Sunday, January 10, 2021

UCLA declaws Zona on the road 81-76. Bruins now 9-2, 5-0.

 UCLA remains Top Dog and only undefeated team in the Pac-12. 


2-min highlight

23-min highlight

Q & A's 

The Box

Postgame Quotes – UCLA at Arizona

UCLA 81, Arizona 76
January 9, 2021
Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach
Opening statement
“We had some guys, throughout the game, trade off making big shots for us and getting the ball in the basket. We played a game today where 10 guys made a field goal. It was a high-level game. They were making shots – we were able to answer them. Kenneth Nwuba and Jaylen Clark gave us major minutes. We took the lead in the first half, gave it back, they tied it at half, and they made some tough ones. Akinjo played great, Tubelis played great for them, but I really felt that we were going to have to win the game at the foul line. They play big. They’re extremely physical, after Cody [Riley] dominated the other night they were going to be all over him. They dominated a great team in Colorado here at home, and they were coming off a lackluster performance, very uncharacteristic from the effort standpoint, physicality of a Sean Miller team. I knew they were going to be physical tonight coming off what happened to them on Thursday. That said, we made the free throws. That was going to be the key. I thought we were going to have to get to the line, and we were able to capitalize – 27 for 32 was a big key for us.”
on Tyger Campbell and Johnny Juzang
“We were able to get Tyger in space. He did a great job off the pick-and-roll today. Johnny’s a guy – he basically didn’t play last year, he practiced all year at Kentucky. He goes from not getting in to starting and playing 30 minutes a game. It’s almost like he’s a freshman out there. He’s just going to keep getting better as the season goes on. I thought we were able to get him some shots today. That was important. We were able to get him in space, he’s showing you he’s more than a 3-point shooter. When he can get some lay-ups, some free throws, pull-ups, you can see the ball go in the basket. It’s a lot easier. I just think you’re going to knock down more threes. It’s hard when you just try to stay behind that line all the time. He attacked in space off the dribble today, we’ve got to set him up to do that more. I’ve got to encourage him to do that more.”
on the team’s frontcourt
“Jaylen Clark played great as well. We’re starting to slowly work without Chris [Smith] a little bit with a big lineup, but with the foul trouble we couldn’t play [Jalen Hill]. So we were paranoid about the defensive backboard in this game. Jaime [Jaquez Jr.] obviously had 7 [defensive rebounds], nobody else had more than 3. He was the key on the defensive backboard. I also thought it helped that Jaylen Clark played really well in the first half, and Jaime was able to get some rest. I think he’s going to play better when he gets some rest, I think he showed that with the second half offensive outburst.”
on Kenneth Nwuba’s extended action
“I told him he was MVP. The guys were pouring water on him in the locker room. He said he was going to use all five of his fouls – he saved one. He’s just such a great kid. He’s thousands of miles from home in Nigeria, lost his host parent this summer to cancer in Mississippi – that brought him over, his adopted dad – but he’s always got a smile. He’s always cheering, trying to get better every day. Really happy for him. Maybe we found something he can help us [with] a little bit more. I thought he made a really good post move too, it just didn’t go down for him. Moments like that, it’s great as a coach, when you see a kid like that that maintains, there are so many kids now opting out, quitting on their team when they don’t play. And here is a guy who just keeps trying to get better without getting in a game. He comes in every day and asks ‘How’re you doing coach?’ and works his butt off in practice, so I was obviously happy for him.”
Sean Miller, Arizona Head Coach
on James Akinjo
“James Akinjo, he didn’t have a good night against USC. One of the things that you’re always anxious to see on a player is ‘how do they bounce back, how do they respond?’ James and I had a meeting, I think there’s some things he really learned in the USC game. If you’re the engine that makes a team go, you can be a really good engine and you can be broken down engine, you’re still the engine. I think that in the USC game, he might have let some of his shots that didn’t go down affect other parts of his game. We’re not nearly as good when he’s not that type of player for us. Tonight, he was great. 25 points, 8 assists, 1 turnover. I don’t think we could have asked much more from him. I thought [Bennedict] Mathurin really did a good job as well. Ažuolas [Tubelis] is going to be steady from this point forward, but Benn is a guy that now that we’ve played the games we’ve played, we’ve got to get him a bigger role. We’ve got to get him in there more, from a defensive perspective, he’s going to make plenty of mistakes but being that he’s 18 years old and a freshman, I have great faith that two weeks, four weeks from now there’s some things that Benn’s going to be better at than he is now because he’s so young. Having said that, we are a horrible defensive team. We played against two very good teams, but that’s who you judge yourself by. Unfortunately for us, we had a lot of great moments on offense. This team has learned how to score, we can do it inside, we can do it off the dribble. We have guys coming in off the bench that are scoring for us, and we’re not turning the ball over. Tonight, you play against UCLA and have nine turnovers – that’s a heck of a thing. But we can’t get the value out of that because we just have no answer on defense. Straight line drives, in and around the basket, the fouling is off the charts right now. We have a saying – undisciplined teams or players are coached by an undisciplined coach. Fouling is discipline, sometimes it might be you’re outmatched, but for the most part if you have a problem as a team fouling, that’s something we, or I, have to correct. UCLA tonight got to the line 32 times, they converted 27. We got a couple guys just absolutely hammering the other team, it’s not basketball. We have to adjust, our players have to adjust, I and our staff have to do an even better job coaching and teaching them because fouling is a big part of the game of basketball, and we’re on the wrong end of that right now.”
on what he learned about his team this week
“We can’t defend, we really struggle. I wouldn’t use the word frustrated, every team presents its subset of problems, but tonight and USC – if you really look closely at Washington State, we kind of willed that out. We were in that same type of game here tonight. The difference is we couldn’t make the plays – the big rebound, the big stop. If you get a couple stops down the home stretch, you’re playing to win. But we could never quite put ourselves in that position because when we needed the stop, the possession usually ended in a foul.”

Team stats as of Jan 10, 2021. For full stat sheet, click here

Up next: Washington State at Pauley Thursday, Jan 14. Go, Bruins!!! 

No comments: