Sunday was an evening for providing pyrotechnic dunks and trying to outdo teammates with the most extravagant pass or unlikeliest rebound.
Certainly UCLA was never tested basketball-wise by Chattanooga at Pauley Pavilion.
The 22nd-ranked Bruins beat the Mocs, 106-65, and will head off for the Las Vegas Invitational on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, with a 5-0 record, their health and momentum.
But they still have something to prove to the fans. Only a handful of a crowd announced as 5,739 was left when that 100th point was scored.
For the record it was Bryce Alford, son of UCLA Coach Steve Alford, with a three-pointer with 2:59 left that turned the scoreboard over into triple digits, putting the Bruins ahead, 102-60. The last time the Bruins hit 100 or more was Dec. 23, 2008.
Jordan Adams led the way with 22 points and sophomore center Tony Parker had a career-high 14 rebounds, something he wasn't aware of until it was pointed out to him after the game. “Doesn't matter,” he said, “as long as we won.”
Coach Alford said he thought his team played its best game of the season.
“It was our quickest turnaround,” he said, noting the Bruins had played Friday night, “and we did our best job on the backboard, shared the basketball, doubled the assists to turnovers [23-11], didn't shoot a ton of threes, attacked the basket, just followed the plan.”
Junior Norman Powell, who finished with 19 points, had a flurry of four dunks in the second half including his favorite, the windmill. “I don't think I've had one in college,” he said, “and I wanted one.”
If Chattanooga (2-5) was going to give itself a chance, missing all five of its first-half free throws and making only one of 12 three-point attempts was not the correct formula.
With the help of a 14-2 run and a nonchalant collection of 15 points from Adams, the Bruins led, 47-25, after the first 20 minutes. Freshman Zach LaVine added 10 off the bench, including a massive dunk off a pass from fellow freshman Bryce Alford. LaVine, who finished with 19 points, was one of four Bruins who scored in double figures.
The Bruins also avoided what had become an unhealthy habit of letting big early leads against lesser competition go mostly away.
They came out briskly after halftime, starting out with a 10-2 run that was highlighted by a perfect pass from Adams to Powell that ended in a dunk, a 57-27 UCLA lead, and a Mocs timeout.
That seemed the perfect roadblock to what Alford called the second half “ebbs and flows” that had plagued the team.
Powell's flurry of four dunks was exciting enough that heads were raised by many of the fans who were busy checking out their hand-held devices.
Alford said he hopes freshman forward Wannah Bail, who has missed the first five games with a left knee injury, will be available by Thursday in Las Vegas.
“He's practicing with us,” Alford said. “I believe he'll be ready.”
Twitter: @mepucinCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times