Blue Raiders Trounce the UCLA Bruins
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The UCLA Bruins haven't seen days this dark since Steve Lavin was winding down his coaching tenure in Westwood.
LaRon Dendy led five players in double figures with 16 points, and Middle Tennessee State rode its hot shooting to an 86-66 victory on Tuesday night, the Bruins' second stunning loss in four days.
Marcos Knight tied his career high with 15 points for the third straight game, and junior college transfer Bruce Massey had a career-high 14 for the Blue Raiders, who shot 71 percent from the floor and were 10 of 11 from 3-point range.
Dendy, an Iowa State transfer, had a career-high 13 rebounds for the Blue Raiders (3-0), who matched their best start since 2001-02. They were coming off a victory over Loyola Marymount, which beat the Bruins by 11 points on Friday.
"It was just a perfect storm," Blue Raiders coach Kermit Davis said. "I don't know if I've ever had a team play that well offensively, that efficiently. They just made shot after shot."
It was shocking to the Bruins, too.
"Never seen that before," UCLA big man Joshua Smith said. "It was kind of crazy when coach read the stats off."
Smith scored 15 points for the Bruins, who played without suspended starter Reeves Nelson. UCLA fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2002-03, when it lost to San Diego and Duke to start Lavin's final season in Westwood.
"That was a very embarrassing score," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "I've never had a team allow a team to shoot 71 percent from the field. That's incredible. We probably should have changed it up and played zone."
Massey and Raymond Cintron both went 3 for 3 from 3-point range, and Cintron finished with a career-best 11 points. Knight's miss with 1:39 remaining kept the Blue Raiders from being perfect behind the arc. Shawn Jones had 11 points.
"That's what we try to do in practice," Massey said about Middle Tennessee State's success from long-range. "We can't wait to get back home after a big win like this."
The Blue Raiders led nearly the entire game, going up by 17 on a basket by James Gallman midway through the second half. Norman Powell scored six straight points to draw the Bruins within 10, the closest they would come.
The Bruins shot 37 percent from the floor and committed 12 turnovers. Travis Wear was the only other player in double figures with 10 points.
The Bruins trailed 40-32 at halftime after allowing the Blue Raiders to shoot 71 percent from the floor.
Nelson was suspended indefinitely on Monday for what Howland described as "conduct unbecoming." The junior forward, who wasn't on the bench, sent a tweet to six of his teammates before the game that said, "Good luck to yall. I'm with ya in spirit."
Howland said he plans to meet with Nelson on Wednesday to discuss his future.
Asked what he was looking for, Howland said, "Just an understanding that he's got a lot of things that need to improve in terms of coachability, attitude, interacting with his teammates, representing the university. We'll have a long talk concerning a lot of different issues."