By all accounts, I think it’s safe to say UCLA didn’t beat Texas as much as they made fewer mistakes. Nothing about this win restored my confidence in UCLA as much as it said they’re merely two points better than one of the Big 12’s biggest disappointments.
At the same time, a win is a win so I have to applaud the Bruins for leaving Houston on a positive.
UCLA shot 41.2% from the field yet ended the game on a 12-2 run. That still wasn’t enough to ice the game until Texas missed a last second 3-point attempt. Even the usually efficient Larry Drew II was affected as he coupled his six assists with a season-high five turnovers.
The worst part about this game was that a national audience got reminded of how much UCLA struggled so far. Yet at the same time, they watched Jordan Adams (18 points) show he’s one of the nation’s best freshmen and Shabazz Muhammad (16 points) prove that he’s slowly rounding into game shape.
Texas shot 37% as a team so credit UCLA’s defense as well. They also overcame an eight-point deficit with three minutes left, which is huge for a team that has struggled in close games so far. Yet if you take anything away, it’s a performance that’s definitive of their season. Win by talent despite poor execution.
So is this is a momentum-changing win? It’s hard to say considering it wasn’t an impressive performance. I’m not taking much from it but who knows. For a young team that’s faced quite a bit of adversity, it might be one of those wake-up games that remind them what they can be. But it can also say they still have a lot of work to do before regaining the respect they had in preseason.