McCoy, Dempsey Continue to Surprise in UCLA Victory
Jelani McCoy kept blocking shots and power dunking, Kevin Dempsey kept moving his way into the regular rotation, and UCLA finished off the exhibition season Thursday with an easy, 88-71 victory over a Hungarian club team before 6,790 at Pauley Pavilion.
In their final outing before kicking off the season against Santa Clara in the Maui Invitational next Monday, the Bruins played in fits and starts against ZTE-Goldsun before a late first-half surge put the game away.
After McCoy’s third consecutive impressive performance, UCLA Coach Jim Harrick was noncommittal about whether sophomore omm’A Givens, who started against ZTE, or the freshman McCoy, who opened the second half, would start at center Monday.
But Harrick was clear that senior swingman Kevin Dempsey, who had three points and two assists Thursday and has played with poise and effect, has been the team’s biggest surprise so far.
“Right now, [the first man off the bench] would either be [Kris] Johnson or Dempsey,” Harrick said. “I really didn’t count on Dempsey, but he’s earned himself into the mix.”
UCLA was led by Charles O’Bannon and Toby Bailey’s team-high 17 points apiece. McCoy scored 11 on five-of-six shooting and blocked four shots.
Branislav Dzunic led all scorers with 33 points and was five of six from behind the three-point line.