UCLA leads 42-24 at the half

TAMPA –

When judging UCLA’s first-half performance against Michigan State, there are really two different viewpoints.

Was it UCLA?

Or was it Michigan State?

Either way, the Bruins simply crushed the Spartans in just about every facet here at the St. Pete Times Forum, taking a 42-24 lead into the break.

Though UCLA shot just 12-for-31 from the field, the team has made up for it with an astounding 11 offensive rebounds. For measure, Michigan State has 14 rebounds total.

But the Bruins have completely turned up the pressure on the Spartans’ offense, led by Malcolm Lee’s effort on Kalin Lucas. Lucas, Michigan State’s best offensive player at more than 17 points per game – scoring over 20 per game over his last 14 – has zero points in the first half on 0-for-7 shooting. But aside from Durrell Summers’ 12 points, no Spartan has more than four.

Meanwhile, UCLA has put together a balanced offensive effort, getting impressive contribution from the bench. Tyler Honeycutt has nine points, Reeves Nelson has eight, Malcolm Lee seven, Jerime Anderson six and Joshua Smith five, despite two first-half fouls.

Smith got the start but was quickly relieved by Anthony Stover, who had a key block. Brendan Lane added three points, three rebounds and a block in 11 minutes and Tyler Lamb also chipped in two free throws and a rebound.

Perhaps most importantly for the Bruins, they’ve locked down their two biggest issues so far. UCLA has just seven turnovers (with seven assists) and is 15-of-19 from the free-throw line.

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  • jjbowman

    another horrible end to a UCLA game! We were dang lucky we won. Does Reeves Nelson know how to guard against a three by hedging? I mean come on, he let a least two three pointers go in because the Spartan players were open on a screen. I mean doesn’t he know they were looking for threes? Play help D and jump out on those screens REeves!! I just hate have to watch how our team gets out to leads but then constantly can’t hang on to the lead by making mistakes and poor decisions. Let’s get a solid finish sometime…a poor ending to an otherwise solid performance by the Bruins tonight.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a win but the same old choking as the whole season. The Bruins have no guts with the game on the line. Missed 11 of their last 14 free throws. 23 point lead down to 1 in 8 minutes. Learn how to compete. This is tough to watch.

  • Larry

    WOW… and our reward is to play Florida in Florida.

  • Anonymous

    Honeycutt and Lee…NBA guys don’t gag on those free throws. You might want wait until your ready.

  • BRUINBEATCH

    Would you guys stop crying like little babies! We won! We werent even supposed to be in the tourney considering all the things that happened. We came in second in the PAC when we were looking at third or fourth.GO BRUINS!

  • http://LTrain Ron

    Agree on the stop whining. UCLA won where higher ranked, Louiville, St Johns and Vanderbilt didn’t. Go Bruins!

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    On the bright side, we won. On the not so bright side, as others have pointed out we did not sustain our performance through the end of the game. I’m going to stay positive that we beat MSU and hope we come out ready to play our “A” game against a recent nemesis. Let’s not discount the fact that this was the first NCAA tourney game for almost everyone on the squad. I’m actually encouraged that we played as well as we did for the first 30 minutes of the game as I certainly did not expect to ever be up 20+ on MSU. Also encouraged by Honeycutt’s best performance in a while (would love to see him get hot). I thought this game would go down to the wire before the game and indeed it did, although not quite as expected. I think we can build on this win.

  • ucla-of-the rockies

    LBF: Agreed. And how so many fair-weather Bruin fans can so easily rip into this team amazes me … 14-18 last year. Not a senior on the team. (Read that again jjbowman). Reeves has been quoted much here that he struggles off-ball on defense (remember, we played ZONE most of last year?) and is just picking up many man-to-man skills as if a freshman again.
    So quit piling on. We’re young. We’re inconsistent. Take Reeves’ double-double, no technical foul performance and remember that we’re still dancing.
    Louisville would love the problem of Reeves Nelson on its roster about now.

  • Displaced Bruin

    When the Bruins were up 1 following a MSU 3-pointer, Malcolm Lee was fouled before inbound pass. Shouldn’t UCLA have been awarded 2 free throws AND the ball? Did the officials miss a call?