The UCLA Bruins came into this game riding a four game wining streak. Many believe the minimum needed in order to survive in the Pac-12 is winning at home and splitting on the road. Even our own Don MacLean made a statement about UCLA “playing with house money” during the telecast. Based on history, some in Bruins Nation thought UCLA would find a way to continue the history of road splits after the Bruins’ huge road win against Arizona on Thursday. Those that believed that history would repeat, and UCLA would lay an egg and split were 100% correct.
The UCLA Bruins had a pretty good start to to the first half. Then they decided to go on a scoring drought of over four minutes towards the end of the half. During this time the Sun Devils started hitting three point shots, went on a 11-2 run and went up by 10 points against the Bruins at the 4:12 mark and then again at the 1:54 mark. With the Sun Devils going into the half up 40-32.
The Bruins go as Holiday goes, and Holiday struggled during the first half as he went 1-4 from the field, with all of his shots coming from behind the arc. That is not the aggressive Holiday that we have watched over this winning streak.
Thomas Welsh paced the Bruins during the first half with 9 points, but he struggled with his shot as well as he also went 1-4 from behind the arc.
With our two best players going a combined 2-8 from behind the arc, and the rest of the team going 2-7 for a combined 27%, it was apparent that the ball was not falling, and the Bruins didn’t care because they kept hoisting them with reckless abandon.
The Sun Devils received a team leading 12 points from Shannon Evans II.
The first possession of the second half was a precursor to the half. UCLA played great defense and forced a difficult shot by Kodi Justice, but ASU got the rebound, and Shannon Evans II made a 3-point jump shot from 26 feet out. ASU went up 11 at that point, and that was pretty much the way the deficit stayed the entire second half.
UCLA simply could not string any runs together in the second half, nor could they consistently stop the Sun Devils from scoring.
In a crazy statistical anomaly, UCLA shot better from the field than ASU, as UCLA shot 45% and ASU shot 42%. And UCLA and ASU were even in shooting from behind the arc, with both teams shooting 31%. The one huge difference was that ASU ended up shooting 28 free throws and hitting 25 of them. UCLA was 11-12 from the line.
UCLA was led by Aaron Holiday and his late scoring push, as Holiday led the team with 20 points. Thomas Welsh pulled down eight boards to pace the Bruins.
The Arizona State Sun Devils were led by Shannon Evans II with 23 points, and Tra Holder had 22 points.
UCLA is now 8-5 in the Pac-12 and 17-8 overall as they head back home to play Oregon State on Thursday.
UCLA Player Grades
Aaron Holiday D+
Your best player simply cannot get a grade of a D+ in a game this big. Holiday simply did not show up and might have lost his chance for Pac-12 Player of the Year in the process. The late spurt did nothing to change his grade, too much too late.
Jaylen Hands D-
Hands shot a number of ill-advised shots, and Alford even quickly took him out after one horrible shot in the first half.
Prince Ali F
I literally do not know what this guy has done to get his game to the depths it currently resides.
Kris Wilkes C
I thought he was going to have a big game after the first four or five minutes of the game, and I was wrong.
Alex Olesinski D
A grade that low just based on the fact that really didn’t do much right or wrong for that matter. Another game where he was a body.
Gyorgy Goloman C+
GG as our highest graded player? That spells big problems for the Bruins.
Thomas Welsh C
Welsh just seemed to not be able to get in the flow of the game. He missed some three point shots in the first half, and it just seemed to take him out of the game. He should have had way more touches down low.
Chris Smith D+
Limited minutes for Smith.