UCLA takeaways: Here’s how the Bruins can fix shooting problems

You may’t win all of them? UCLA did simply that for 2 dazzling months, discovering a approach even when it was not at its finest.

The enjoyable run lastly ended Saturday. The fifth-ranked Bruins’ 58-52 loss to Eleventh-ranked Arizona on the McKale Heart snapped a 14-game successful streak whereas shining an uncomfortably vibrant highlight on some deficiencies.

This staff lacks shooters. It’s additionally quick on gamers who can create their very own shot. Amongst those that performed Saturday, solely Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell match that description, and groups are more and more discovering methods to counteract Jaquez’s strikes across the basket.

The fan overreaction to at least one loss for a staff that is still in first place within the Pac-12 Convention standings was predictable. Nevertheless it was additionally a reminder that some fixes have been wanted for some time now, even earlier than the Bruins (17-3 total, 8-1 Pac-12) stumbled for the primary time since late November.

Listed here are 5 methods UCLA might spherical right into a extra full staff because it approaches the midpoint of Pac-12 play Thursday towards USC on the Galen Heart:

Transfer the ball

Arizona heart Oumar Ballo knocks the ball from UCLA ahead Adem Bona throughout the first half on Saturday in Tucson.

(Rick Scuteri / Related Press)

In the course of the previous few weeks, it’s turn into excruciatingly apparent that offense — or lack thereof — may very well be the Bruins’ undoing within the NCAA match. A sluggish first half towards Washington State was adopted by an abomination of a second half towards USC and 30 ineffective minutes towards Colorado.

UCLA has gotten away from the zippy ball motion that led to so many simple baskets earlier within the season. Amari Bailey’s absence over the last seven video games due to foot discomfort is an enormous a part of this, little question. However whoever is on the courtroom must maintain making the additional move looking for a greater shot, even when it requires extra screening and off-the-ball motion.

Too typically, this staff waits for one thing to occur quite than making it occur, going deep into the shot clock earlier than forcing a low-percentage shot.

Get Bailey again

UCLA guard Amari Bailey brings the ball up court as Maryland guard Jahmir Young trails.

UCLA guard Amari Bailey brings the ball up courtroom as Maryland guard Jahmir Younger trails throughout the first half on Dec. 14 in Faculty Park, Md.

(Terrance Williams / Related Press)

Based mostly on how freshman guard Amari Bailey regarded in warm-ups Saturday, when he darted round with no hesitation on any of his cuts, he’s very near returning. It might occur as quickly because the rivalry sport this week.

Bailey’s return will clear up a few of the offensive shortcomings by giving the staff one other elite passer in addition to somebody who can get to the rim towards even the quickest defenders.

It is going to additionally enable David Singleton to renew his function as maybe the nation’s finest sixth man, giving the staff significantly extra punch off the bench.

Let the presses roll

UCLA forward Adem Bona dives for the ball behind Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis.

UCLA ahead Adem Bona dives for the ball behind Arizona ahead Azuolas Tubelis throughout the second half on Saturday in Tucson.

(Rick Scuteri / Related Press)

The facility of the press stays monumental. Did you watch the ultimate two minutes Saturday?

That sequence throughout which the Bruins’ full-court press compelled turnovers on 4 consecutive Arizona possessions was a factor of magnificence. Do it extra typically.

UCLA has sufficient fast guards and bench depth to interrupt out that form of press throughout extra than simply pockets of video games. It doesn’t have to do it for all 40 minutes, however extra strain could be doubly sensible as a result of it might additionally result in simple transition baskets for the slumping offense.

Two fouls isn’t too many

UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. talks to head coach Mick Cronin.

UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. talks to go coach Mick Cronin throughout the first half towards Arizona on Saturday in Tucson.

(Rick Scuteri / Related Press)

Coach Mick Cronin has steadfastly held to at least one rule within the first half: Starters who decide up two fouls get a seat on the bench till halftime.

It’s occurred repeatedly with Adem Bona and Jaquez, resulting in prolonged offensive lulls for a staff that may’t afford them. Cronin doesn’t need his finest gamers to danger fouling out, which is comprehensible, however the dropoff behind these two gamers is simply too steep to sit down them for prolonged stretches.

When Jaquez was known as for a cost towards Arizona State that represented his second foul, sending him to the bench with 9:22 left within the first half, the Bruins led by three factors. They have been outscored by eight the remainder of the half with Jaquez on the bench, necessitating a second-half comeback.

It’s been an identical story with Bona out provided that his backups, Kenneth Nwuba and Mac Etienne, have added so little on offense that it feels just like the Bruins are a person down on that facet of the ball at any time when they’re within the sport.

Whereas Bona may want some safeguarding from fouling out, which he’s achieved solely as soon as this season, Jaquez doesn’t. He’s picked up 4 fouls simply as soon as in 20 video games, demonstrating that he is aware of the best way to play prolonged minutes with out fouling.

Get Jaylen Clark again on observe

UCLA guard Jaylen Clark dribbles during the first half against Arizona.

UCLA guard Jaylen Clark dribbles throughout the first half towards Arizona on Saturday in Tucson.

(Rick Scuteri / Related Press)

UCLA’s offensive woes have been compounded by Jaylen Clark’s prolonged taking pictures hunch.

Sure, he made the game-winning three-pointer towards USC, however his pictures haven’t been falling with their regular regularity. During the last seven video games, he’s making 32.9% of his pictures and 27.3% of his three-pointers.

The one-handed floaters will not be getting in like they did earlier within the season and his struggles from lengthy vary have been an almost season-long challenge. There’s no simple repair right here, simply extra time spent engaged on his kind and consistency.