With Joshua Smith on the court, UCLA looked simply dominant at times in the first half of its NCAA Tournament third-round matchup against Florida.
Then Smith picked up his second foul, on the offensive end going for a loose ball, and the Bruins game-plan changed.
Yet they stayed in the game.
UCLA trails the Florida 35-33 at the half, despite the Gators’ sensational shooting, and the Bruins have the ball to start the second half.
Despite very good on-ball defense, Florida shot 56 percent in the first half, making 14-of-25 shots, while UCLA shot 40.7 percent, hitting 11-of-27 shots. The Bruins also struggled from the free-throw line, making 10-of-15, while Florida hit 4-of-5.
If not for a remarkable 20-10 rebounding advantage, including a 9-0 offensive rebounding edge, the Bruins would be trailing by more than two. But Smith has four offensive boards and six points, Reeves Nelson has eight points and six boards and Tyler Honeycutt seven points and three rebounds, and UCLA is keeping it a game.