In a 77-60 win over Colorado at the Sports Arena, UCLA’s duo of senior point guards looked like senior point guards.
It’s no coincidence that what could have been the Bruins’ best win of the season was paired with 17 assists between Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson. As a team, the Bruins’ 26 assists were the most in a game since 2006 when the likes of Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo were dishing the ball.
With Jones contributing nine and Anderson eight, sophomore Tyler Lamb wasn’t going to be undone and added six of his own. After the game, coach Ben Howland raved about his team’s ability to share the ball.
“I thought we were making the extra pass,” Howland said. “It’s fun to watch. That’s how basketball is meant to be played.”
True to form, Howland wasn’t wholly satisfied.
“We could have had 30 assists but we missed some gimmes,” he said.
He wasn’t the only one. Jones ““ who has started to take fewer shots over the past two games in favor of finding an open teammate ““ pored over the stat sheet during the post-game press conference.
“I had four turnovers,” he said when prompted for what stood out to him. “That’s not good at all. Nine assists looked good until I saw four turnovers. I can’t do that. I have to take better care of the ball.”
Nonetheless, UCLA secured another Pac-12 homestand sweep with two blowout wins this weekend. The real challenge will be winning on the road in Washington next weekend as the Bruins have not won a game outside of Southern California all year. The team will have a rare two-day break before returning to practice Tuesday.
Brown shut down
Colorado senior guard Carlon Brown led the Buffs in scoring coming into Saturday’s contest with 13.4 points per game. Howland charged Lamb with the task of guarding Brown and Lamb accepted the challenge as he’s done all season. Brown finished with just six points and Howland was quick to point out that two of those points came while Lamb was on the bench.
“I’ve known (Brown) ever since I was in middle school,” Lamb said of the pair’s Inland Empire upbringing. “I’ve known what he’s capable of. He’s a very good player. I knew I was going to have to stop him.”
Home sweet home
The “home” crowd of 9,253 at the Bruins’ temporary downtown venue was the largest this season. Both Howland and his players credited the crowd for contributing to the win.
“Our fans came out and supported us and we fed off it a little bit,” Jones said. “They helped us today. It was really great.”
The one that got away
Colorado freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie contributed nine points in the loss Saturday. Dinwiddie went to Taft High in Woodland Hills but was not recruited heavily by Howland and his staff, something the ninth-year coach said he regrets.
“He’s going to be a great player,” Howland said. “That was a huge mistake on my part. Watching him, I’m kicking myself. He comes from a great family. You make some mistakes sometimes in recruiting and that was a definite mistake.”