Los Angeles — Detroit Mercy entered Sunday night’s game against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion with the nation's fourth-ranked scoring offense (93.7 points per game).
The Bruins quickly proved how statistics don't mean a hoot, dismantling the Titans, 106-73. UCLA (7-1) came in tied 49th nationally in scoring offense (84.0 points per game).
Point guard Jaylen Hands scored 23 to lead UCLA, which converted on 44 percent of its attempts (11-of-25) from 3-point range. Ali Prince added 20 points while Aaron Holiday and Chris Smith each had 14.
The Bruins took command midway in the first half, going on a 23-3 run to take a 36-16 advantage with 8:09 left. They were also aided by a 26-14 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes.
“I told our players don’t look at the score, look at what you do and what you can do to make our team better,” acting head coach Jermaine Jackson said. Jackson is filling in for Bacari Alexander, who remains suspended for unspecified reasons. “They are a running team and we wanted to let them stay in their comfort zone. We wanted to play a half-court game.”
Guard Kameron Chatman had 18 points to lead Detroit Mercy (4-4). Corey Allen, who was 7-of-12 from the field, had with 15 while freshman guard Jermaine Jackson Jr. finished with 14.
Allen, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Ypsilanti, knew UCLA was tough.
“We saw them on film and they like to get to the lane and not stop,” Allen said.
The Bruins had 49 of their points in the paint and 21 on fast breaks. Hands and Prince both had spectacular dunks.
UDM's temporary coach and Allen are eager to turn the page and look to improve. The Titans, who play four of their next six games at Calihan Hall, including Wednesday against Toledo, open Horizon League play Dec. 28 at Green Bay.
“I think we have a bright future for the rest of the season,” Allen said.
“Even if we had won tonight, we wouldn’t have won the national championship,” Jackson said. “We need to pay attention to details and be playing well in March. We’ve improved over the first part of the season.”
George Alfano is a freelance writer.