The Bruins 10th win in a row, a double digit win, was exactly what the doctor wouldn’t have ordered, but expected nonetheless. Expecting to win the game, UCLA was challenged throughout by Oregon St; nonetheless the Beavers weren’t good enough to go out win the game on Thursday night, nor were the Bruins successful at losing it.
At halftime, the jersey of UCLA great #52 Jamaal “Silk” Wilkes was retired. Unlike the jump shot of the iconic player, whose jersey was also retired by the Lakers earlier this season, this UCLA team was not silky in their 74-64 win, but the new Pauley Pavilion is.
Rough on the edges and points, the beautiful new facility has a silky smooth interior, and the facility staff is up and running like its been the same Pauley Pavilion all this time. Bright blue and gold neon lights back-light and brighten the concourse, and big vertical sliding doors open up to the outside air and food trucks. The constantly changing digital Hall of Fame of all of UCLA’s National Championships was an appropriate centerpiece for the new building, and 94 year old university boasting 108 Team National Championships. The security and concessions staff and guest services representatives were there and on their game, directing flow like they’ve been in this new building all of their careers, not just all of this season. Leaving the pavilion and back to the game.
UCLA played their half of a sloppy game, but either Shabazz Muhammad or Kyle Anderson would come up with a big shot whenever OSU was threatening to cut the lead under 10 points. And that’s what the final score said. Muhammad scored 21, and Anderson and Travis Wear each scored 17. Of UCLA’s 13 turnovers, more than a few times they got beat down the floor on odd man breaks from the Beavers at the time out calling frustrations of Ben Howland. That is not a recipe to beat up-tempo teams like Oregon, Arizona, or Washington. If it wasn’t for a series of Oregon State’s missed layups and painfully executed fast breaks, the Beavers would have been right in the game til the end, rather than waiting for the Bruins players to dribble out the clock.
This is a cynical view of a team that is 15-3 and won its 10th straight game. But UCLA is different in 2013. College Basketball is different. It is different players in a different era. Winning was an art at UCLA, and as Coach Wooden as the artist, none of his talented brushes painted as smoothly as Silk.
The New York Post asked John Wooden to describe his ideal player in 1985. Wooden said
I would have the player be a good student, polite, courteous, a good team player, a good defensive player and rebounder, a good inside player and outside shooter; Why not take Jamaal Wilkes and let it go at that?
I am not sure any person has received higher praise. The message is complimentary enough. The ideal basketball player? What a compliment. But considering the messenger, Coach Wooden is praising the person of Jamaal Wilkes, and the way he lived his life.
Even though the Bruins won on Thursday it lacked the art of those superior Bruin teams, those unmatched teams with John Wooden. They weren’t expected to match it. Now it’s the New Pauley Pavilion. It couldn’t have been done without the Pauley family, but as Jamaal Wilkes pointed out at halftime, it’s the house that John Wooden built. Silky or not on Thursday night, the Bruins notched their 10 win in a row.
Up next: vs Oregon–Saturday 1pm, Pauley Pavilion, TV: CBS