That's more like it.
UCLA put together its best performance of the season with a 62-39 clobbering of Pepperdine on Monday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
It was double-trouble for the Waves, who took a 1-2 shot from twin brothers David Wear and Travis Wear, who both had their best game yet since transferring to UCLA (from North Carolina). David tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while Travis finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Senior guard Lazeric Jones led the Bruins (2-4) with 14 points, six steals and four assists. The twins and Jones all agreed the team came together on the defensive end after severe issues through the team's first five games.
"As a team, we came together a little bit tonight," Travis Wear said. "We helped each out on the defensive end. We played unselfish, and that's really going to help us out in the long run."
UCLA coach Ben Howland said the team played with passion, which helped the Bruins limit Pepperdine (3-3) to just 11 points in the first half. Pepperdine failed to have one player tally double figures in scoring or rebounding.
"We have to play with that kind of desire every time we play to be successful," Howland said. "Our team defense was by far the best effort we had all year."
Freshman Norman Powell had another solid performance for the Bruins, adding 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Howland also pointed to Jerime Anderson and Tyler Lamb as major factors in helping UCLA improve its defensive effort.
It was a dominant 20-2 run during the first half that helped UCLA turn a 7-6 deficit into a 26-9 lead and an easy victory. The Bruins didn't give up much from the perimeter, holding Pepperdine to just 3 of 9 behind the arc and made up for a 36-35 rebounding deficit by forcing 15 Pepperdine turnovers while limiting themselves to just seven turnovers.
"Sometimes you got to get a win to know how to win," Jones said. "We did what we need to do to win, and hopefully we can continue to do this."
While Pepperdine isn't expected to finish at or near the top of the West Coast Conference, the Waves already won at Arizona State and at Texas San Antonio, so it was important for UCLA to defend its home court.
"We appreciate the fans who were here tonight," Howland said. "Those are true blue Bruins fans. 1-4 hasn't happened around here in a long time, and they came out for an 8 p.m. game on Monday night."
More important, UCLA had its first win it could really build off after taking some lumps in the EA Sports Maui Invitational (besides a win over Chaminade).
"We learned we've got a long way to go," David Wear said. "We needed to play harder - we didn't match our opponents' intensity. Tonight, we got together.
"We dove for loose balls and helped teammates out. We showed how good we can be."