The UCLA Bruins should have been ready to blow through the Arizona State Sun Devils coming off their impressive win against the Wildcats in Tucson less than 48 hours earlier. They weren’t and a quick look at the game’s stats give a clear picture of how outmatched the Bruins were.
The key numbers were a 35% shooting percentage, including going five for 24 (21%) on threes, only six free throw attempts in the entire game, being out rebounded 49 to 29, and having 10 shots blocked against them (to only two blocks against Arizona St.). The underlying forces behind those numbers? Bad Bruin shooting and the absolute inability to contend on either half of the court with 7’2″ Jordan Bachynski.
offensive rebounds as well for a total of 15, double his season average. The Sun Devils outscored UCLA in the paint, 46-26.
UCLA should have expected great guard play from Evan Gordon and Jahii Carson, and all around good play from Carrick Felix, who also helped plug up the middle and grabbed 11 rebounds while scoring 23. But, what they did not expect was to see their Pac-12 leading 47.7% shooting pct. plummet, nor the improved Bruin team defense in general and the individual defense of Shabazz Muhammad regress to mythical nothingness.
Finally, one stat, applicable to both teams, probably stands out the most. UCLA has had a significant depth problem, due to the defections of Joshua Smith and Tyler Lamb, and then compounded by the injury to Travis Wear, and the Sun Devils have had disciplinary and other problems deplete their roster, and in yesterday’s game, the two points scored by Arizona St’s. Ruslan Pateev were the only two points scored off the bench by either team.
After the game, Ben Howland considered the letdown following the win over Arizona, and deemed this loss “a learning experience”.