The start of this game was the exact opposite of how the Bruins started against Southern Cal. The Bruins were led early by an active Jaylen Hands as UCLA jumped out to a quick 11-0 lead. Bobby Hurley responded to the early UCLA lead by subbing most of his starting lineup and the bench responded by scoring the next seven points to pull withing 11-7 at the first media timeout.
The remainder of the half saw the Sun Devils get back into the game by being active on the offensive boards and scoring in the paint. ASU scored 26 points in the paint in the first half.
Ironically, the Bruins kept pace with Arizona State by converting from beyond the arc. The Bruins hit 6 of 11 with David Singleton converting 2 of 4 and Kris Wilkes hitting both of his three-point shots. On the other hand, the Sun Devils were just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc in the half.
The athleticism of both teams was on full display during the first half of basketball. While turnovers continued to be a problem for the Bruins with eight in the first half, UCLA played one of their better stretches of basketball and went into the break on top of the Sun Devils, 44-43.
The second half started out with both teams coming out of the locker room hot. Wilkes and Prince Ali came out scoring the first 10 points for UCLA heading into the first media timeout and it was knotted up, 54-54.
For the Sun Devils, Remy Martin started off the half on fire and scored 10 of ASU’s first 18 points of the half. His jump shot at the 14:16 mark extended the Sun Devils’ lead to 61-55 and forced a Bruin timeout.
The UCLA timeout only put a slight pause to the ASU run as the Sun Devils extended their lead to 70-59 out of the timeout with Rob Edwards hitting two threes leading into the media timeout at the 11:23 mark.
UCLA tried to get back into the game as Jaylen Hands had two highlight reel dunks within 20 seconds to pull the Bruins within eight at the 7:59 mark, but that was the extent of the Bruins’ push for the game.
UCLA had a lot of opportunities to close the gap and get back into the game but missed opportunities at the basket and hit only 2 of 14 shots to close out the game. Obviously, that is not going to get it done. The Bruins continue to be the worst free throw shooting team in the nation, as UCLA hit only 6 of 15 free throws in the second half and 10 of 21 for the game.
With all of that stacked up against the Bruins, ASU pulled away and walked out of Pauley with a 84-73 victory.
What has been abundantly clear this year and, again, tonight against the Sun Devils is that the Bruins struggle to respond with a plan to attack when opposing teams really up their defensive pressure in the half-court.
The Bruins were manhandled in this game under the basket as Arizona State outrebounded UCLA, 48-40 and outscored the Bruins in the paint, 44-34. They also outran UCLA by outscoring them on fast break points, 21-11.
The Bruins did not lack effort in this game, but they couldn’t seem to turn that effort into anything sustained and dropped their third game in a row.
The Arizona Wildcats visit Pauley Pavilion on Saturday at 7:00 pm PT.
UCLA Player Grades
Moses Brown: F
Brown was pushed around, shoved, hit in the ribs, and pretty much bullied under the basket all night long. He needs to learn so much, but one thing he has to stop doing is going horizontal at defenders when trying to score. He needs to learn to jump vertically and use his length to score.
Jaylen Hands: D
He played a pretty good game. He didn’t force a lot of shots and he had one of his better games trying to get other Bruins involved. He only had one turnover. He was just 1 of 3 from the FT line.
Prince Ali: F
Ali was back to his inconsistent and poor shooting. He was 2 of 10 from the field and 1 of 5 from behind the arc.
Kris Wilkes: D
Wilkes played OK tonight, but struggles to score consistently. He is supposed to be “the guy” for the Bruins and just has not been the kind of player UCLA can look to when points are needed. It doesn’t help that he also struggles at the FT line.
Chris Smith: F
His game just seems to be stuck in neutral some nights and reverse on other nights. Tonight was another night where he just seemed to be an invisible player.
Cody Riley: C
Riley seemed to be one of the only Bruins that tried to play big boy ball under the basket.
Jalen Hill : F
Hill was active early, but faded the rest of the game. He was 1 of 4 from the FT line.
David Singleton: D
Singleton had a solid first half, but he just seemed to disappear in the second half scoring no points.
Jules Bernard: D
Bernard played his usual active game, with the occasional wild shot.