The Oakland Golden Grizzlies hope that taking their lumps early in the season will pay off when they eventually get to the Horizon League part of their schedule.
Oakland, fresh off a 21-point loss to No. 12 North Carolina, arrived at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday night with just 10 players and left after a 91-60 drubbing at the hands of the 24th-ranked Bruins.
Travis Bader scored 19 points to lead the Golden Grizzlies but even his performance wasn't enough to put a smile on the face of Oakland coach Greg Kampe.
"I am not pleased with our performance," Kampe said. "It was awful. Travis was average at best."
Things are expected to stay tough for the Golden Grizzlies, who will face No. 15 Gonzaga at the Maui Invitational next week. They have one game in which to prepare for that game, Friday at California.
On the bright side, Oakland won't have to face Jordan Adams or Tony Parker, who scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead the Bruins (2-0).
UCLA pulled away by closing the first half on a 27-9 run to take a 44-24 lead. An 18-2 run in the second half sealed the victory for the Bruins.
UCLA dominated in all aspects of the game, shooting 52.5 percent from the field and outrebounding the Grizzlies 49-28. Oakland shot 30.8 percent from the field.
The Bruins were coming off a five-point, season-opening win over Drexel, one in which they nearly blew a 13-point lead. They seemed to work much better as a unit Tuesday.
"I learned that they did have some toughness in grinding out a win in the opener but as a whole, I wasn't overly thrilled with their toughness in the opener," UCLA coach Steve Alford said. "I thought we were tougher. We've got a long way to go with that.
"Toughness is something you create as an identity as a team. We were much harder to play against in this game than we were against Drexel. That's the demeanor this team has to take on."
The Golden Grizzlies tried in vain to keep up by launching 3-point shots but they connected on just two of 15 attempts in the first half and were 6 of 25 for the game.
The Golden Grizzlies stayed even with the Bruins through the opening minutes only to be left in the dust when UCLA got down to business.
The Golden Grizzlies trailed by two points with 9:22 remaining in the first half thanks, in part to their strong rebounding and their ability to get the ball inside against the Bruins.
It didn't last. The Bruins picked up the tempo and ended the first half on a 27-9 run.
Parker, who notched a career high in points and had 12 rebounds for the first double-double of his career, said that it was important for him to stay on the court. That meant adhering to Alford's request that he stay out of foul trouble.
"Coach has been on me about keeping my hands up and staying out of foul trouble," Parker said. "The coach has to trust me so I have to play hard. I tried to do my dirty work early. It was hard to box me out but I know I also have to work on my free throws."
Alford challenged both Parker and David Wear to stay out of foul trouble. That's because he needs them on the court until his taller reinforcements — 6-foot-10 Travis Wear and 6-9 Wanaah Bail — get healthy.
"Travis and Wanaah are close to getting back," Alford said. "Tony was terrific. These two bigs (Parker and David Wear) have gotten a lot of experience early in the season and hopefully have gained some confidence."
Travis Bader scored 19 points to lead the Golden Grizzlies, while Tommie McCune added 12.
Norman Powell scored 18 points for the Bruins.
Alford coached in his 700th game and his career record stands at 465-235.
UCLA's 18-2 run gave it a 68-34 lead with 11:36 remaining in the game.
Alford started to empty his bench with 5:04 left in the game, and the Bruins leading 80-45.
"It's UCLA," Bader said. "We have played North Carolina. We're up, positive and understand that these are two of the top programs in the country. It's not the results we wanted but we know we are going to play as hard as we can."
Tuesday's loss was Oakland's 25th in 26th road games against ranked opponents. Their lone road win against a ranked opponent came on Dec. 14, 2010 against Tennessee.