UCLA basketball fans looking for an encapsulation of the 13th-ranked Bruins’ near upset loss to UC Irvine on Tuesday night need look no further than to junior center Joshua Smith.
With the Bruins nursing a two-point lead and under seven minutes remaining, Smith stole the ball and had a seemingly clear path to the hoop for an easy two points. But the 6-foot-10, 305-pounder seemingly got his feet stuck on the Pauley Pavilion court and airballed his layup attempt (if the ball touched the rim, it’s just barely).
To his credit, Smith finished the game with a solid five points, five rebounds and four steals off the bench. But he has to be able to finish a lot better on his breakaway opportunities. If Marques Johnson can dunk at age 56, surely Smith can do the same at age 20.