Monday, December 05, 2005

Bruins Fall Asleep Then Awaken To Beat Coppin St.

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Perhaps the Bruins have difficulty getting motivated against lesser teams as the 16th ranked Bruins (6-1) trailed Coppin St.(0-6) by five points at halftime before rallying in the second half to defeat the Eagles 69-57.

Coppin St. played a patient, slow down half-court offense which seemingly lulled the #16 ranked Bruins to sleep in the first half. The Eagles passed the ball around for almost the entire shot clock before taking a shot attempt - and making most of the them on their way to shooting 60% in the first half.

In the meantime the Bruins once again played down to the level of their opponent. UCLA had problems executing their half court offense against a stubborn Eagle zone defense while managing only 39 shots for the ENTIRE game - the Bruins came into the game averaging over 50 field goal attempts per game.

On the defensive end the Bruins were unable to force many turnovers while allowing Coppin St. to set the slow deliberate tempo. The Eagles ended the game with only 10 turnovers while the Bruins committed 15 total.

The Bruins overcame the first half deficit with an 11-3 run to open the second half to take a 41-38 lead led by sophomore Arron Afflalo and senior Cedric Bozeman who hit key baskets and free throws to awaken the Bruins and put them ahead for good. Afflalo and Bozeman ended the game with 20 and 15 respectively.

The young Eagle players also had abandoned their controlled slow tempo offense at the start of the second half much to the dismay of their head coach Ron Mitchell, and were never able to quite recover as the Bruins began to pull away due to Coppin St. turnovers and mistakes. "We lost our composure," Mitchell said. "We gave them (Bruins) a lot of easy baskets to start the second half. You can't do that if you want to win at a place like this."

Jordan Farmar, who was questionable for the game due to an ankle sprain, played well and scored 16 points and handed out 10 assists - 5 more assists than the entire Coppin St. team

The UCLA center spot already plagued by inconsistent play and injuries this year, again failed to meet the challenge. With a Coppin St. team which played no player taller than 6'7, Ryan Wright and Ryan Hollins combined for an anemic one point and three rebounds in 30 minutes. Ryan Wright was given the start since he grabbed the most rebounds during practice played only seven minutes - all in the first half. With the Bruins behind after the first half, coach Ben Howland went with Ryan Hollins and Alfred Aboya in the second half.

Alfred Aboya, finally playing in his first college basketball game, grabbed 2 rebounds and handed out 2 assists in just 16 minutes of play. Aboya played a combination of center and power forward and was impressive in the post. Although he missed both his shot attempts in the game, Aboya was given the ball twice in the low block and created basketed off assist plays each time. With more time and experience, Aboya will help the interior game of the Bruins.

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute recorded his second straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in addition to 4 blocked shots. A matter of fact, Mbah A Moute grabbed over 30% of the total Bruin rebounds and had only 2 less than the entire Coppin St. team. Once again he was hustling all over the court as he continued to impress his coaches and other observers. Mbah A Moute has definitely shown to be a special player for the Bruins this year.

With the break-out play of Mbah A Moute and promising beginning for Alfred Aboya - don't be surprised to see a frontline which may include a combination of Mbah A Boute, Aboya, Bozeman, and Shipp garner the majority of the minutes.

Although the Bruins held Coppin St to 43% in the second half, the Eagles finished the night at a hot 53% pace - way too high a percentage for an opposing team to shoot against a Ben Howland coached team and much too high for a low caliber team to shoot against a team like UCLA.

The Bruins must improve their play and intensity dramatically by next Saturday as the they face the #20 ranked Nevada at the Wooden Classic at the Anaheim, Arrowhead Pond. Nevada plays a tough inside game - a weakness this Bruin squad must improve in order to advance beyond their finish last year in March.



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