To begin their final full day in China before returning home to Los Angeles on Wednesday, UCLA players toured Shanghai's World Financial Center, the third-tallest building in the world.
The view from the 100th floor observation deck was surely breathtaking, but it wasn't as beautiful a sight to the Bruins as the scoreboard later Tuesday night after their third and final exhibition matchup.
UCLA defeated the host Shanghai Sharks 92-63, capping a trip in which the Bruins won their three games by an average of more than 39 points. Granted the Sharks were without stars Liu Wei or Max Zheng and did not have the two American players the Chinese Basketball Association allows teams to carry on their roster, but this was still a good result for the Bruins against the strongest opponent on the trip.
Versatile freshman Kyle Anderson scored 21 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists, a performance sure to whet fans' appetites for what's to come in the regular season. Travis Wear had 26 points and eight rebounds, Jordan Adams had 18 points and Tyler Lamb had 15 points and six steals, helping UCLA close the game on a 19-2 run after the Sharks briefly pulled to within 10.
After the final buzzer sounded, UCLA was able to take a few pictures with former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, the co-owner of the Sharks who was seated courtside for the game. In Tuesday's UCLA in China diary entry, Anderson and Lamb both discussed their own performances, how the team responded to better competition and what the Bruins gained from the trip as a whole.
I thought that I had a pretty good and complete all-around game. It just came along with the team game. It was about getting guys involved and defensive rebounds and doing things to allow the team to win.
They had a different style of play, kind of an NBA style of play. They were very well-disciplined and well-coached, you could tell. They were staying on their feet, not falling for shot fakes, coming into jump stops, just the fundamentals and the basics. They cut it to 10 points, and that's when we got it together. We kept our composure and went on a great run.
I definitely learned [from playing three games in China] that you have to play hard. There are no possessions off in college. Every time you are out there, you have to give your all. It all comes with being well-conditioned. You've just got to play hard every second that you're out there.
They brought it back down to eight or 10 early in the second half. They were kind of sticking around. For us to have brought that lead back up is really good for us. Every team goes through adversity during a game. I mean, their crowd was into it and they started knocking down some shots. But we know how we are capable of playing so we went out there and executed. We just focused on making defensive stops and getting some easy baskets.
"I think we [leave China knowing] a little bit more of how we can play together and what we are capable of when we play a whole team effort on defense. We have multiple weapons - we can go inside and we have really good guard play. I think we are just trying to become a complete team. These three games helped us to see where we stand. I think we can go into practice for the real season and we'll be all right.
Previously in the UCLA in China series: