Lamb Shanks the Anteaters — Tyler Lamb scores a career-high 17 (in the first 28 minutes), and Norman Powell adds a career-high 19, as UCLA crushes UC Irvine, 89-60, to rise above .500 for the year

It’s just a coincidence, but the Bruins are now 4-0 since their Nelsonectomy, and 6-5 on the season.  Of course, surgically removing Reeves Nelson is NOT the reason for the apparent turnaround — Instead, you can chalk it up to finally reaching the softer side of the schedule.  Yes, team chemistry and attitude are markedly improved, but that is a PRODUCT of winning, not the CAUSE of winning.

On Tuesday, the Bruins’ latest victim was woefully-bad UC Irvine, 89-60.  The Anteaters actually started out the game playing well, but UCLA’s obvious superiority soon took over.  After being down 8-10, the Bruins went on a 32-13 run to build a 17-point lead, and were up by 14 at the Break.

In the 1st Half, the Bruins were led by Point Guard Lazeric Jones, with 9 Points and 2 Assists, while Tyler Lamb and David Wear each scored 8.  Lamb asserted himself in the first 8 minutes of the 2nd Half, and finished with 17 Points and 4 Steals.  He also guarded the best Anteater (when the Bruins weren’t in a Zone), leading a Defensive effort that saw UCI shoot only 38% from the floor.

Lamb was the MVP because his 17 all came before garbage time, whereas Norman Powell got 7 of his 19 Points in the latter stages of the game when the margin was about 25-30 Points.  Nonetheless, it was still a coming-out party for Powell, who hit 4-of-6 from behind the arc, and added 7 Rebounds as well.  Those 7 Boards are no fluke — He had 10 in the previous game.  He also had a highlight-reel dunk off an alley-oop on Tuesday night, showing his storied athleticism.  Powell played 22 minutes, and figures to continue seeing that kind of playing time, even if games aren’t out of hand.

The Bruins expanded their lead after the Intermission quickly and methodically, but not just because of the excellent Guard play.  They also started the 2nd Half outscoring Irvine IN THE PAINT 16-0 .  David Wear, Travis Wear, and Josh Smith controlled the Key all game, with David and Josh tallying 12 Points a piece on the night.  Josh also had a highlight-reel play, on a powerful dunk where he achieved more air-time than he has all year.  It is starting to look like his conditioning efforts are finally starting to pay off.  His noticeably-improved efforts to avoid foul trouble are also working.

So everything is finally starting to fall into place for the Bruins… but the question remains:  Is the improved attitude and chemistry enough for them to compete with GOOD teams?  We will find out soon enough, as the Bruins get Richmond on Friday, followed by the start of Pac-12 Conference play.  UCLA definitely LOOKS better recently, but considering the competition, nothing can be taken for granted right now.


One response to “KNACK OF LAMB”

  1. Barnes2Stokes Avatar

    All we really know about this year’s squad is that it can beat the crappy teams, get run out of the gym by the good teams and our best player was a total headcase.