Bruins hold off Gauchos, preserve perfect record

— UCLA’s 89-76 win was solid given that UCSB shot lights out early and looked like a team that could earn a March Madness berth. The key was a 27-of-36 showing at the free throw line, the first time the Bruins shot more than 30 in a game this season.

They are 8-0 for the first time since 2006-07.

— Freshman Zach LaVine led the team with 13 points at halftime, showing off his range with a number of deep threes. He still needs to improve his shot selection, but doesn’t seem fazed by a hand in his face or rushing defenders. I write more about him here.

Still relatively unknown nationally, LaVine was named No. 12 on ESPN’s latest top-100 prospect board.

“It’s a confidence booster,” he said of the increased attention. “It’s always been in the back of my head, just the ‘I told you so. I should have been this, should have been that.’”

— The team will likely struggle all season with containing skilled big men. UCSB’s Andy Alan Williams led the game with 23 points, adding eight rebounds and an assists. He drew two fouls in the first two minutes on UCLA center Tony Parker, relegating him to the bench for the rest of the first half.

Parker did finish with nine points and six rebounds, contributing what coach Steve Alford called his “best minutes” of the season.

“It’s tough,” Anderson said of Parker’s early foul trouble. “Tony’s a big body in there. … We needed Tone. He did a much better job in the second half. Gave us great minutes.”

Senior Travis Wear also had four fouls in 15 minutes off the bench, and still looks rusty after having an appendectomy in late October.

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  • Reformed Droog

    I’m confused – Was that a Tony! Toni! Toné! reference?

    • Jack Wang

      He pronounced it “tone” on the second reference.

  • Michael

    Alan* Williams, not Andy Williams. Thanks for the post!

  • LTEfan

    Not having seen any of the games yet, I am curious which position Kyle Anderson is guarding on defense. He seemed too slow last season to defend most point guards. Who guards the point if he isn’t?

    • bruinray97

      Norman Powell or B. Alford. Shame you haven’t seen Lavine play. That kid is playing lights out here in the early going. Like all Bruins fans, I’m curious to see how he does against better competition.

      • LTEfan

        Thanks for the information. I live in New York now, so I don’t get to see too many of the soft-schedule early season games. Lavine staying with his UCLA commitment after the coaching change was huge.

    • Mark

      That’s a trick question. Nobody on UCLA is guarding anyone on the opponent at the moment. Ucla is really going to have to shore up its defense, starting this Saturday vs Missouri. And by shoring up, I mean actually playing defense. (Then we can talk about playing good defense.)