UCLA's impressive 77-60 Pac-12 Conference victory over Colorado on Saturday afternoon at the Los Angeles Sports Arena sets the sort of example that makes parents proud.
The Bruins tallied a season-high 26 assists, which helped lead to their most dominant performance of the season. Senior guards Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson led the way again for UCLA (12-9, 5-4) as Jones finished with a game-high 17 points and nine assists. Anderson added eight points and eight assists.
"I thought we were patient," Jones said. "We made good decisions. Coach has really been focusing in practice on pushing it and making good decisions. We were aggressive penetrating but also knew when to push it and when to pull it out (and find open shooters)."
It wasn't just the senior guards who made an impact. Sophomore Tyler Lamb was lauded by Coach Ben Howland for having "one of his best games as a Bruin," after he finished with 13 points, six assists and three steals. Freshman Norman Powell added six points, including a 3-pointer to end the first half and give UCLA a 40-36 lead.
Howland touted Lamb's defensive performance against Colorado's leading scorer Carlon Brown, who was held to six points on 2-of-7 shooting and three turnovers. Lamb and Brown have known each other since middle school, even playing on the same AAU team, and Lamb said Howland challenged him before the game to slow him down.
"Lamb played great defense today on Brown," Howland said. "Tremendous, awesome job today. He really, really took the challenge on (against Brown)."
It wasn't just Lamb who accepted the challenge against Colorado (14-7, 6-3), which has been an impressive addition to the Pac-12 basketball ranks.
The front court played well too. Travis Wear finished with 14 points and seven rebounds while his twin brother, David Wear, had 11 points and three rebounds. Josh Smith added eight points, including one of the more bizarre plays of the season. Smith excited the crowd with a forceful two-handed slam but landed on the basketball and fell to the ground. Smith didn't suffer a serious injury, but it looked strange and potentially unlucky.
Even sophomore center Anthony Stover, who played just three minutes, made an impact. He had two blocks, including a crowd-pleasing rejection that drew a standing ovation. As Stover came out of the game soon after the block, he turned and nodded to the pleased UCLA crowd before taking a seat on the bench.
At every angle, it was as complete a victory as UCLA has delivered this season.
"This was real important for us," Howland said. Great team effort - we worked so hard in practice this week. They earned (it)."
Now, UCLA needs to apply that same formula to earn more conference road victories.