LOS ANGELES — With Pauley Pavilion being renovated, UCLA is billing this season as the Road Show. But when it comes to road games this season, UC Irvine has been a virtual no show.
The visiting Anteaters absorbed their eighth defeat in as many games away from the Bren Events Center this season, serving as veritable pavement for a UCLA squad that has won four straight after a 2-5 start.
The Bruins (6-5) rolled to an 89-60 triumph after taking control midway through the first half at the Sports Arena.
UCI (2-9), shorter and considerably thinner than the Bruins, jumped to a 4-0 lead and was up, 12-10, with 11:35 left in the first half.
But UCLA, which drilled Big West Conference representative UC Davis, 82-39, Saturday at Honda Center, used a 20-3 run to claim control. UCLA eventually parlayed a 42-28 halftime lead into an 85-51 cushion, before UCI cut into the lead. The 29-point deficit, however, is UCI's worst drubbing of the season and left Coach Russell Turner with little with which to be pleased.
"Tonight we clearly weren't as good as we can be and that had a lot to do with UCLA," said Turner, whose team had 14 fewer rebounds and six more turnovers than the Bruins. "They've gotten a tremendous amount better in a short period of time.
"They're bigger than we are. They knew that and we knew that. We've played some really good periods in games against teams that were bigger. We've been scrappier than we were tonight. Tonight we didn't compete as well as we have at other times during the year. And that's disappointing. I know all my guys wanted to play well. Sometimes guys confuse wanting to play well with being prepared to play well. We're going to have to make sure all of our guys learn the appropriate lessons from what happened tonight."
UCLA made half of their 18 three-point attempts and shot 60.6% from the field after intermission to finish a season-best 54.8% for the game (34 of 62). The Bruins, with three 6-foot-10 players in the front court, had 38 points in the paint, to UCI's 14. UCLA's 12 offensive rebounds also produced 15 second-chance points, 11 more than the Anteaters managed.
The Bruins had five double-figure scorers, led by freshman reserve guard Norman Powell, who had a career-high 19. Powell was four of six from three-point range.
Tyler Lamb had a career-high 17 points and four steals, while David Wear chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds. Lazeric Jones produced 11 points and six assists, while Joshua Smith, who at an estimated 300 pounds proved to be an impenetrable wall for UCI post players, had 12 points, nine boards and three steals.
Chris McNealy had 11 points and seven assists to pace UCI, for which Daman Starring added 10 points.
Junior point guard Derrick Flowers had nine points, making four of five field-goal tries. He also had three assists and only one turnover.
"I'm happy for [Flowers] and I was pleased with his offense," Turner said.
Mike Wilder had nine points and five rebounds and Will Davis had six points and four boards off the bench.
UCI returns to action at home Thursday against NAIA member Hope International. A win would be a third in four games for the 'Eaters this season.
UCLA 89, UC Irvine 60
UCI – Wilder 9, Folker 4, McNealy 11, Starring 10, Flowers 9, Davis 6, Woods 6, Souza 3, Best 2.
3-pt. goals – McNealy 2, Wilder 2, Woods 2, Souza 1, Flowers 1, Starring 1.
Fouled out – None.
UCLA – D. Wear 12, Smith 12, Lamb 17, L. Jones 11, Anderson 8, Powell 19, T. Wear 6, Brown 4.
3-pt. goals – Powell 4, Lamb 2, Anderson 2, Jones 1.
Halftime – 42-28, UCLA.