The vibe inside Pauley Pavilion was upbeat earlier than the sport. The memento UCLA tickets featured a smiling Mick Cronin holding a basketball, and the coach generated just a few cheers when he was proven folding his arms on the scoreboard as a part of a pregame video.
For almost 36 minutes, that may have been about it for the highlights Wednesday evening.
The Bruins exhibited flashes of Cronin’s trademark tenacious protection however appeared utterly adrift on offense earlier than lastly saving their coach from an inglorious introduction to the house followers by making the mandatory performs on the finish of a 69-65 victory over Lengthy Seaside State that was each bit as ugly because the rating indicated.
UCLA completed the sport on a 15-7 run that included some feistiness within the closing seconds when guard Chris Smith blocked a shot and ahead Jalen Hill pressured a soar ball that went again to the Bruins. Cronin mentioned he noticed worth in successful a sport through which his staff struggled towards an opponent that performed 5 completely different defenses.
“In case you might be in a dogfight and win it,” Cronin mentioned, “you will get much more out of it than if you find yourself blowing any individual out.”
UCLA had trailed for the whole second half till Hill pulled the Bruins right into a 58-58 tie by making two free throws with 3:38 left. Ahead Cody Riley then gave UCLA the lead for good with a driving layup that prompted roars from the gang of 6,265, which included an excellent turnout from the scholars.
Lengthy Seaside State coach Dan Monson referred to as timeout to arrange a play, however guard Michael Carter III turned the ball over. After UCLA’s Prince Ali made a three-pointer to increase his staff’s cushion to 63-58, all of the Bruins wanted to do was make sufficient free throws to stop Cronin from changing into the primary UCLA coach to lose his debut since Steve Lavin, who was…