UCLA continues a three-game homestand to open the season when it faces Lafayette on Friday in Los Angeles.
The Bruins (1-0) opened their campaign on Monday with a 75-44 blowout of Saint Francis (Pa.) behind 28 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots from Adem Bona.
The big man was key to UCLA putting up a dominant 48-12 advantage on points in the paint. Bona’s four blocks also contributed to a stingy defensive effort; the Bruins held the Red Flash without a field goal for the final 7 1/2 minutes.
Despite the lopsided final score, UCLA coach Mick Cronin lamented the team’s offensive play in his postgame press conference.
“(The offense must run) with guys who don’t take bad shots because they’re hunting points,” Cronin said. “That’s got me upset. Other than that, I need to play Brandon Williams more because he understands the most important thing on offense on this team. Anybody want to guess what it is? Pass the ball to Adem Bona.”
With a clear indicator that the offense runs through Bona, UCLA plays the second of three home games before joining an imposing field at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20.
Lafayette (0-1) comes into Pauley Pavilion for the first-ever meeting between the programs.
The Leopards opened their season on Monday with an 81-60 loss to Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia. That contest marked Lafayette’s first game with Mike McGarvey as the full-time head coach after McGarvey closed out the 2022-23 season as the interim head coach.
McGarvey replaced Mike Jordan, who was placed on administrative leave in late February after a complaint was filed against him. He was removed from the job a month later. Lafayette reached the title round of the Patriot League tournament under McGarvey.
Friday’s visit to UCLA is part of a two-game road swing through California for the Leopards, who will visit Pepperdine on Sunday.
“It’s remarkable we have that opportunity to do that,” McGarvey said on the “Behind The Mic” show. “I’m grateful to be able to lead a team into those situations, and I hope that those experiences are going to provide memories for our players for a lifetime.”
–Field Level Media
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