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#pounditThursday, June 30, 2022

UCLA coach has funny quote about his team’s bad defense

Mick Cronin

The UCLA Bruins have started out hot this season, winning each of their first three games. That streak includes a victory over then-No. 4 Villanova on November 12, but don’t expect a positive spin from head coach Mick Cronin.

UCLA has surrendered just over 71 points per game on average this year, including 79 in a victory over Long Beach State on Monday night. Following the win, Cronin shredded the defensive performance with a pretty funny line.

“This game is not gonna ease my pain of horrendous defense, but you’ve got to give those guys credit for scoring,” Cronin said, via Sports Illustrated. “If I had a pair of sneakers, I think I could score on some of our guys tonight and I turned 50 this summer.”

Asked specifically what led to a better defensive performance in the second half, Cronin again pulled no punches.

“I would say they maybe they ran out of gas. Right now, defensively, I don’t like one thing we’re doing on the ball or off the ball or talk in transition,” Cronin added.

On the plus side of things, the Bruins have averaged nearly 94 points per game over their first three. And that’s a good thing, says Cronin, because it’s the only way they’re going to win.

“We better (score). We better,” he said.

If UCLA doesn’t improve defensively, the good vibes generated from beating Villanova will only last so long.

“I mean, I know everybody’s happy we beat Villanova but the game was at home. To me, that game shouldn’t have even come down the way it came down. We’ve got a lot to learn,” Cronin said. “(The defensive play is) completely unsustainable. Completely. You cannot win on the road if you don’t defend. You’ve got no chance on the road if you can’t defend.”

The 3-0 Bruins will get a couple days off before hosting North Florida (0-4) on Wednesday night.

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