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UCLA Bruins Bury St. Francis Red Flash, 95-58

The Bruins used a monster second half to demolish St. Francis (PA).

NCAA Basketball: Long Beach State at UCLA
Jules Bernard, shown here against Long Beach State, played a very good game tonight.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 20th ranked UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team crushed the St. Francis Red Flash, 95-58 in UCLA’s opening game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The win improves the Bruins’ record to 3-0 on the young season.

First Half

UCLA took a 36-29 lead over the Red Flash at the break. The Bruins were paced by Prince Ali and Moses Brown in the first half. Ali scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and two blocks, while Brown poured in 10 points and 11 rebounds while blocking four shots. Chris Smith chipped in seven points of his own and provided a nice spark off the bench for the Bruins.

Aside from Prince Ali and Moses Brown (10 of 16 FG’s), UCLA really couldn’t get anything going offensively. The rest of the Bruins shot 5-of-23 and scored only 14 points. UCLA struggled mightily from behind the arc, shooting just 2-of-12. They also shot 4-of-8 from the free throw line. It was a very inconsistent first half for the Bruins.

They also got outrebounded by the Red Flash, 31-25, with Moses Brown grabbed 11 of those rebounds. The Red Flash had no players in double figures at the half. Forward Myles Thompson was their leading scorer with 7 points on 3-of-7 shooting. It was a horrendous shooting half for St. Francis who shot just 32% from the field.

Second Half

It was a different story in the second half when the Bruins pretty much buried the Red Flash. Their huge run was aided by hot shooting, and some great interior defense. They made life impossible for St. Francis in the second half. Nothing came easy for them; whereas. UCLA imposed their will on both ends of the floor.

After a scoreless first half, the beast inside Kris Wilkes woke up. He scored seven points in a blink of an eye and helped the Bruins stretch their lead to 12 as UCLA took a 45-33 lead. He finished with 14 points while 6-of-13 shooting from the floor and 2-of-5 from deep. He’s been very consistent offensively this season and the big second half salvaged his performance. Wilkes was well on his way to a 20+ point performance had this game been closer.

Big man Moses Brown picked up where he left off on both ends of the floor. He already had six blocks at the 13:34 mark with the Bruins pushing their lead out to 56-37. He finished with a loud 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 blocks while hitting 11-of-14 shots. He’s been as good as advertised this season and the sky is the limit for him. Oh, he only committed one turnover. It was a pristine performance from the freshman.

Prince Ali scored just two points after the half, but the Bruins did not need him to score much after the break. Ali finished with 14 points and the rest of the Bruins shouldered the load offensively in the second half. Jules Bernard had a nice showing in the second half and he finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 7-of-14 from the field. His ability to get to the rim is fantastic and he added 2-of-4 three-pointers, even if his jump shot remains a work in progress. Smith finished with 15 points and 4 rebounds, but did most of his damage when the game was out of reach.

UCLA shot the ball extremely well in the second half and finished shooting 56.5% from the field. A lot of their points were manufactured in the paint, while the Bruins hit just 7-of-19 threes against the Red Flash. They also won the rebounding battle in the second half 30-14. Both teams ended with 45 rebounds. Defensively, the Bruins suffocated the Red Flash into making 15 turnovers and held them to 30% shooting on the night. UCLA was locked in defensively.

UCLA Player Grades

Moses Brown: A+

What’s not to love about this guy? His freakish height and wingspan makes him impossible to defend and impossible to get a shot off of. He blocked 8 shots and would’ve easily had a triple-double with blocks if this game had been closer.

Prince Ali: B-

He did a good job offensively in the first half for the Bruins, but was very quiet in the second half. He’s moving good out there, though.

Jaylen Hands: D-

Barely heard from.

Kris Wilkes: C+

A big second half made his night look better, but Wilkes was inconsistent tonight. He still managed to finish with 14 points, however. There will be bigger performances down the road.

Jalen Hill: D-

He was invisible.

Jules Bernard: B

He had a great all-around performance tonight and he got to the rim with ease. He also hit two three-pointers, which is a great sign.

Chris Smith: C+

Not his best game, but he still scored 15 points. He has periods where he looks great and other periods where he looks lost.

The Bruins next game is Monday, November 19th when they take on Presbyterian at 8:00PM PT.

Go Bruins!