71-63 UCLA Over Richmond

February 8, 2012 by staff 

71-63 UCLA Over Richmond, Late in the second half of UCLA’s last non-conference tune-up on Friday night, a man dropped to his knee and proposed to his girlfriend at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

She said no. It was only the second biggest rejection of the evening. UCLA sophomore forward Travis Wear blocked a Kendell Anthony attempt with a six-point lead and 1 minute, 16 seconds left in the game immediately after scoring on a crucial rebound-and-putback, and the Bruins preserved their fifth straight win with a 71-63 victory over Richmond.

“That was a very good win for us,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “A very important win. That’s a hard team to play against – their style of play and their strategies, you don’t see that often. That really caused us problems early.”

Richmond made 6-of-10 shots to start the game as its Princeton offense caused fits against UCLA’s man-to-man defense before the Bruins switched to a zone, and the Spiders went ice cold, making just one of their next 14 shots. UCLA trailed 14-5 and 21-12 but a late-first-half spurt allowed the Bruins to tie it at 24 at the half.

Howland, who is typically hesitant to play zone, credited the switch for the victory.

“The zone really helped us tonight,” Howland said. “If we hadn’t have gone to zone, we wouldn’t have won the game. It’s been good for us. There’s going to be times when we have to go to it. I’d rather play man – but I knew going into this game that they’re so hard to guard. They’re so precise.”

The Bruins were the sharpshooters in the second half, though.

UCLA made 16-of-26 shots (61.5 percent) in the second half, starting off with a quick 7-0 run and kept the Spiders at arm’s length for much of the half. Senior guard Jerime Anderson had 11 second-half points, including a quick five during the Bruins’ early second-half spurt.

“We got a lot better shots,” Anderson said. “We started getting to the rack a lot more. Our motion offense gave them problems with their matchup defense. We got a lot of good things inside.”

The Bruins’ better ball-movement resulted in a balanced offensive effort, as five players finished in double-figures, led by senior point guard Lazeric Jones’ 16 points. UCLA’s balance offset a big night from Richmond’s Darien Brothers, who finished with 25 points and five 3-pointers.

“We knew they’d try to backdoor us, and I think it overextended us a little bit,” sophomore Travis Wear said. “When we went to that zone, obviously they’re not going to get those open doors because we’re packing it in the paint. Fortunately we were able to cool them down a little bit.”

Wear and his twin brother David, though, stayed hot.

The twins played their best cumulative effort against the Spiders, combining for 26 points on 12-of-22 shooting and totaling 11 rebounds.

“I was just trying to be active,” Travis Wear said. “I think I was overthinking when I was in there in the beginning, but I was just trying to go to open spots.”

The win, UCLA’s fifth straight after a 2-5 start, gives the Bruins some momentum heading into Pac-12 Conference play. The team opens its conference schedule on Thursday at Stanford at 8 p.m.

“We were definitely in a tough spot,” Anderson said of the 2-5 start. “It was an adverse situation for the whole team, with everything that happened. It was a difficult time for us. But that difficulty really helped us grow stronger as a team. We had to come together.”

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