TAMPA, Fla. -- UCLA guard Malcolm Lee took an inadvertent elbow to the head Thursday night during the Bruins' 78-76 victory over Michigan State in the NCAA tournament and needed three staples to close a gash.
The injury occurred in the middle of the second half when Kalin Lucas drove toward the basket and Lee jumped up to defend. Joshua Smith's elbow hit Lee in the head on the way up.
Lee finished the game without realizing how bad the gash was and had the staples inserted afterward. He had 16 points, five rebounds and three steals.
"I didn’t know it was bleeding until I was rubbing my head and somebody said you have blood on your shorts," Lee said. "I guess I was wiping my hands and I had blood on my hands. At first it [hurt], but then it just went away so it was nothing."
Lee said the injury would not affect him for Saturday's game against Florida, and that's good news for the Bruins. Lee is an All-Pac-10 guard and is UCLA's top defender. He held Lucas, Michigan State's leading scorer, to 4-for-14 shooting Thursday night and held him scoreless through the first 30 minutes.
"I think Malcolm is the best defender at his position in the country," coach Ben Howland said.
Lucas ended up hitting several key shots down the stretch as Michigan State whittled UCLA's 23-point lead down to two, but Lee's play keyed UCLA's strong defensive effort. Even many of the shots Michigan State was making during their run were contested shots.
"It was great seeing Malcolm shutting down their best player," guard Lazeric Jones said. "It makes everyone else play harder. He made every shot for him tough. He was there every time he took a shot."