Before we start the review, let’s be clear how bad San Jose State is: not only were they one of the ten worst teams in the country from three, at least three times they caught the ball for a three standing out of bounds. This game was over before it started. The final score was UCLA 93,
Washington Generals er, San Jose State Spartans 64.
In the real story, Jaime Jaquez Jr. now appears to be a starter over Chris Smith and, boy, did he earn it. Today, Jaime had 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting (he went 1-4 from three and was perfect from two) with three rebounds, three steals and four assists. Along with Jalen Hill, he seems to be the most Cronin player. He’s all effort all the time.
Speaking of Hill, he took over early. At the under 16 timeout in the first half, the score was UCLA 16 (Hill 7) and San Jose State 7. As the game went on, Hill also had 4 nice assists and shot a game-high 12 free throws to finish tied with Jaquez for the team high of 18 points.
But the second story may have been the lineups. At one point early, UCLA went huge with David Singleton, Jaquez, Smith, Cody Riley and Hill in a lineup. San Jose is really tall but still. We also went deeper quick with Shareef O’Neal early. It seems who plays off Cronin’s bench is partially based on matchups. Cronin went with Shareef over Jake Kyman when it was still a game, choosing size over three-point shooting against San Jose State.
Cronin even did the hockey line change at the 10 minute mark when he subbed out all five guys.
The good news was the offense was clicking. The bad news is that the defense was not that good. We were shooting lights out but only inside and not even trying threes. The defense was creating turnovers, but otherwise getting beat. For the first eleven minutes of the first half, San Jose was scoring or turning the ball over. Then, UCLA defense finally got in the game by holding the Spartans without a field goal from 9:26 for the next 8 minutes and, even then, that basket came from a steal after a turnover. It was the only basket for the rest of the first half. They were 0 for 6 with five turnovers in that stretch.
The only bad news tonight was that Prince Ali got hurt again, rolling his ankle. However, he came back. In the first half, UCLA had eight ugly turnovers but, otherwise, the first half was pretty good on offense and on defense for the last nine minutes. Chris Smith led UCLA with 12 points with Jaquez scoring nine points. UCLA shot 63% but only had one three in two attempts.
To start the second half, Hill was benched for Smith. Ali hit a three and an open jumper, but the star was Jaquez who had nine of UCLA’s first 14 points of the half as the Bruins pulled away. The only thing that stopped him was foul trouble.
The game was over at this point and there was a lot of garbage time.
- Player of the Game: Jaime Jaquez. He played good defense, passed well and was perfect from inside the arc. He has earned as starting position over the player who was the leading scorer going into the game.
- Home Cooking: Jalen Hill. At home, he is a star but in three neutral court games in Maui he had fewer points than he had tonight. UCLA needs the Jalen Hill of these home games if they are going to make any noise on the road.
- The Rotation? Hill led UCLA in minutes tonight, but two bench players, David Singleton and Chris Smith, were tied for second with 21 minutes each. Cronin is legitimately playing eleven players and even subbed in five players one time. Can this continue when the games get tougher? This is the most players I have seen any UCLA coach regularly play.