By halftime on Tuesday night, the game was all but over.
UCLA went back into its locker room at the Lahaina Civic Center in a 26-point hole against No. 5 Kansas. The Bruins had allowed the Jayhawks to outshoot them, 58 percent to 34, and outrebound them, 23 to 15. KU had 11 fast break points to UCLA’s two.
By the end of the night, Kansas had advanced to the finals of the Maui Invitational with a commanding 92-73 win. The Bruins had stayed within single digits for less than eight minutes. They trailed by at least 20 points for all but 62 seconds of the final 28 minutes.
The same zone defense that had flustered UNLV one night earlier didn’t put up as much of a fight against an offense that was coming off a 123-point eruption against Chaminade. KU hit 8 of 15 3-pointers, exploiting a weakness that has become common in Steve Alford-coached teams.
Ball control remains an issue for a backcourt that looks disjointed despite its depth. The Bruins had 11 assists against 11 turnovers, which was actually a slight improvement over its previous assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.91 (231st nationally).
Isaac Hamilton bounced back from an ugly, turnover-laden showing against UNLV, leading UCLA with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Freshman guard Aaron Holiday had 16 points and a team-high three assists, but also committed four fouls. Junior Bryce Alford made just one field goal, finishing with six points.
Less than two weeks into its third season under Alford, UCLA is already 0-5 against ranked nonconference opponents. No. 1 Kentucky, No. 10 Gonzaga, and No. 9 North Carolina all dot the team’s December slate.
The Bruins will play Wake Forest in the tournament’s third-place game at 4:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday.