UCLA’s Bay Area trip was a land of contrasts.
A few days after beating Stanford on the back of an excellent offensive outpouring, it was the UCLA defense that carried the day, putting up a solid performance in limiting a good Cal Berkeley attack en route to a 61-60 victory and Bay Area sweep.
The Bruin defense, which was notably lackluster on Wednesday, came back with a vengeance in this one, holding the Bears to 39.6% shooting on 21-53 shots. The Bruins forced 11 turnovers, including grabbing seven steals, and were able to hold Jaylon Tyson, who entered this game averaging 20 points a game, to only 16 points on 6-12 shooting, including stopping him on the final drive of the game, with Brandon Williams playing strong on-ball defense, Adem Bona flying in to alter the shot, and Lazar Stefanovic grabbing a key rebound that allowed the Bruins to put the game away.
That said, the Bruins would not have needed a late defensive stand had the offense not completely disappeared in the second half. The Bruins reverted back to the team from early January after halftime, shooting an abysmal 28.1% (9-32) in the second half, which was enough to allow Cal Berkeley to claw its way back into the game. Dylan Andrews (1-8), Adem Bona (2-7), and Lazar Stefanovic (1-5) were the major culprits for a UCLA offense that was creating good looks but could not get them to fall.
Ultimately the game came down to execution in the final minute, and it was here that the improvements of the last month showed through. UCLa got great offensive possessions from Bona and Andrews, then played excellent defense to seal the game. Cal Berkeley hit a three in the final seconds to make it a one-point game, but at that point there was 0.1 seconds on the clock so the game was effectively over.
Getting a Bay Area sweep was important for the Bruins, not just for their dwindling NCAA Tournament hopes but also just to establish order in the universe. Cal Berkeley was starting to feel itself a bit, so it was important to remind the Bears of their place. And now we never have to deal with them again.
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Tough game to watch. A win is a win!
This week shows that we can now win On the road with offense when our defense is lacking, and defense when shots aren’t falling.
Sad ending to the PAC 12...survive and advance I guess is the takeaway..at least the game was on FOX so I got to watch for once!
I know what happened to the Bruin offense in the second half......I started watching the game. We had a 14pt lead, 18min to go, I plop down after a long day recover.....and the rest is history.
Sorry Mick, it was me.
I'm very sad to see this rivalry end. I remember a Cal game in Pauli. The band was to my left theirs to my right. One of our band guys stood up and yelled "Hey Cal, it may be your song, but this is how it goes!" Bump bump bump ah bumpa bump ah... Great times!
Yeah, that 2nd half sure was U-G-L-Y for U-C-L-A. Same type of unevenly played game you'd expect the Bruins to lose earlier in the year, but fortunately they barely escaped with the victory. Bona can easily bully his way around the basket on offense, but wish he could develop a softer shooting touch close in like Mara. Can't wait for the latter big man to fully develop his game. Anyway, if the Bruins don't face Cal in the Pac-12 tourney, the rivalry ends on a winning note (unlike the football dumpster fire under Chip Alford). And although both schools share the same fight song, the Bruins have the better version. Go Bruins!
I love admitting I was wrong, even moreso i love saying I never gave up!
A lot of comments earlier this year, on YouTube even videos aren't aging well!
It's just games, entertainment. Some go as far as saying it's bread and circuses!
“The evil was not in bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero.
I love sports! But I try not to let it be bigger or more important than reality.
I hate politics, divide and conquer!
We're all brothers and sisters yet
'Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.'
I hate msm even more than politics!
Not trying to cause arguments, just add a little perspective at least from my point of view.
I think we're going dancing
From the round of 68 to the final four again?
Probably not. But just to make it, would be a great accomplishment and a lesson to play every play, never give up, and the only time we truly fail is when we give up or don't try and give it our all. I tried to convey this message years ago when the ladies went to the NIT and was harshly rebuffed!
I personally hate/strongly dislike the era of everyone gets a trophy.
It undermines true competition and drive to improve.
I like meritocracy!
All bruins. Caught the last 2 innings of the women's softball game against Texas! We lost but those ladies didn't give up in the bottom of the 6th down 3-0.
I'll add one last thing.
You have to choose to be offended.
It's awfully easy these days to look for things to be offended by.
It was amazing to see the team play. Will miss being able to see the Bruins when they play in the Bay Area. Glad we got the W today. Oh and I got to meet Josh Lewin after the game. The guy is a legend.
The kids found a way to win. I have no expectations with regards to the Big Dance. It could happen. However, after the loss to Utah, I didn’t know if Mick’s coaching would take hold with this group. I didn’t know if we’d get to 10 wins. So, I’m just enjoying the progress. Watching Andrews, Lazar, Mack, Bona and others improve is fun in itself. Now, we can see the growth in Mara. Fun stuff.
We'd have to win the pac-12 tournament to get to the big dance. But this year's pac 12 is wide open, so it's definitely possible.
The only "elite" team in the pac is Arizona but even they can be beaten.
Also I am amazed that we have a top 30 defense on kenpom right now. Coach has done a great job instilling defensive principles on a young team.
Offense has been hit or miss but D is this team's calling card.
I have to post one more comment about the PAC 12. I'm 65 and I've been following it my entire life. I'm heartbroken over its demise and furious with the people that killed it.
Where's the crowd that was talking about Mick being a bad coach about a month ago? I still think this is a bad roster, but what he's done with it is even more evidence that Mick is an elite college basketball coach. What he's done with Stefanovic and Andrews the last month is nothing short of remarkable.
"Good teams win when the ball doesn't go in the basket. That's who we were last year. That's the way we've always been."
[On BWill] "He needs a full off-season of strength and conditioning to develop his body."
Re those 2 points, an off season of 500 shots and 100 ft per day a la Steph are needed, too. Eventually, teams don't win when they can't put the ball in the basket. But remarkable improvement it's been. Who among us hasn't had Laz and Dylan in the doghouse earlier.
Had to watch most of it later (and managed to avoid the score!) - hated to see us back to ice cold shooting in the second half but glad to see another milepost of growth passed: being resilient on the road, withstanding the runs and losing the big lead to make the plays in the end game to win it. Also glad to see Mara looking more and more like he's finding his footing (and footwork).
I think our terrible NET still means we have to win the Pac12 tournament to get into the big dance, but let's see where we stand if we sweep the mountain schools at Pauley this week...
Got an email this morning saying that UCLA is hiring Deshaun Foster as football HC.