The Mocs had the game all but locked out Friday night. But then Nevada threw up a prayer that was answered. The Mocs also had a chance to beat Kennesaw State on Tuesday night, but couldn't put it together in the closing seconds.
So now, less than 48 hours after the loss to Nevada, the Mocs must get back on the court...against what is likely the best team they will play all year. How do the Mocs respond against UCLA on Sunday night?
The Bruins are 4-0 on the young season, having pounded Oakland and Sacramento State by an average of 33 points per game. They beat Morehead State by 11 at home on Friday night. Drexel was the only truly close game so far, who they beat by 5.
The Mocs will be smaller than the Bruins, but that should come as no shock. They have been smaller than each of their last two opponents. The Mocs were still able to outrebound Kennesaw State and rebound basically evenly with Nevada. Can the Mocs continue to play like that against the Bruins?
David Wear and Kyle Anderson are each starters. Wear is averaging 10.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is 6-10. Anderson is 6-9. He is averaging 10.3 points per game, along with 9.8 rebounds and 8 assists per game. He is also averaging 1.5 blocks per game. He had a triple double against Morehead State on Friday night, with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists, to go along with three blocks. Travis Wear is 6-10, and he played his first game on Friday night, when he collected eleven points and four rebounds.
Jordan Adams is the player that gets the most press for the Bruins. He is averaging 22.3 points per game, to go along with 5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and, 3.5 steals per game. He is shooting 47.8% from three point range, can drive to the basket, and is making 88% of his free throws. Finding anyone to stop Adams will be incredibly difficult out on the perimeter as well.
The Bruins also have not been turning the ball over. They have a TO% of 14.8%, which is good for 39th in the country. So the Mocs pressure defense may not bother the Bruins.
Gee McGhee has been the leading scorer for the Mocs, but Z Mason showed on Friday night why he is so good. Greg Pryor was not intimidated by playing at Nevada either. Those three guys all showed up well on Friday night. It will be interesting to see how those guys handle the pressure of playing in Pauley Pavillion agains the Bruins.
The Mocs have been playing with so much effort and energy. It will be interesting to see if they are intimidated playing against the highly touted Bruins. Playing against the bigger Bruins, it will be important for Mason and TJ Williams to hold their own. The Mocs will need to knock down shots and rebound the basketball, while forcing turnovers to have any shot at all. Jordan Adams MAY be able to be contained by McGhee, Pryor and Casey Jones. But it is hard to imagine them holding their own against the inside presence of Wear and Anderson. UCLA 89, Mocs 68.