Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mbah a Moute's Double-Double Sinks Ducks

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute recorded a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to help UCLA (19-2, 8-2) regain sole possession of first-place in the Pac-10 with a 69-57 victory over the Oregon Ducks before an electric crowd of 12,113 at Pauley Pavilion.

"I thought his performance was great," said teammate Darren Collison. "You can see that from Luc pretty much every game. He's not always the high scorer, but he does little things.

"Look at his line," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said, reading off each category. "And he played great defense. He really played with a lot of passion."

Mbah a Moute was perfect from the field shooting 6-6 while recording four blocks and four steals with most of them coming against Oregon's Malik Hairston.

Hampered by injuries all season, Hairston is not the same player who competed against UCLA last season.  Still not in top shape or condition, Hairston was a step slow and never a factor in the game.

Throughout the contest the Bruin defense was magnificent, holding the Ducks to only 36.% shooting from the field. 

Oregon's Aaron Brooks, who torched UCLA for 31 points in the first meeting, was held to 14 points on just 5-13 shooting by Arron Afflalo and a UCLA team defense that rotated to help with Brooks and frustrate him most of the night. 

In their victory over the Bruins in Eugene, Oregon's match-up zone was extremely effective against UCLA, and most everyone expected to see the zone often in this game.  However, for some  inexplicable reason, Duck's coach Ernie Kent had his team defend man-to-man and did not employ a zone until six minutes remained in the half.  By this time, UCLA had already gone on a 10-0 run to open up a 15 point margin over Oregon.

With Oregon in a match-up zone for the rest of the first-half, UCLA's offense sputtered, scoring just four points the rest of the half as the Ducks cut the Bruin's lead to just nine points before intermission.

To begin the second-half, oddly enough Kent chose to defend UCLA man-to-man, and the Bruins again sliced up the Oregon defense by going on a 10-2 run to build a 17 point margin. 

With a big lead in hand, UCLA started playing conservatively, losing some offensive intensity.  At the same time, Oregon started pressing full-court and cut the UCLA lead to nine-points with just over seven minutes remaining.  But the Ducks were unable to get any closer as they drop into a three-way second-place tie in the Pac-10 with a 7-3 conference record and 19-3 overall.

"We didn't want to happen what happened to us against Stanford (second-half collapse)," Darren Collison said. "We huddled up and talked about it. We don't want that to ever happen again."

Collison played a solid game scoring 12 points and handing out 4 assists while committing just two turnovers in a team-high 34 minutes.  Josh Shipp added 11 points and 3 rebounds.

UCLA shot 57.1% from the field and an identical 57.1% from three-point distance against Oregon.

In addition to his solid defense on Brooks, Afflalo tossed in a team-high 17 points on 6-12 shooting including 4-6 from beyond the arc.

"We avenged our first loss of the season," Afflalo said. "This game was very important to us. We don't want to lose to anybody twice."

The Oregon State Beavers visit Pauley Pavilion to meet the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.  The Beavers were routed by the Trojans, 73-56, at the Galen Center on Thursday.

(photo credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)



At Feb 2, 2007, 1:30:00 AM, Anonymous DJ_Rob_Gordon said...

Now THAT'S the Luc Richard I remember from last March. What a magnificent game. When he plays like that, he's just a joy to watch.

At Feb 2, 2007, 1:50:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

That was some serious "D" by our Bruins...Pauley was rockin!! I'm glad we showed up to play from the beginning...
Mr. Mata, will you please see a sports psychologist regarding your free throw shooting...geez

At Feb 2, 2007, 1:53:00 AM, Anonymous Jay Smith said...

Brooks looked like a pinball getting bounced around whenever he tried to go tot he basket. Tough D by the Bruins!
Mata 1-6 on FT??? Yikes!


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