UCLA nearly won a rebounding battle for just the second time in seven games, and the 11th time this season.
The Bruins controlled the game early by hitting the glass, easing its way to an 88-80 road victory over Stanford. The inside effort came from all over the roster: five players having grabbed at least three rebounds at halftime, but none had more than five for a 20-13 edge. The Cardinal beat out UCLA (41-38) by the final buzzer with some late caroms.
Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson combined for 63 points on 62.8 percent shooting, also chipping in 22 rebounds and seven assists in what was easily their best collective performance of the season. Anderson notched his seventh double-double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Perhaps not coincidentally, David and Travis Wear scored just seven combined points on seven shots, with the latter fouling out before making a field goal.
After the disastrous effort at Cal, the Bruins needed the Bay Area split to stay alive in the conference race. As Larry Drew II said a few weeks ago, they’re still a team capable of playing incredibly well or shockingly poor. Saturday afternoon was UCLA’s best shooting performance from beyond the arc (54.5 percent) since beating Fresno State in December, and their highest scoring effort since beating Missouri that same month.
Stanford kept the game close but never fully seized control — unsurprising once you consider the Cardinal’s numerous missed shots. Some point-blank misses in the paint hurt, but it was Stanford’s inability to find a rhythm from beyond the arc that doomed them. It made over 55 percent of its downtown attempts in their last four wins, but barely made a fifth against UCLA. For the second straight game, the Cardinal shot below 30 percent from long range and lost.
UCLA is now 6-1 in games called by Bill Walton.