UCLA’s Ben Howland says win over UC Irvine was lucky

UCLA Coach Ben Howland directs his team in the second half against UC Irvine.
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

“Lucky” and “fortunate” were terms UCLA Coach Ben Howland used to describe his team’s 80-79 overtime win against UC Irvine on Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion.

“This is kind of a trap game,” Howland said after. “We’re coming off a sold-out arena, first game, all the hype, all the excitement. I was really worried about this not understanding who we’re playing.”

Forward David Wear admitted after the Bruins, who started out last season with consecutive defeats to mid-major teams (Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State), didn’t have the right mindset.


“We were on a real high after” Indiana State, Wear said. “I think we kind of crashed the last couple days. Our practices weren’t as intense as they should’ve been preparing for this game, especially against an opponent like UCI, which we were knew were going to be a very tough team.

“Coming into the game, I think our focus should’ve been a little bit better. I think we were all pretty amped after the last game. Again, we realize that every game is going to be a battle and we can’t really have lulls in practice. We need to keep the intensity up, especially in preparing for a good [James Madison] team on Thursday, who’s going to be extremely good. We need to come focused tomorrow.”

UCLA was out-rebounded by 11 and made just two of 12 three-point shots as compared to the Anteaters, who made 10 of 22 shots from beyond the arc.

Moreover, UCLA’s up-tempo offense never really got going -- in part, Howland said, because guard Tyler Lamb missed the game, thus shortening the amount of players he could play. Lamb sat out because his surgically repaired left knee was swollen.

“I thought we got tired,” Howland said. “I think not having Tyler Lamb available really affected us tonight, having one less guy.... We got tired and they hurt us in transition. We’re playing young guys.”

UCLA freshman guard Kyle Anderson hurt his right hand early in the game and briefly left before returning. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. Howland said Anderson would get an X-ray on his hand Wednesday morning at 10:30 and that if it came up negative, an MRI at noon.



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