacing the Bruins as they started to run the Bears out of Pauley and led 36-17 at the 7:09 mark.
UCLA went into the half up 63-40 and Moses Brown pacing the Bruins with 13 points 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Jaylen Hands also scored 13 points with 2 assists.
UCLA started the half with back-to-back three’s from Prince Ali, and he wasn’t finished as he scored 10 points in the first three minutes of the 2nd half, and helped propel the Bruins to a 77-42 lead and an early NYIT timeout.
UCLA then just exploded, and the game basically became a running highlight film as the Bruins jumped out to a 95-47 lead at the 11:46 mark, and they didn’t look back and finished off the evening with a 125-73 exhibition win.
The Bruins did snap NYIT’s four game California win streak, as the Bears will head back to New York 4-1 on basketball trips out to California.
UCLA was led by Prince Ali’s 25 points. Moses Brown added 20 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks. NYIT was paced by Jeffrey Hayden’s 27 points.
For those of you new to my Bruins Nation game recaps, I always try to give a player grade and a quick reason for the grade for each player that saw significant or meaningful time. While a game like this, an exhibition, is hard to give grades, I will attempt to give some highly inflated grades to a group of Bruins that are going to make it hard for Alford to divide minutes.
Jaylen Hands A
Hands played a solid game and seemed to let the game come to him, and he worked to keep his teammates involved.
Kris Wilkes B
Wilkes didn’t shot the ball well tonight, and didn’t actually do a lot else to compensate for his poor shooting. He did have a nice flying dunk late in the second half.
Prince Ali A
I call Ali the X-Factor. If he plays like this for the Bruins, then he will be huge weapon for the Bruins this year.
Moses Brown A
Wow! I know it was NYIT, but this dude has some game. UCLA has not had a player with his size and skill-set for a very long time, and he is going to be a problem for opposing teams this year on both ends of the court.
Jalen Hill B
Not a good night from the FT line for Hill, and that is an area he is going to have to improve on, but he was active on the boards.
Jules Bernard B+
Bernard is going to get some minutes on this team. He is not afraid to take the ball to the rim, and actually is able to hit from the line when he gets there. He was also able to grab some boards and dish out some assists as well.
David Singleton A
Singleton was a highlight in this game. If he can be this efficient from the field this year, he will be a nice weapon for the Bruins and will pick up a lot of minutes.
Chris Smith B-
With some of the players the Bruins have this year, this is going to be an interesting year for Smith, and how exactly he is going to fit in.
Cody Riley B+
Cody had a solid game. He is another long Bruin that will make an impact on the court.
Kenneth Nwuba B
He is another player that definitely has a skill-set that might make it hard to keep him off the floor.
November 6th at 6 P.M. will bring the Bruins next game as they will play Purdue Fort Wayne at Pauley Pavilion.