UCLA Bruins freshman guard Zach LaVine provided a huge momentum swing in the first half, going 5-of-5 from the floor and scoring 13 points off the bench in UCLA’s victory over the Nevada Wolfpack.
To match LaVine’s production, Jordan Adams, a sophomore guard from Atlanta, GA, had 13 points. While it was not nearly as efficient, it was important to the Bruins. The first half was a good indicator as to what the Bruins’ season could be. A 56-point first half is a good barometer as to what can happen, and it all starts with the catalyst LaVine.
With the three fouls LaVine had in the first half, he had to sit for a bit while coach Steve Alford game-planned around it. The season is bright for UCLA’s young squad. Adams is the best overall player on UCLA’s roster, and could be one of the best in the Pac-12 conference. The Bruins’ offense struggled until LaVine started going off and Adams started hitting shots.
Not only did Adams shoot and score, he distributed and dimed his way into one of his best performances of the season. Adams is currently averaging 22 points per game on the season, and he eclipsed that halfway through the second half against the Wolfpack.
However, it was not Adams’ game to shine tonight; instead, the spotlight was on the young, talented guard in LaVine. Averaging 12 points per game on the season, Adams had that in the first half. His foul trouble hindered his production in the second half because he was on the bench.
Coach Steve Alford needs to stick to the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when dealing with LaVine’s minutes and role. He should keep LaVine as a super-sub like what the New York Knicks do with J.R. Smith. LaVine provides instant offense and a hole on defense, and if Alford can disguise him on defense, he can keep his offense out of foul trouble and keep him in the game in dire situations.
UCLA won the game 105-84 against the Wolfpack, and it was all about the freshman spark plug.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII