UCLA came into this one on a four game slide, including a blowout loss to Liberty that cost Steve Alford his job. As is often the case, the Bruins played inspired in their first game under interim coach Murry Bartow. The quality play of the hosts and the absence of Daejon Davis proved to be too much for the Cardinal.
The Cardinal got off to a sluggish offensive start without their star point guard. Davis dressed for the game, and was a game time decision. He is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained last week against Long Beach State. Without him, the Stanford attack fell flat and they quickly found themselves in a 14 point hole.
After a timeout, Jerod Haase’s squad ripped off a 10-0 run to get it as close as 4. KZ Okpala led the way with 13 in the half, as well as 7 rebounds, but no one else could seem to get a shot to fall. The Cardinal made just 32% of their attempts in the first frame, and took a six point deficit into the break.
As bad as their offense played, the real issue for Stanford was interior defense. UCLA racked up 56 points in the paint on the night. They penetrated the Cardinal defense at will, and circumvented help defenders with lobs to the behemoth Moses Brown et al. Brown had 17 points on 8-9 from the field, and provided a major matchup nightmare for the visitors.
Just one game after career highs in points and rebounds, Josh Sharma was nowhere to be found. He was in constant foul trouble, and only saw 14 minutes of action. Stanford’s lack of rim protection was evident, as was their underwhelming performance on the boards. UCLA out-rebounded them 46-34.
Despite all of this, the Cardinal hung around in striking distance for much of the game. They kept it in single digits until late, when the Bruins finally built an insurmountable lead on a flurry of transition buckets. UCLA led by as much as 27.
Okpala paced Stanford with an impressive 22-10 line, and was the only Cardinal player in double figures. Isaac White added 9 on three late bombs. Cormac Ryan returned to action after missing three contests with an ankle injury of his own. He had a cold night, going just 2-11 from the field.
UCLA extends its home winning streak over Stanford to 13 games. The Cardinal play USC this weekend. The Trojans had just 7 scholarship players available today against Cal.