Missouri's Earnest Ross, left, knocks the ball away from UCLA's… (L.G. Patterson / Associated…)
UCLA Coach Steve Alford seemed matter-of-fact after practice Thursday. The Bruins are coming off their first loss of the season, 80-71, to Missouri last Saturday.
While most of the players left immediately after practice because it is finals week, Alford spoke about how his team has concentrated on rebounding this week.
The Tigers outrebounded the Bruins, 47-30, and that's with Jordan Adams finishing with 10 rebounds.
"We had some things exposed," Alford said. "We left gaps in the lane; our desire to fight for rebounds wasn't good enough. That was the first time we played a team that had big guards, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-5, and they got tremendous play up front."
Alford also said he was disappointed that the Bruins, who had a 43-35 halftime lead, seemed to lose their composure when the lead went away.
"We got behind by a few points and tried to get it all back at once," he said. Consecutive Missouri three-pointers sent the Tigers on a positive run, one that, Alford said, the Bruins didn't handle well.
"We just quit doing all the good things that we had done to get the lead," he said.
Alford said that freshman forward Wanaah Bail, who had missed almost 18 months because of a knee injury but played his second game against Missouri, is coming along well.
"He's still kind of relearning the game," Alford said. "That's a long time to be away, and we're hoping to get him a few more minutes every game before the Pac-12 season begins. We can use his size."
Bail is 6 feet 9 and weighs 215 pounds and might help keep the Bruins from being outrebounded by good teams.
Freshman Zach LaVine, UCLA's second-leading scorer (14.2 points per game), finished his finals Thursday afternoon.
"Wow," he said. "Finals in college are a lot different than finals in high school."