Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bruins Take Care Of Business, Beat OSU

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Coming into the game heavily favored against an injury-riddled Oregon St. team (OSU), coach Ben Howland wanted his team to get out to an early big lead to allow him to rest his starters.

Mission accomplished.

The Bruins went on a 14-0 run to begin the second half and put the game quickly out of reach to beat the Oregon St. Beavers, 79-47.

"We were able to get through this game limiting the number of minutes for Jordan and Arron," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "That's great because when you're playing three games in a row -- if we're fortunate enough to be able to win tomorrow -- you want to be able to stay fresh."

No Bruin played more than 24 minutes in the game. The backcourt duo of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo played only 22 and 23 minutes, respectively. Afflalo scored 16 points on 3-4 shooting from three-point distance; while Farmar finished with 7 points and 5 assists.

Senior center Ryan Hollins continued his outstanding play of late. Hollins scored a season-high 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. He continued to get good low post position in this game, and it appears his teammates are gaining more confidence in passing the ball down low to him in the low blocks.

"My teammates were doing a great job of getting me the ball," Hollins said. "I know I can help the team. I just try to do the little things."

Yesterday, OSU rallied to upset the Arizona Sun Devils, despite playing without their leading scorer Sasa Cuic. Center Kyle Jeffers stepped up for his team and scored a career-high 20 points to the lead the Beavers.

Unfortunately for OSU, they were unable to duplicate the same effort on Thursday - primarily because the UCLA defense simply did not allow it. Bruin defenders contested every shot in route to limiting the Beavers to just 32.1% shooting from the floor.

Jeffers was held to only 3 points on 1-3 shooting. He wasn't able to attempt a single field goal until the second half, as UCLA's Hollins and Alfred Aboya took turns frustrating the Beaver center.

OSU senior Chris Stephens was held once again in check by Afflalo. Stephens scored just five points on 2-14 shooting. He had been instrumental in the upset victory over ASU when he scored 14 points.

Forward Marcel Jones, a local product from Mater Dei HS, was the only Beaver to score in double-figures by shooting 8-14 for 19 points. Jones kept the Beavers in the game in the first half, but his contributions were not nearly enough.

UCLA played the game the way a No.1 tournament seed should play. It dominated a bottom-seed team and controlled the contest for the entire 40 minutes.

UCLA shot 52.8% from the field, and even better from three-point distance - shooting 10-16 for 62.5% from beyond the arc.

After committing 11 turnovers in the first half which helped keep the Beavers in the game, the Bruins committed only 4 turnovers in the second half to allow them to put the game away.

The only negative of the evening was an injury suffered by senior forward Cedric Bozeman.

Bozeman sprained his left ankle after he fall out of bounds and attempted to avoid cameramen and cheerleaders. X-rays on the ankle were negative and Bozeman was immediately placed in a walking boot to take any pressure off the ankle. His status is unknown at this time.

Bozeman had scored 6 points on 2-2 shooting from three-point distance.

UCLA can not afford to lose Bozeman for the Pac-10, and more importantly, the NCAA tournament. Although they have some depth at the position, Bozeman provides intangibles and leadership which are irreplaceable on the team.

UCLA will face the No.4 seed Arizona Wildcats in a semifinal game on Friday. The Wildcats defeated Stanford, 73-68, in an earlier game.

Game notes: Sophomore center Lorenzo Mata made a surprise entrance at the end of the game and played 5 minutes. He scored 2 points and recorded 2 blocks. With Hollins and Aboya playing well at the center position, 5-10 minutes from Mata during the tournament would solidify a position which was the weakest point on the team to begin the season.


(photo credit: AP)


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