Throw it to Mo and watch him work.
That could be UCLA’s strategy in a nutshell this season with 7-foot-1 Moses Brown patrolling the paint.
The freshman from Queens, New York, had a double-double with 19 points and 17 rebounds in his collegiate debut and the 21st-ranked Bruins routed Fort Wayne 96-71 on Tuesday night to open their 100th season of basketball.
Standing 7-foot-1 — an inch shorter than Bruins great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — Brown impacted in other ways, too. He assisted on UCLA’s first two baskets, had a block and a steal, and generally disrupted things down low. He shot 9 of 10 from the floor.
“We got Mo that dunks everything,” said Kris Wilkes, who led the Bruins with a career-high 27 points. “It’s pretty good when you get to the paint you have nowhere else to go and you throw it up to Mo.”
At times, though, Brown also played like a freshman when he traveled on consecutive possessions, earned a technical foul for slapping the backboard after a dunk and had four of the Bruins’ 15 turnovers.
“I’ve been waiting for this all summer, marking it down day by day and finally got out and did it,” Brown said. “I kind of had a little bit of butterflies going in, but I shook it off by the second half.”
John Konchar led F with 27 points.
UCLA led 48-31 at halftime after shooting 58 percent from the floor and controlling the boards 24-14. Wilkes had 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting at the break.
Brown got a technical after dunking for the Bruins’ first basket of the second half. He grabbed a long rebound and fought through two defenders to get to the basket.
UCLA used a 12-0 run to build its largest lead at 78-50 with seven minutes left in the game. Brown scored six points and had another dunk, and Wilkes hit a 3-pointer in the spurt.
“Give credit to them,” Fort Wayne coach Jon Coffman said, “but some of that was us.”
Jaylen Hands added 18 points and seven assists and Chris Smith had 13 points and eight rebounds for UCLA. Wilkes had 10 rebounds to help the Bruins dominate the boards 52-28.
Fort Wayne missed its first seven shots and got outscored 13-2 to start the game in front of 5,931 at Pauley Pavilion.
“It was a really great atmosphere,” Konchar said. “So much history in this building.”
Fort Wayne: The Mastodons continue a challenging nonconference schedule on Nov. 11 at Ohio State and Nov. 16 at Dayton. They were picked to finish fourth in the Summit League, two years after winning the regular-season title.
UCLA: The Bruins’ first serious test of the season comes Nov. 22 against No. 10 Michigan State in the Las Vegas Invitational. Until then, they have three games against far lesser foes to prepare for the national spotlight. UCLA starts four underclassmen since it has no seniors on the roster for the first time since 2010. The Bruins are without three potential impact players: freshmen Shareef O’Neal and Tyger Campbell and redshirt freshman Cody Riley. O’Neal (heart ailment) and Campbell (torn left ACL) will miss the season, while Riley is out at least three weeks with an injured jaw.
FIRST FROSH CLUB
Brown became the first UCLA freshman with a double-double in his debut since Nov. 11, 2016. That’s when TJ Leaf had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Lonzo Ball had 19 points and 11 assists in UCLA’s 119-80 win over Pacific. Kevin Love had 22 points and 13 rebounds in his debut in 2007.
Brown’s slap after his dunk earned him a seat on the bench.
“A New York habit,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said.
Brown says he does it a lot at practice over Alford’s objections.
Fort Wayne: Hosts Earlham on Thursday, barely 48 hours after traveling 1,800 miles home from the West Coast.
UCLA: Hosts Long Beach State on Friday in the second of four straight home games to open the season.
Source: The Associated Press