It wasn't the prettiest win ever. But the exhibition season is all about seeing what you have and cleaning up rough spots before the games begin to count. And that's what UCLA did in its 80-72 game against Cal State-San Bernardino on Sunday at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
The positives: Everyone raved - including Coyotes players - about the play of sophomore center Joshua Smith. He was too much to handle down on the low block as he used his 6-foot-10, 305-pound frame to put up a game-high 26 points. It was odd though that he only had 12 shot attempts in a game that he dominated. The guards will have to do a better job in the future making sure that he gets as many touches as possible. Smith playing well will make it easier on everybody.
The Bruins did shoot 33 of 41 (80.5%) from the free throw line, which is a good sign on a team looking to have an inside-outside attack.
The negatives: The Bruins only shot 39.6 percent from the field and if you take out Smith's 6 for 12, the team shot 15 for 41 (36.5%) and that just won't cut it when the season starts.
Playing home games in Ontario is going to be an odd experience. Students and fans making that trip is going to be difficult, especially during the week. The home court advantage UCLA teams hold each season due to a rabid fan base could be lost. That would be a big blow to a young Bruins team that needs the support.
The Bruins can take from this tune-up the good and the bad as they prepare for their season-opener against Loyola Marymount on Friday at Los Angeles Sports Arena. LMU finished last in the WCC last year as it dealt with a lot of injuries. The Bruins shouldn't look at last year as a barometer as to how this game will go. A healthy Lions team could give the Bruins a game.
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