No matter how much Coach Ben Howland and his players talked about defense after UCLA’s 97-63 victory over Stanford on Saturday, it was hard to ignore the numbers on offense.
The Bruins shot 74% from the field in the second half while pulling away. For the game, they made 73% of their three-point attempts.
All that scoring was preceded by 21 assists, well above the team’s average.
“Everybody’s looking to pass,” Darren Collison said.
Collison was one of three players with three assists each. Center Alfred Aboya had two. Freshman guard Jrue Holiday led the Bruins with five.
“I’d rather give other people looks,” Holiday said. “Especially driving the middle and dishing out.”
Holiday wasn’t the only freshman to play well.
Drew Gordon had six points, including a spectacular one-handed dunk, to go with three rebounds and a steal.
Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson combined for six points, four rebounds and three assists and provided crucial rest for the starters.
“Being a young team that has six veterans and five freshmen, you know it takes time for us,” Howland said. “I think we’re going to continue to improve. That’s the good news.”
John Wooden spoke to the crowd during a halftime ceremony honoring his first two national championship teams.
“It’s amazing I can still remember,” he quipped.
Walt Hazzard, Gail Goodrich and Keith Erickson led the Bruins to the 1964 NCAA title win over Duke. Goodrich and Erickson returned the next season as UCLA finished with a 15-game winning streak and defeated Michigan for a second straight championship.
Hazzard and Erickson attended, as did Fred Slaughter, Kenny Washington and others. Wooden talked about them not as athletes but as students, and recalled when one of his players told a reporter he had come to UCLA to play basketball.
The legendary coach said he heard about the comment, called the player in and told him to “Shape up.”
Both coaching staffs wore white sneakers with their dark suits as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend, an annual event designed to raise cancer awareness.