It was a bit ironic.
The first game in recent years that UCLA completely blows out an opponent comes against the coach who most recently was on the staff.
Ex-UCLA assistant and current head coach Michael Holton couldn't have been deliberately helping UCLA, but the Bruins used his strategic miscalculation to get a break-out blowout, 105-67.
With Portland's limited athleticism and talent, about the best thing UCLA could wish for would be that the Pilots would try to get in a running, near-pick-up game type of tempo and style, and that's exactly what the Pilots did. And it was just what the doctored ordered for this UCLA team that had struggled so far this season. The game was played at a quick pace, with Portland shooting the ball from long distance with little ball movement and, with little rebounding, the Bruins were off, scoring on alley-oops and transition threes.
The biggest spark to the win was that
Dijon Thompson had 23 points, a game-high, off the bench, and 8 rebounds.
Andre Patterson, who had been reinstated to school just a day ago, didn't look particularly rusty – and just as athletic and active as you would expect, and actually a little bit more filled out around his shoulders and upper body. He entered the game to a standing ovation halfway through the second half, which obviously had him unable to control a grin. He came in and quickly swatted a shot out of bounds and later had an alley-oop jam, ending with three points, two blocks and two steals in seven minutes of play.
Also encouraging was the continued progress of freshman center Michael Fey, who had seven points and three blocked shots in just 16 minutes.
While it's refreshing that UCLA blew out a team like the UCLA teams of old, the elation should be tempered by the realization of truly how poor this