There’s not much you can do with Kyle Anderson. UCLA’s all-everything point guard is arguably the best player in the Pac-12, a nightmare to match up against on most evenings.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak knew that. So he devised a different strategy against the Bruins. Knowing that Anderson is a pass-first guy, he decided to go ahead and let him score, but limit the players around him.
Utah holds UCLA to 42 percent shooting overall
Jordan Adams scores six points under his average
UCLA receives just 12 points total from its frontcourt
The move may be the biggest reason for the Utes defeating No. 25 UCLA 74-69 at the Huntsman Center on Saturday afternoon.
"What makes them such a dangerous offensive team is how he gets everyone involved," Krystkowiak said. "He’s such a good passer that everyone gets in on the action. We just said if he scores 25 and everyone else is held in check, we will have a chance to win the game."
Anderson scored 28 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had seven assists. But his supporting cast didn’t have nearly his impact. Jordan Adams scored 11 points and freshman Zach LaVine had 15. But nobody else scored in double-figures and the Bruins only received 12 points total from their entire frontcourt.
In essence, Utah conceded a big game to Anderson, but limited the vast amount of talent around him.
"I just think we dialed in on the scouting report," sophomore guard Brandon Taylor said. "We were getting into the right spots, we knew where guys were. The biggest thing is that we were communicating and when you do that, it makes the job that much easier. We were able to withstand runs because of our defense."
The job Utah did on Adams in particular was a game-changer. Entering the game as the number six scorer in the league (17 points a night), Adams was held scoreless in the first half. He woke up a bit in the last 20 minutes, but he didn’t have close to his usual impact.
Overall, the game was essentially decided in the latter part of the first half. The Utes held UCLA without a field goal for seven minutes and the Bruins went 3-18 from the field in the last 11 minutes. During that time, Utah went on a 15-0 run to build a 30-18 advantage and take control for good.
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