UCLA's Defense Puts Away Biola in Exhibition Match-up
By Bruin Basketball Report
UCLA used a suffocating defense in the second half to put away a stubborn Biola team, 76-42, in the second and last exhibition game of the season.
The Bruins held the Eagles to just 15 points in the final half, keeping them to just 21.9% (7 of 32) shooting.
However the start of the game was quite a different story. Biola came out of the locker room confident and energized while UCLA seemed to be missing a few gears. The Eagles were within easy striking range for most of the first half.
Speedy point guard Marlon King gave Bruin defenders all they could handle to stay in front of him while Eagles big men Rocky Hampton and Josh Miller controlled the painted area.
Biola was deliberate on the offensive end and spread the court effectively to neutralize UCLA's help defense - a strategy used successfully by Bruin opponents in the past. With the court spread, King took his defender, either Darren Collison or Jrue Holiday, off the dribble for a score or an assist to a teammate.
It wasn't until UCLA went on a 10-2 run with under five minutes left in the first half to take a 38-27 lead did the Bruins finally create some distance from their NAIA division challengers.
Darren Collison scored a team-high 14 points and Jrue Holiday and Michael Roll chipped in 11 apiece to lead the UCLA attack. Holiday was 3 of 4 from behind the arc while Roll showed great confidence with his shot finishing 5 of 8 from the field.
UCLA opened the second half with a 12-4 run to go ahead 50-31 and then the Bruin defense took over. The Bruin freshmen were especially effective on the defensive end. Freshmen Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee helped to put the clamps on Marlon King while Drew Gordon and J'mison Morgan stablized the middle when they were both inserted into the lineup.
In the early going so far, albeit just two exhibition games, both Alfred Aboya and James Keefe have not been able to establish an effective presence inside on either offense or defense. On offense, both players are too easily being knocked off the blocks (by NAIA-level players) and on defense have not met the challenge of controlling the paint. Both veteran players will need to step it up as the season progresses, otherwise the Bruins will need one or both of their freshmen, Gordon and Morgan, to develop their own games quickly.
UCLA opens its regular season against Prairie View A&M on Wednesday, November 13 in a first-round game of the 2K Sports Classic. The game begins at 7:00PM in Pauley Pavilion.
BBR Notes: After the Biola game, UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland announced that junior forward Nikola Dragovic had been arrested earlier in the day on "suspicion" of misdeameanor battery against his ex-girlfrined. Howland said no action would be taken until more information on the matter was known.
(photo credit: AP)