The Loyola Marymount Lions came in to Pauley Pavilion sporting a 8-0 record, the best start in program history. LMU also came in ranked No. 25 in the NCAA NET Rankings, while the Bruins were ranked No. 89.
LMU started off the game 1 for 8 from the field and 0 for 2 from behind the arc. The Lions' slow start enabled the Bruins to take an early 9-3 lead heading into the first media timeout. With Jaylen Hands leading the Bruins early with three assists, two of which led to dunks by Moses Brown.
Heading into the second media timeout, the Bruins and Jaylen Hands specifically, continued to share the ball as UCLA was shooting 8 for 14 early, with 7 of those 8 baskets coming on assists. The Bruins were up, 22-11.
UCLA continued a pretty solid first half defensive effort heading into the third media timeout. The Bruins were holding the Lions to 6 for 21 shooting, and were specifically holding LMU’s star guard James Batemon to 0 for 5 from the field and 0 for 2 from behind the arc. The Lions were content in milking the shot clock and forcing poorly contested shots late. Consequently, the Bruins were able to build a 26-16 lead.
The Bruins' half court offense was not a thing of beauty during the first half and when has it been so far this year? When UCLA was not out running and converting early in the clock, many of their points came in a disjointed manner as the Bruins should have been up by more.
The one constant during the first half was definitely a solid UCLA defensive effort and, no, this was not LMU just missing open shots. The Bruins played an aggressive first half of defense and the Lions ended the half shooting 29% from the field and 17% from behind the arc. UCLA was up 39-27 at the half.
The second half started with both teams being more aggressive offensively. LMU decided to push the tempo a little more out of necessity but UCLA responded. A three-point play by Cody Riley at the 15:14 mark gave the Bruins their biggest lead of the night, 50-36, and UCLA wasn't challenged for the rest of the game.
UCLA did get into foul trouble early in the second half, but so did LMU. By the 7:40 mark of the second half, both teams combined to shoot 22 free throws. Luckily for the Bruins, they were hitting free throws in the second half, which actually allowed them to build their lead even more.
UCLA then went on an 10-2 run, in which Hands scored six of the points in the run and pushed the UCLA lead to 75-54 at the 4:30 mark.
The UCLA defense continued their solid effort to close out the game. In the second half, the LMU Lions were held to 11 for 38 FG shooting and 1 for 10 from behind the arc. This solid defensive effort helped the Bruins cruise to an easy 82-58 victory.
The Lions were paced by Dameane Douglas’ 11 points. LMU’s star guard James Batemon was held to seven points on 2 for 14 shooting from the field and 0 for 5 from behind the arc.
For those unable to see the game, here are some of the highlights.
UCLA Player Grades
Moses Brown: B+
I feel sorry for Moses Brown sometimes as the Bruins cannot figure out a way to feed him in the post unless it's a dribble penetration that leads to a lob. I guess Brown’s low post moves will hopefully get work in practice, along with his FT shooting. With that being said, it sure is nice having Brown being the last line of defense for the Bruins.
Jaylen Hands: A-
Hands has made a concerted effort to get other Bruins involved lately, and he should have had even more than 10 assists if certain Bruins were able to make open shots. While his 3-point shot is still not falling, it was nice to see the aggressive Hands drive to the basket and hit 8 of 8 at the FT line. Hands was also part of the defense that held Batemon in check. Hands also only had three turnovers.
Prince Ali: C-
This guy just cannot be consistent. He was 4 for 10 from the field and 1 for 6 from behind the arc. Did I mention 0 for 2 from the FT line? I will give him credit for being part of the defense that held the Lions in check.
Kris Wilkes: B-
Wilkes was not able to hit from behind the arc tonight, but he made up for it at the FT line where he hit six of seven.
Jalen Hill: C-
Hill was pretty invisible tonight in only 17 minutes.
Chris Smith: B
Smith was active tonight on both sides of the ball. He pulled down ten boards and was a big part to the UCLA defense tonight.
Jules Bernard: B-
I just love Bernard’s game. He’s a really good defender and can dribble penetrate while also being able to hit from the outside. I really wish the minutes between him and Ali could be flip-flopped.
David Singleton: C-
Singleton needs to look to do more when he is in the game. It's hard to say that in a 24-point victory, but I did.
Cody Riley : C
Foul trouble made this a disappointing night for Riley as he only played twelve minutes. His offensive game sure has potential on this team, but there are currently a lot of guys that touch the ball before he does.