Murry Bartow’s honeymoon as interim coach of the UCLA Bruins is officially over. This afternoon, the Bruins lost a winnable game to crosstown rival Southern Cal Trojans, 80-67 and the Bruins have now dropped two straight to fall to 2-2 under Bartow. In reality, the game was much worse than the final score as UCLA mounted a late 12-0 run which cut the lead Southern Cal lead from 25 points to just 13 in the final minute and a half.
The Bruins started off inexcusably slow and were down 10-2 early in the half as Southern Cal’s ball movement seemed to baffle the Bruins and the all-too-familiar UCLA turnover epidemic provided Southern Cal extra chances to score early.
UCLA was able to go on a 10-2 run of their own to climb back into the game at the first media timeout. The Bruins trailed Southern Cal 18-14 at the 11:04 mark and scored 14 of their first 18 points in the paint. UCLA managed to get the Trojans in a little foul trouble early. However, the Bruins could not take advantage of all the fouls the Trojans were giving as UCLA continued to show why they are the worst free throw shooting team in the Pac-12 Conference.
UCLA took the lead 23-22 at the 7:18 mark when Kris Wilkes hit the first three for the Bruins, but the Trojans responded and the lead was short-lived.
The Trojans finished off the half up on the Bruins 36-33.
UCLA finished what was an ugly half of basketball shooting 1 of 11 from behind the arc, turning the ball over 11 times and hitting just 2 of 8 from the free throw line.
The second half started similar to the first half as Southern Cal outscored the Bruins 17-9 to start the half and finally forced a Bartow timeout at the 14:05 mark after the Trojans had extended their lead to 53-42.
UCLA could do absolutely nothing against the Trojan zone and continued to look like a team that does not have the players to attack the zone or a plan to do it. Southern Cal extended their lead off of a 15-0 run. They had a 61-42 lead at the 11:07 mark and never looked back.
The rest of the game provided the Trojans an opportunity to pound the Bruins on national television. This game reminded me of games that we used to see with Alford at the helm. This team did not show up early, seemed disinterested and got pounced on. UCLA battled back in the first half, but they came out flat in the second half and stunk up the Galen Center.
The Bruins finished the game 5 of 22 from behind the arc and 4 of 12 at the free throw line. They had an abysmal 20 turnovers. It is impossible to win a game with those numbers and many on Twitter called this UCLA team the worst perimeter shooting team in a long time, and I would have to agree, without any stats to back this up. It’s just the frustration of the year of UCLA basketball that we are currently watching.
This poor second half effort was even observed by Bill Raftery and his quote in this Tweet highlighted what he observed with the Bruins.
"Not being involved in the game".— Bruins Nation (@BruinNation) January 19, 2019
That's a national broadcaster giving his description of the current players for the @UCLAMBB.
Hands and Ali paced the Bruins with 15 points apiece. Bennie Boatwright and Nick Rakocevic paced the Trojans with 21 points respectively.
Next up for the Bruins are the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils visit Pauley Pavilion on January 24th at 8:00 pm PT.
UCLA Player Grades
Moses Brown: F
There is so much work that needs to be poured into this young man. He’s slow to make decisions with the ball in the post. He is a liability when he gets the ball and gets fouled, and there just has not been a lot of progress in his game so far. Maybe Bill Walton and Kareem could start visiting UCLA practices because he could really use their help.
Kris Wilkes: F
Wilkes needs to know that his best game is a game that flows between being a driver to the basket. He is somebody that should post-up sometimes, and then take the outside shot last. He often seems to be one of the most disinterested players on the Bruins and the lack of development in his game has cost him and the Bruins A LOT.
Jaylen Hands: F
He is simply not a point guard and he never seems to do enough of anything right to be a difference maker for the Bruins on a consistent basis.
Chris Smith: F
He needs to end the belief that he can be a threat from beyond the arc. He simply has not put in the work necessary to be “that guy” yet. Smith also seems to be one of those guys that simply loses interest in the game. He has the ability to do way more than score, but he just does not seem interested in doing it.
Prince Ali: D
Ali was actually one of the only Bruins who seemed to show up today with the way he played. He was active and seemed to care, and that’s coming from the biggest critic of Ali this season.
Jalen Hill : F
Hill is just limited in what he can currently do. On a good team, he could be a really good role player. Maybe someday he’ll get that chance.
Cody Riley : F
Riley is one of those players that teases you with talent, then seems to disappear. It’s not all his fault in regards to disappearing, but something that seems to happen quite often with him.
Jules Bernard: D
Bernard is always aggressive, and I like that. He’s not always smart with that aggressiveness, but that will come.
David Singleton: F
Most fan wouldn’t have even known he was in the game, but that’s not all his fault.
Alex Olesinski and Kenneth Nwuba: INC