ANAHEIM, Calif. — UCLA stayed with San Diego State for a half (game story here), then fell victim to the clearly better team. I suppose this loss could be termed ugly, but after some of the other games we’ve seen from UCLA so far this season, it really just feels like par for the course.
Stat of the Game: 10/18. That’s what San Diego State hit from 3-point land after starting off the game a putrid 1 of 9. UCLA’s zone defense still looks like a better option than its man defense — which it switched to briefly in the second half — but it merely covers up the Bruins’ inability to switch assignments while exposing their inability to defend the perimeter.
This paid off against Cal State Northridge on Wednesday because the Matadors found iron even on open looks. Against good teams, it becomes a matter of picking your poison.
For now, the team will likely continue with the 2-3 zone, but continue tweaking by mixing in some different looks. Going back to man would probably be more disastrous; the Aztecs were more athletic, and would’ve especially abused the Wears.
“I think we’ll be pretty good in (zone),” said freshman Jordan Adams. “We’re pretty long up front and we have smart players.”
Stat of the Game II: 39. That’s how many points Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams combined to score. The pair shot 14 of 26 from the field while the rest of the team went 13 of 38. The two freshmen are the only two reliable scoring options for the Bruins at this point, with Muhammad looking like he was trying to win the game on his own through certain stretches. The top-ranked recruit admitted again that he still isn’t fully comfortable within the offense and still has some work to do to get into full game shape.
Tony Parker sat out after spraining his ankle warming up on Wednesday, leaving UCLA with a seven-man rotation. (No sense in playing non-scholarship players against a No. 23 team.) David Wear had easily the worst line of the night, missing all three of shots and grabbing two rebounds in 21 (!) minutes.
San Diego State owns California: Ben Howland was reluctant to say so, but it’s hard to deny given the Aztecs’ 26-game winning streak over other teams in the state. SDSU has become a perennial March Madness contender under Steve Fisher. That’s one reason fans turned out to pack the Honda Center — making up the vast majority of the 17,204 in attendance despite a 90-minute drive.
“I’m very, very, very, proud. First with our crowd,” Fisher said. “They have allowed us to grow our program and they displayed that tonight.”
Extra note: Lamb to UNLV? Mike Grimala of RunRebs.com reported earlier today that that Tyler Lamb visited UNLV. The former UCLA guard left the Bruins last Sunday after deciding he wouldn’t get enough minutes upon returning from post-surgery knee swelling. If he becomes a Rebel, he would follow in the steps of Chace Stanback and Mike Moser.