BEIJING – The UCLA men's basketball team defeated Tsinghua University, 116-68, in an exhibition game Saturday evening to kick off USA-China University Sport and Culture Week during the Bruins' weeklong goodwill tour in China.
David Wear recorded game-highs with 20 points and 15 rebounds, connecting on 9 of 10 shots from the field. Travis Wear and Norman Powell each finished with 19 points in the exhibition victory. Powell nailed 7 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 three-point baskets.
"A lot of guys stood out offensively, and I was really pleased with how we shared the ball," head coach Ben Howland said. "I thought the Wears played well, and I thought that Josh [Smith] did really well when he was in there and was a very difficult matchup for them."
In all, the Bruins finished with six players scoring in double figures. Joshua Smith recorded 18 points on 9 of 10 shooting from the field, while Tyler Lamb collected 14 points, hitting 2 of 4 three-point shots. Kyle Anderson registered 11 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in his first action wearing a UCLA uniform.
UCLA led Tsinghua from start to finish, claiming an early 8-0 cushion in the first quarter. Playing with international rules and using four 10-minute quarters, the Bruins claimed a 38-18 cushion after The Opening quarter. Tyler Lamb scored nine of his 14 points in the first period, scoring UCLA's first four points in the game.
The Bruins finished the game by connecting on 50 of 77 shots from the field, including five of 11 three-point baskets. UCLA went 11-for-14 from the free throw line, while Tsinghua made just 16 of 35 free throw attempts in the Bruins' first of three exhibition games over a four-day span in China.
Tsinghua was led by Binbin Xie's nine points, all coming on three-point shots in the second half.
Lamb led UCLA with 10 assists and two blocks and also grabbed four rebounds. Smith netted 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Jordan Adams scored eight points on 4 of 14 shooting and logged a game-high five steals in his first action at the college level.
The Bruins dished 30 assists and finished with just five turnovers. UCLA's defense held Tsinghua to a 37.5 percent shooting percentage (19 of 51 shots). Tsinghua was 7-for-12 from three-point range, sinking each of its three-point shots in the second half.
UCLA has two exhibition contests remaining during the team's weeklong stay in China. The Bruins will face Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Monday before taking on the Shanghai Sharks (professional team in the Chinese Basketball Association) on Tuesday night.
UCLA head coach Ben Howland
on UCLA's first exhibition game in China
"A lot of guys stood out offensively. Tyler Lamb was fantastic and ended up with 10 assists. Kyle [Anderson] and Larry [Drew II] both made some very good passes. I thought Norman Powell played well today. His dunk early in the game was electrifying on that fast break, and I thought the Wears played well. He had some foul trouble, but when Josh [Smith] was in there, he was very hard to matchup with. We are hoping to play better defensively the next time we go out."
on freshman Kyle Anderson
"I thought that Kyle did a great job. He made some nice passes. I think he had six rebounds by halftime, so he rebounds the ball very well. He's a very smart player."
on the 90-minute long pregame ceremony
"Well, that's part of being in a foreign country and doing an exhibition like this. It ran a little longer than we expected. But when you talk about what our conference is trying to do with China, it's far-reaching. We had some high dignitaries there. We had a bunch of fans from UCLA come out to the game. It's really important, the relationship between these two countries."
UCLA junior forward David Wear
on the chance to play the first of three exhibition games in China
"It was really exciting. Even the two weeks leading up to this trip, we knew that we have a special team. We have meshed together really well and now we are able to see how well we can off of each other. It is so exciting to see how we played the way we did. Everyone was having a great time. Everyone was making the extra pass. I don't recall anybody forcing a shot throughout the entire game."
on the 90-minute pregame ceremony
"That was really something that we're not used to. The whole hour leading up the game, the whole festivities was really unique. It was fun, and I'm really just trying to take this all in because I know I'll never be able to experience something like this again."
on what to take heading into the next two games
"There are a lot of things that we can take away from this game. We really want to push the ball, and I thought we did that well tonight. That's exactly how we want to play. I thought that we did a great job finishing around the rim. We stayed aggressive. Defensively, we would like to stay out of foul trouble so that we can play more man-to-man, but the foul situation is largely out of our control."
on throwing down some exciting dunks
"When we come off the bench and somebody has an exciting dunk, we'll talk about who is getting the next one, kind of like ‘You haven't got one yet, so you're getting the next one.' It's fun to be a part of and we like to look for each other. We know that if somebody hasn't gotten a dunk yet, then we will look for them. It's a good thing. We are such a tight-knit family and we get along so well together, it's great to be a part of a team like this."
UCLA freshman guard Kyle Anderson
on playing his first game wearing a UCLA uniform
"It was great to finally be out on the court, especially in a different country, and to start the season off on a great note. It's going to be a long season when we get to practices in October, but it feels great to get the win tonight."
on what stood out the most in UCLA's first game
It was my teammates play, the way we got out in transition early. We were stronger on defense earlier in the game. The way we scored in transition was great. Everybody was knocking down shots and everybody played well."
on the strong performances by David and Travis Wear
"They were very active on the glass. David and Travis were great tonight. I was able to hit them a few times running the floor – great put-backs, great second-chance opportunities and great job on the defensive end."