If the two exhibition games are any indication, the UCLA men’s basketball team still has a ways to go.

While the Bruins closed out the exhibition portion of their schedule with a 74-57 win over Humboldt State on Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion, it was far from the dominant pre-season victories the team has grown accustomed to the past few seasons.

Noticeably absent was the tough, lock-down defense that Ben

Howland-coached teams have become known for, as a number of Humboldt State players were able to drive by UCLA defenders, resulting in 28 points in the paint.

Sophomore forward Drew Gordon notched his second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and senior guard Michael Roll returned to pour in a team-high 17 points, yet the Bruins shot just 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field.

Yet most painful of all for Howland was the fact the Bruins were out-rebounded 46-38, including a 24-11 margin in a first half in which the Bruins failed to secure an offensive rebound.

“Our offensive rebounding is just not very good right now,” Howland said bluntly.

Gordon believes it was a matter of the Humboldt State players, led by center Brian Morris’ 19 points and 11 rebounds, crashing the glass harder than the Bruin players.

“Humboldt State did an excellent job of keeping us off the glass, which resulted in them boarding harder than we did,” Gordon said. “I think with time we’ll definitely see the tables turn a little bit.”

If there was a significant difference between Tuesday’s game and last week’s game against Concordia, it was that the offense seemed to flow much smoother, thanks in part to the return of Roll and sophomore point guard Jerime Anderson.

After sitting out almost a month with a groin injury, Anderson saw his first action, scoring nine points and dishing out two assists in 29 minutes. A week after point guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid committed seven turnovers as the Bruins’ point guard, Anderson turned the ball over just twice.

“Obviously we were much smoother tonight with him in the ball game as opposed to last week when we played our first game,” Howland said.

For Anderson, it was great to back on the floor.

“It feels real good,” Anderson said. “I definitely wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do tonight because I was cramping out there a little bit. It felt real good just to get out there on the court and play with my team and kind of get the feeling back.”

Near the end of the game Anderson began to cramp up and had to leave the floor, but after the game he said everything was fine.

Another Bruin who had to deal with some cramping was Roll, who also made his season debut on Tuesday after sitting out the Bruins’ first exhibition game with a sprained ankle.

Howland praised the leadership Roll displayed on the floor against Humboldt State, pointing to one play in particular. With both teams running up and down the floor at a breakneck pace to start the game, Roll had the ball and found himself wide-open for a 3-pointer. Yet rather than take the shot, Roll opted to run pass the ball, much to the displeasure of the 6,852 in attendance, and let the Bruins catch their breath.

“I’ve been here for awhile and just kind of being a part of it you understand what (Howland) wants, what he doesn’t want,” Roll said. “A lot of us were pretty tired at the time so I just set it up, kick it out, and just set our offense so we could get a quick breather.”

As for the cramping?

“Game is a lot different than practice as far as intensity-wise so we need to drink a little more water,” Roll said.

FORMER BRUIN BEING TREATED FOR LEUKEMIA: Tuesday it was announced that Bruin great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is being treated for a rare form of leukemia.

“”Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) is the ultimate competitor, and with the fight he has, he’ll beat this thing,” Howland said. “Everyone in the UCLA family is praying and pulling for him.”