LOS ANGELES – Rebuilding after the loss of four of last season’s six leading scorers provides enough of a challenge for Sacramento State. Facing one of the nation’s perennial powers in the process proved too overwhelming for the Hornets.
UCLA, ranked 22nd, executed an 86-50 rout of the Hornets on Monday night in front of 5,489 at Pauley Pavilion.
Sacramento State (1-2) has yet to defeat a nationally ranked team in 13 attempts.
“It definitely exposes our flaws,” Hornets guard Dylan Garrity said about the game. “We have eight days before our next game, and we know exactly what we need to work on. We need to rebound a lot better, and our defensive transition hasn’t been very good. We just have to work harder, box out and stay in front of (opponents).”
Garrity made 6 of 12 shots from 3-point range to finish with 18 points. The rest of the Hornets, however, missed 32 of 47 field-goal attempts. As a result, Sac State’s half-court offense shot 33.9 percent.
“We were just trying to figure out what defense they were in,” Garrity said. “So we backed (the ball) out and slowed (the tempo) up to figure out what we wanted to do.”
Nevertheless, the Hornets proved competitive for a three-minute span of the first half.
After the Bruins (3-0) built an 8-2 lead, Sac State used an 8-1 surge to move ahead 10-9 with 6:50 gone in the first half. Garrity made two 3-point shots during the spree.
UCLA’s Jordan Adams responded with a 3-pointer to give the Bruins a 12-10 lead, then the Hornets’ Mikh McKinney fired a jumper from the left baseline to tie the score with 12:35 left in the first half. The Bruins took a 20-14 lead before one of Garrity’s 3-point baskets narrowed the deficit to 20-17 with 9:11 before halftime. Then came the half’s turning point.
Garrity stole the ball with 8:56 left, but the Bruins’ Norman Powell blocked McKinney’s ensuing jumper. David Wear grabbed the rebound and finished the possession with a layup to give UCLA a 22-17 advantage.
UCLA held a 36-23 lead at halftime, then dominated the second half.
After the Hornets’ Zach Mills made a jumper with 15:44 to play, the Bruins went on a 14-0 blitz to build a 59-29 advantage with 13:02 remaining. Following Mills’ basket, Sac State scored only one point in the next 3:21.
The Bruins grabbed 20 rebounds in that half, made nine steals, converted them into 15 points and added 20 points in the lane. In the process, UCLA demonstrated its superior talent with numerous slam dunks and behind-the-back passes on its fast break.
For Garrity, the rival in the Big Sky Conference that matches UCLA the most is Weber State.
“They’re a little like UCLA,” Garrity said. “They’ve got some big guards, and they’re bigger on the front line than we are.”