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.