LAS VEGAS – No. 2 UCLA (11-0) has made a name for itself this season for its fast offense featuring well-orchestrated ball movement.
At least for one half against the Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2) on Saturday, it’s a completely different Bruin team on the court.
While UCLA leads 40-37 at halftime, the identity of the team is nowhere to be found.
With 12 first-half turnovers, the Bruins are on pace for the most turnovers given away all season – the current season-high is 20. And with just nine assists, the men’s basketball team is also on its way to tying its lowest assist total of the year – 18.
Coach Steve Alford can’t be happy in the locker room. The assist-to-turnover ratio is something he often points to after games as a measure of how well the offense flowed. If the current pace holds, this will also be UCLA’s first game with more turnovers than assists.
Fresh off a near triple-double effort Wednesday night, freshman forward TJ Leaf is the main culprit with four turnovers off errant passes and relentless Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes had nine steals at the half and a 15-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
While sophomore guard Aaron Holiday provided an instant spark off the bench with 10 points and four steals, he turned the ball over three times himself.
Outside of turnovers, the Bruins shot the ball well – 51.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3 – but couldn’t stop the Buckeyes’ 48.5 clip from the field.