Thursday, January 25, 2007

Afflalo Sizzles, UCLA Puts Cal Away

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Junior guard Arron Afflalo scored a game-high 25 points including 20 in the decisive second-half to lead the UCLA Bruins to a 62-46 win over the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.   

Teammate Josh Shipp added 12 points as the Bruins improved their overall record to 18-1 and 7-1 in the Pac-10 conference.

The game began inauspiciously for the Bruins as the Cal Bears went out to a 16-8 lead halfway through the first-half on sluggish play by UCLA on both ends of the court.

Defensively, the Bruins were over-playing on the perimeter and were getting beaten back-door and their weakside defenders slow in rotating.  Cal's Ryan Anderson and Theo Robertson capitalized on the defensive miscues, scoring 13 points during this span. 

On the offensive end, despite holding a decisive size advantage in the paint, the Bruins settled for outside shots early and then missed a number of easy lay-ups after adjusting to go inside the paint.

But when Ryan Anderson was forced to the bench after picking up his second foul with 9:29 remaining in the half, the momentum shifted with UCLA going on a 18-4 run and finising the half leading 28-24.

In the second stanza it was all Arron Afflalo.  Darting around multiple solid picks set by his teammates,  Afflalo scored 20 of 25 points in the half on 6-8 shooting and almost outscored the entire Cal team which could only muster 22 points in the second-half.

"They were fighting and we were making some mistakes," Afflalo said. "So we knew we had to come out in the second half and play with a lot more energy, a lot more effort."

Afflalo also teamed with Darren Collison to hold Cal's second-leading scorer Ayinde Ubaka to zero points on 0-8 shooting.  Ubaka had entered the contest averaging 15.1 points a contest. 

"You've got to look at Arron Afflalo's defense," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. "Not only does he get 25, he does a great job on Ubaka."

In addition, the tag team of Lorenzo Mata and Alfred Aboya at center performed much better defensively against Ryan Anderson in the second-half holding him to just 13 points for the game, well below his season average of 17.4 points.  Mata and Aboya also combined for 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Bruins were outstanding on the boards, outrebounding the Bears 35-23.  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who sprained his knee last week and was cleared to play just yesterday, led all players with 11 rebounds including 3 on the offensive end.

With UCLA's defense clamping down on Cal in the second-half, the under-manned Bears, who have three scholarship players injured, began to wear down under the pressure of the Bruin defense.  Cal finished the game shooting 36.7% from the field and a miserable 26.7% (4-15) from three-point distance.   

Point-guard Darren Collison struggled offensively going scoreless in the first-half and finished with just 4 points and 3 assists while committing 2 turnovers in the game. However, his able back-up, freshman Russell Westbrook, came in and sparked the Bruins in his 10 minutes of play.  Although Westbrook finished with just 2 points, on a gorgeous spin move,  and 1 assist, his aggressiveness on the court helped energize the team during parts of the game.

UCLA finished the contest shooting 50% from the field but just 21.4% (3-14) from three-point distance.   They also shot a subpar 60% (9-15) from the free-throw line with only Arron Afflalo (9-9) making any shots from the charity stripe.

The Bruins finish their Northern California trip with a tough game against the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday in Palo Alto.  Stanford upset USC, 65-50, at Maples Pavilion on Thursday.

(photo credit: AP)



At Jan 25, 2007, 11:12:00 PM, Anonymous ChinaLake said...

USC only scored 50. Love your stuff--keep it up!

At Jan 26, 2007, 12:11:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

We sleep walk through these games but we only give up 50! It's like a magic act! When we get up for a big game, we blow out teams like Michigan.
Bring on the 7footers and Stanford. Mr. Mata and Mr. Aboya, u better go up strong and wipe the peanut butter off your fingers!!


Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home