Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


Kris saves, Moses invests — Kris Wilkes dominates early, then Moses Brown takes over, as UCLA’s Genesis is a Commanding 96-71 conquering of Purdue Fort Wayne

You would think that losing stud playmaker Aaron Holiday and consistent Big Man Thomas Welsh would create some major problems for UCLA Basketball 2018-19.  Those problems were not apparent on opening night, as Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands, and newcomer Moses Brown MORE than picked up the slack in the Bruins’ impressive 96-71 victory over overmatched Purdue Fort Wayne.  Don’t laugh at that seemingly low level of competition — This Mastodon team beat Indiana each of the last two years, including a 20-point beatdown last season!

But there was no way they could stay with the new and improved Bruins.  UCLA’s best returning player, Kris Wilkes, came out on fire, scoring 13 of the Bruins’ first 22 Points.  He finished the half with 19, and ended the game with a career-high 27.  Wilkes was a known commodity coming in.  He was EXPECTED to be the Offensive leader.  No one expected him to average 27 Points, but everyone knew he could be relied on.  The big question marks were:  Could Jaylen Hands fill in at the Point for Aaron Holiday, and could Freshman Center Moses Brown fill the void left by Thomas Welsh?

Hands answered the first question IN PART, with a good game, scoring 18, with 7 Assists against only 2 Turnovers, plus 2 Steals, 2 Blocks, and 3 Boards.  That being said, he did NOT “run the offense” like Holiday or Lonzo Ball did for the last couple of years.  He was not really a floor general out there, directing the Offensive gameplan/attack.  But this team doesn’t really require that to score in bunches.  There is just a lot of motion, and ball movement, where everyone is just looking for an open man.  Totally different than Lonzo controlling the ball, finding a cutter with eagle-eye vision, and hitting him with a laser-focused needle-threading dime.  Totally different, but tonight, still very effective.  Maybe a true pass-first, solid ballhandling Point Guard will be needed later in the season, but it wasn’t a problem against a Purdue Fort Wayne team.

As for the hole at the Center position, there is NO QUESTION about that any more.  Moses looks like he may just lead the Blues to the Promised Land.  The 7′ 1″ Frosh Brown scored 19 on 9-for-10 shooting, dished out 2 Assists, stole 1 ball, blocked a shot, and ALTERED a dozen more.  But the stat that jumps out of the box score and into your face?  Brown pulled down SEVENTEEN Rebounds.  This guy is a game-changing presence on Defense, constantly forcing the Dons to abort drives to the hoop, instead passing out to the perimeter for low-percentage shots (most of which Brown rebounded).  With all due respect to the stellar career of Welsh and to Gyorgy Goloman, this hoop/lane protection has NOT been the case in Westwood for a long time.  This Defensive force inside changes everything.  Oregon’s jumping jacks have been blocking and altering shots like crazy the last couple of years, and that made them better than UCLA, but now UCLA may be on par with the Ducks in that crucial aspect of the game.  UCLA also has Jalen Hill on the front line.  He didn’t block any shots, but he did snatch 7 Caroms.  And soon, the Bruins will add big man Cody Riley, who should also make them more formidable inside.

The Bruins rode Wilkes, Hands, and Brown to an early double-digit lead.  The Mastodons cut it to 7 once, but then another Bruin run put the game out of reach.  It was 48-31 at the Intermission, and the Dons never threatened in the Second Half.  The Bruins’ Offense was able to take advantage of a quick-release transition game, knowing that Brown would own the Defensive glass.  UCLA scored 48 in each half, despite their leading scorer from the Exhibition Game, Prince Ali, having a rough shooting night.  This team has enough weapons to survive and overcome any one player having an off-game.  Truly stepping up tonight was Chris Smith, who has apparently worked on his outside shot in the offseason.  Smith went 3-for-3 from behind the arc, scored 13 Points, and pulled down 8 Boards.  He also got 2 Assists and blocked a shot.

Also contributing to the win were new Bruins Jules Bernard and David Singleton.  Bernard was the more aggressive one, driving to the hoop several times, and getting off 7 shots (making 2).  His activity did lead to achievement, as he also picked up 3 Assists and 3 Steals.  When Riley and Tyger Campbell return from injury, this will almost certainly be the deepest team in recent memory.  And if Moses can duplicate this kind of production against the higher level of talent that awaits, the Bruins could have a year to remember.

Speaking of things you will remember forever, here are 33 more photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad…

"KRIS AND MO STEAL THE SHOW" was published on November 7th, 2018 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.

Copyright © 2007 All photos and stories herein are sole property of
Any commercial re-use without express written permission is strictly prohibited, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.