Weber State basketball: Anderson sparks UCLA's win over Wildcats
Danny Moloshok, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — The momentum generated from Weber State's 71-point win over St. Katherine on Dec. 17 didn't last very long against UCLA.
That stands to reason. While St. Katherine is a first-year program out of the San Diego area, the Bruins are still considered to be one of the better programs in the country.
Kyle Anderson helped put UCLA back in the win column by scoring a career-high 23 points, leading the Bruins to an 83-60 win over Weber State, Sunday night at Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins (10-2) were coming off a 17-point loss to No. 8 Duke but improved to 10-0 at home. UCLA, which was tied with Duke at halftime, used that loss to prepare for Weber State.
"We really wanted to step it up in the second half," said Tony Parker, who scored 15 points for the Bruins. "We've been getting beat in the second half. We were up against Missouri, we got beat in the second half. Against Duke, we got beat in the second half. Even against Prairie View (A&M) they beat us in the second half.
"In order for us to be a good ball club and win games against tougher teams in the Pac-12, we have got to put together a whole 40 minutes. We've got to get better and better and better as the game goes on."
The Bruins didn't play a perfect 40 minutes against the Wildcats (2-5) but they were close.
Weber State took an early lead thanks to some hot shooting but the Wildcats cooled down quickly. UCLA used a 22-5 run in the first half to build a 33-21 lead, and were never threatened again.
The Wildcats shot 41 percent from the floor in the first half, and 37 percent in the second. They went into Sunday's game averaging 75 points per game.
Anderson, one of six players with a triple-double this season, finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. He settled for his sixth double-double of the season, and the 14th of his career.
"I don't worry about that stuff," Anderson said. "If I do everything I'm supposed to do and help my team, that is going to come by itself. I'm more happy with the win. I'm very happy with the 10 rebounds on my part, helping my team become a better rebounding team."
Things didn't always go the Bruins' way. UCLA connected on just three of its first nine field goal attempts but turned that around quickly enough, hitting on eight of their next 10. Again, it was Anderson to the rescue.
"My team looks for me when we're in that situation," he said. "They look for me to do what I do in that situation. My teammates do a good job of running the floor and I was able to find some guys in transition."
Anderson was the catalyst in the opening half, scoring 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists.
Weber State did everything it could to return to its 2012-13 form, in which it won 30 games. But this version of the Wildcats is considerably younger with two freshmen starting.
"I was really pleased with our effort but the shots did not go in," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "UCLA had something to do with that.
"We played an outstanding team that was coming off a loss with outstanding talent on their court. I thought they really cranked it up a notch on us today."
The Bruins led by as many as 15 points in the first half before two baskets and two free throws by Richaud Gittens trimmed the deficit to seven points.
Anderson pushed the lead back to 10 points at the break with a 3-point basket at the buzzer.
Kyle Tresnak got the Wildcats back to within nine points early in the second half but the Bruins went on a 22-5 run to take a 70-44 lead.
Zach LaVine was even given a mulligan of sorts during the run. He missed on a dunk shot but moments later made amends for it when Weber State's Royce Williams missed a short jump shot. Parker grabbed the rebound and the Bruins went on the attack. This time LaVine was able to slam the ball home, extending the Bruins' lead to 68-44. Another miss by Williams led to a layup by Parker and a 70-44 advantage.
Bryce Alford added 10 points for the Bruins.
The Wildcats were led by Gittens and Davion Berry, who scored 15 and 14 points, respectively. The 15 points for Gittens were a career high.
"UCLA is a very physical team," said Gittens, the Wildcats' freshman guard. "We need to learn to keep up with their physicality. I'm feeling more confident to play at this level."
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