LOS ANGELES -- Playing their first game without center Joshua Smith, who announced he was leaving the program earlier in the day, the UCLA Bruins trounced Cal State Northridge Matadors 82-56 on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion.
A quick breakdown of the game:
How it happened: The Bruins shook off an embarrassing loss to the Cal Poly Mustangs by playing with an energy and sense of urgency not yet seen this season. UCLA crashed the boards hard, ran with a purpose in transition and played with a defensive intensity that had been lacking all season.
After a back-and-forth first few minutes, UCLA took control midway through the first half and ended it on a 26-10 run to take a 38-24 lead at the midway point. The Bruins opened the second half on a 13-2 run to take a 51-26 lead, then cruised the rest of the way.
UCLA player of the game: Powell scored 10 of his points in the first five minutes of the second half, including two 3-pointers, as the Bruins sent a clear message they had no intentions of relinquishing their lead. He made seven of 14 shots.
Stat of the game: The Bruins used a 2-3 zone most of the game -- the first time they played predominantly zone this season -- and held Northridge to 33 percent shooting, including 19.2 percent (5-of-26) on three pointers.
What it means: Bruins fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief for the moment and hope that the Cal Poly loss was an aberration. The Bruins might have figured out what it means to play hard for an entire game. They still have to show they can do it on a consistent basis, however.
What’s next: UCLA will face the No. 23 San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Wooden Classic at the Honda Center in Anaheim.