Certainly losing your two star players to a suspension for “violating team rules” cannot bode well in the Pac-12. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams were suspended for the Oregon Ducks game as they violated team rules — the UCLA Bruins struggled in their absence.
Adams leads the team in scoring at 17 points per game and Anderson is more of a do-it-all player averaging 15 points, roughly nine rebounds and seven assists per game. Losing dominant players, the UCLA Bruins had to look for 32 points they get every night from their stars from players that are not accustomed to taking over a game.
Leading UCLA in scoring was coach’s son Bryce Alford, scoring a career-high 31 points on 7-of-16 shooting and going 12-of-13 from the line; having himself a great night. Alford and fellow freshman bench mate Zach LaVine are not used to starting, but they had to in Anderson and Adams’ absence.
LaVine struggled in his first start of the season going 7-of-17 from the floor, tallying 17 points. His volume-scorer approach to the game is more likely a heroics-off-the-bench approach, but as a starter, he had to change his game and shoot more. He took the most shots on the team and was not the Bruins’ leading scorer, which meant that he struggled from the floor.
The Ducks dominated this game from start to finish. Imagine had they shot better than 40 percent from the floor going just 24-63. UCLA brought it on defense, which is surprising, and fell short in a heart-breaking double-overtime loss 87-83. Had the Bruins gotten their usual 32 points from Anderson and Adams, they would have easily beaten a hot Ducks team.
David Wear did all he could, hitting a miraculous 30-foot jumper to send the game to overtime, but the Bruins showed fatigue late in the second overtime period. The Ducks did all they could to give this game to the Bruins, but they lacked a veteran offensive presence because of the two suspensions.
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII