Enjoy Your Lunch, Ladies — UCLA serves up a sloppy, 19-Turnover effort, blowing most of a 16-point lead, but Stanford is even sloppier, with 22 Turnovers, as Lazeric Jones schools the Cardinal with 6 Steals, 1 Block, 6 Assists, 2 Caroms, and 21 Points to lead the Bruins to a 72-61 victory
The Celebration of The Return of Josh the Great may have been a little premature. After being dominant in the last two games, Bruin Center Josh Smith once again found himself in severe foul trouble all night on Thursday, forcing some of his teammates to STEP UP. But with Travis Wear returning from injury on the Inside, and Lazeric Jones controlling the game from the Outside, the Bruins were just fine without Smith.
UCLA rode an early 19-2 run — mostly performed with Smith already on the bench — to take an early 16-point lead. But due to a rash of ballhandling mistakes and horrible passes, the Bruins let the Cardinal back in the game. Stanford cut the lead all the way down to just 3 Points in the Second Half, but UCLA found their poise, and made the plays to stay in control.
With about 3 minutes left in the game, up by only 3, 56-53, Jones hit a three-pointer to start a 7-0 run that culminated with a Jones lay-up, and upped the lead back to 10. After that, Stanford fouled and fouled and fouled. The Bruins added their final 9 points all on Free Throws, making the final score 72-61.
Travis Wear scored 13 with 5 Rebounds, despite being only 75% due to a high ankle sprain. Jerime Anderson added 12 Points and 6 Assists, and Smith ended with 7 Points and 7 Boards. The Bruins dominated the Paint all night, thanks to tough team Defense, forcing the Cardinal to shoot less than 40% from the field. Anthony Stover definitely gets credit for some of that interior intimidation, tallying 3 Blocks and 4 Rebounds in his 15 minutes of play. But the most impressive stat of the night was the Bruins’ team total of 15 Steals, which totally disrupted Stanford’s Offense, and led to several Fast Breaks for UCLA.
If the Bruins can keep up that Defensive tenacity and ball-hawking, while cutting down on their Offensive miscues, they will have a chance on Saturday to avenge their previous loss to Cal, just like they just avenged their heartbreaking loss to Stanford.