UCLA beats CS Bakersfield 75-66 for 6th win in 7 games
LOS ANGELES (AP) — On a poor offensive night, UCLA won with defense that held Cal State Bakersfield to 10-of-39 shooting in the second half.
Aaron Holiday scored 16 points and Thomas Welsh added 13 points and 10 rebounds in the Bruins’ 75-66 victory Wednesday night.
UCLA (6-1) trailed by nine early in the game before rallying to take a 29-27 lead at the break after scoring its fewest first-half points this season. The Bruins shot 10-of-29 from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
“This was by far, in seven games, the worst we’ve been offensively,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “Three weeks ago we lose this game because so much of our defense was about what we were doing offensively.”
Jarkel Joiner led Bakersfield with 20 points, making a career-high four 3-pointers. Damiyne Durham added 15 points, also making four 3s.
“That’s my guy,” Durham said. “I really want to roll with him and I have a lot of confidence in him.”
The Bruins opened the second half on a 9-1 run, extending their lead to 38-28. The Roadrunners (4-4) missed their first eight shots and went 4 of 22 from 3-point range after making six 3s in the first half.
“I expected a run when they came out in the second half because of their talent,” Bakersfield coach Rod Barnes said. “It really got too much ahead of us and it was hard to catch up.”
Everyone in UCLA’s eight-man rotation scored and grabbed at least one rebound.
UCLA’s largest lead of 56-40 came on a pair of free throws by Welsh. The Bruins improved to 57 percent shooting in the second half.
The Roadrunners answered with a 9-2 run to get to 58-49.
Freshman Kris Wilkes roused the small, sleepy crowd by dunking off Jaylen Hands’ missed 3-pointer, Holiday made a layup and G.G. Goloman dunked, pushing UCLA’s lead to 64-49.
“We just couldn’t knock down shots and we forced it too many times,” Wilkes said. “Our defense helped us out in the first half a lot.”
Joiner scored 10 of his team’s final 17 points, hitting consecutive 3-pointers.
UCLA went 2 of 17 from 3-point range, an unusually poor performance for the Bruins. Even stranger were the players who made 3s: big men Welsh and Alex Olesinski, which drew a laugh from Alford’s wife Tanya after the game. “We airballed two, I think we hit the side of the backboard on one,” her husband said, smiling.
Hands returned from a mid-ankle sprain after not practicing the last two days. He missed all five of his field-goal attempts and both of his 3-point attempts, but made 7-of-8 free throws and had four rebounds and four assists.
ROAD LESS TRAVELED
CS Bakersfield will join the Big West in 2020, allowing the Roadrunners to decrease their average round-trip mileage from 2,400 with WAC schools to 302 miles (excluding Hawaii), which will lower spending on travel and keep the players in the classroom more.
Cal State Bakersfield returned two starters from a team that won 25 games last season, a single-season record since joining Division I. The Roadrunners won their first regular-season WAC title and made the NIT semifinals. Joiner has cracked the starting lineup as a freshman. He came in averaging 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds.
UCLA dropped out of the Top 25 this week and isn’t likely to impress voters with the strength of its current home stand: UC Irvine, Bakersfield, Detroit Mercy and Montana. The Bruins don’t play a major opponent again until visiting Michigan on Dec. 9 and No. 11 Cincinnati on Dec. 16.
CS Bakersfield: Hosts Northern Arizona on Saturday in its first home game since opening the season on Nov. 10.
UCLA: Hosts Detroit Mercy on Sunday, the third of a four-game home stand.