Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 9:16 AM
Weber State held an early lead and later made a brief charge, but No. 22 UCLA had more than enough closing speed to overwhelm the Wildcats 83-60 on Sunday night at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Sophomore guard/forward Kyle Anderson poured in 23 points and added 10 rebounds and six assists in only 30 minutes to lead the way for the Bruins, a double-double that could have easily become his second triple-double of the year with a few more minutes playing time.
“He’s 6-9 and he’s got guard skills,” Weber State coach Randy Rahe said in a postgame radio interview. “He can beat you with his passing; he’s such a tremendous passer. He can shoot it — (Sunday) he shot the ball better than he has been. He’s a hard, hard guard for anybody. They move him around from guard to forward and all over the place. He’s a special kind of guy and that’s why he’s going to be in the NBA here in the next year and probably performing pretty well.”
The Bruins’ top scorer, guard Jordan Adams, who entered the game averaging 20.2 ppg, had just five points, and Zach LaVine, possibly their top pro prospect, had eight points, but UCLA didn’t need any more. Tony Parker and Bruce Alford came off the Bruins’ bench to contribute 15 and 10 points, respectively.
“(The loss) wasn’t for lack of effort, for competing,” Rahe said. “I thought our kids did some nice things, we just got beat by a good basketball team on their court.”
Weber State hasn’t beaten a Top 25 team since 2000.
Rahe hopes the Wildcats’ last significant test prior to Big Sky Conference play will pay dividends in experience if not in the win-loss column.
“It helps us. Anytime you play a team that’s this talented, and you’ve got to execute, you’ve got to defend them, you’ve got to rebound, it makes you play to just a little higher level,” Rahe said. “That’s what it did. At times, we did play to that higher level; we had a hard time maintaining it. I think this is one down the road we can look at and hopefully think it helped us out.”
UCLA controlled most statistical categories, outshooting Weber State 49 percent to 39 and outrebounding WSU 42-28.
“They’re big,” Rahe said. “They go 6-10, 6-11, 6-9 on that line, then 6-5, 6-4 up top. There’s not a lot of room to work.”
Weber State hasn’t beaten a Division I team on the boards this season.
Freshman guard Richaud Gittens scored 12 of his career-high 15 points in the first half to lead the Wildcats.
“Richaud did a nice job off the bench, had some nice moments,” Rahe said.
Senior guard/forward Davion Berry had 14 and freshman point guard Jeremy Senglin added 12.
Weber State took an early 10-6 lead, but the Bruins didn’t wait long to retaliate, making a 17-2 charge that lasted most of the half.
Sparked by Gittens, the Wildcats made a push just before halftime.
Gittens slammed home a baseline dunk as Weber State cut UCLA’s advantage to seven, but Anderson beat the halftime buzzer with a 3 to make it double digits again going to the break, 44-34.
On John Wooden Court, UCLA easily shook off Weber State’s only threat to rally.
WSU also didn’t get much production from its post players.
Senior center Kyle Tresnak got in foul trouble in the first half and had six points before fouling out.
Freshman forward Kyndahl Hill started for the second straight game and scored two points, while sophomore forward Joel Bolomboy came off the bench after missing the last game with an ankle injury and scored six points to go with a team-best six rebounds.
Senior center James Hajek dressed for the first time this year since suffering a dislocated knee in the preseason but did not play.
Weber State will face Northern New Mexico on Dec. 28 at home prior to beginning Big Sky Conference play Eastern Washington at home on Jan. 2.
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