New-look UCLA uses fast pace to beat California
Two-a-day practices during holiday break. An emphasis on team unity. It’s a different time at UCLA these days.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the Bruins’ results.
Kris Wilkes scored 18 points, and UCLA pulled away in the second half to beat California 98-83 on Saturday, giving the Bruins a sweep on the opening weekend of Pac-12 play.
“We’re all great players. You know when you hit adversity you need to find a way to get out of it,” said reserve Jules Bernard, one of six Bruins in double figures with 12 points. “I don’t think we were working as hard as we possibly could earlier.”
They are now under interim coach Murry Bartow, who replaced Steve Alford after he was fired Monday amid a four-game skid. Bartow has had the players practicing twice daily and lifting weights during their break from classes.
“It all starts in practice. We’re all happy for each other. We’re like brothers,” said Moses Brown, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. “We all want the best for each other.”
Chris Smith had 15 points, and reserve David Singleton had a second straight career high with 14 points for the Bruins.
Bartow has the Bruins playing a fast-paced style that is drawing cheers instead of boos inside Pauley Pavilion. Their points were the most the team has scored this season.
“This pace sort of fits our playing style a little more,” Bernard said. “We’re active scorers and like to get the ball out and run.”
UCLA (9-6, 2-0 Pac-12) used a 12-2 run to go up 72-58, with Brown and Smith combining to score 10 of the 12 points.
Cal (5-9, 0-2) got within four early in the second half, but the Golden Bears were never any closer. They haven’t won at UCLA since Feb. 11, 2012, a span of six straight losses.
UCLA guard Kris Wilkes, right, blocks a shot from California forward Andre Kelly Saturday in Los Angeles.