After leading UCLA with 15 points in its 77-63 loss to Arizona on Saturday, Malcolm Lee was anything but happy.
Lee’s points came off porous 5-for-13 shooting, and his five turnovers also led the team. The sophomore guard was frustrated early as the Wildcats man-to-man defense stifled the perimeter, and he finally started to gain some momentum in the second half, albeit too late.
“I wasn’t trying to be a little over-aggressive, I was just trying to take the game over,” Lee said. “The time was getting hectic, and I just tried to put matters in my own hand. That sped me up, a couple of bad turnovers. ”
Particularly worrisome because the game came after a superb performance just a few days earlier against Arizona State, the loss to Arizona left shockwaves. In just two days, a less-than-impressive Wildcats squad figured out how to stop the Bruins by hedging and trailing screens.
After Lee figured this out, he wished he just attacked the basket earlier.
“Their big guy moves real well; those hedges, he was out there every time,” Lee said. “I couldn’t really turn the corner on him. When I came out of the first one, I just went back – I couldn’t turn the corner. I should’ve been more aggressive in the first half.”
As UCLA’s offense went, however, so went its defense.
Though Lee maintains it’s the other way around.
“Our lack of defense transformed over to our lack of offense,” Lee said. “When you’re playing good defense, that just leads over. I don’t know – mental breakdowns, guys missing breakouts – that leads over to the offense. It’s not a fact, but I think it plays a mental game on you.”