Monday, November 19, 2007

Love Doubles Up Maryland, Bruins Win Ugly

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Freshman Kevin Love notched another double-double scoring 18 points and hauling down 16 rebounds to lead UCLA to a 71-59 win over the Maryland Terrapins to advance to the finals of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. The Bruins will face the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game.

The game was far from a basketball clinic as both teams struggled to find their rhythm.

UCLA was bothered most of the game by the Terrapin's trapping defense.  Although Maryland forced just 14 turnovers, their pressing defense took the Bruins out of their comfort zone on offense.

While Love's double-double was impressive, it was his passing and basketball IQ on the court that helped the Bruins the most in this game.

Love's ability to pass over the top of the press and his knowledge to deliver the pass to the right person was the key to UCLA breaking the Maryland press in the second half as the Bruins pushed the lead to 20.

However, when Love was removed from the game to rest, the Bruins struggled again attacking the zone which required Love to be reinserted into the lineup.  Love played a season-high 34 minutes.

Josh Shipp  added 18 points on 6 of 13 shooting and looked every bit recovered from his offseason hip surgery - especially on one highlight reel tomahawk dunk over Bambale Osby at the end of a breakaway.  Point-guard Russell Westbrook scored 13 points and 7 assists with 8 of the points coming from the free throw line.  However, both players committed 3 turnovers each and  appeared tentative playing against the Maryland press.

UCLA's offense missed injured guard Darren Collison terribly in this game.  Against the Maryland press, the Bruins were missing another sure-handed ballhandler as well as an experienced player who could break the press and then set the offense. 

Too many times, the Terrapins were successful in speeding up the Bruin offense into quick or forced possessions.  Collison would have been a steadying forced with the ball. The Bruins shot just 37.7% from the field in the game.

"To win shooting 37 percent says a lot about our defense," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Another deciding factor was the boards where UCLA, led by Love, outrebounded Maryland 40-28.  Lorenzo Mata-Real added 9 rebounds  off the bench including 6 on the offensive end.

As for Maryland, they continued their sloppy play from earlier games by committing 21 turnovers, many of them unforced, in the game. 

If the Terrapins had played under more control offensively, the game would have been much closer or could even have been a Maryland victory instead.

A few times when it looked like the Terrapin's defensive pressure might turn the game, a Maryland player would kick the ball out of bounds or take a wild three-point shot which took away any momentum that may have gained on the defensive end. 

Venezuelan point-guard Greivis Vasquez led the Terrapins with 19 points but his bad shot selection and 4 turnovers negated much of his contributions.

Maryland shot just 40.0% from the field and were only 1-11 from beyond the arc. 

The Terrapins had 8 blocks in the game, led by 6'8 center Bambale Osby who had 4 blocks before fouling out late in the game.  Osby, a good defensive player, gave UCLA's Love a glimpse of the type of competition he'll face down low against better Division I big men.  Love had difficulty getting off a shot in the low post most of the game due to the defensive pressure of Osby and help defenders.

UCLA will face the No.10 ranked Michigan State Spartans Tuesday night in the CBE Classic championship game.  The Spartans edged Missouri in the other semifinal game, 86-83.

BBR Notes: Kevin Love reportedly chipped a bone on his left index finger during practice.  His hand was bandaged for most the game.  He shot just 7-12 from the free throw line.

ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll had UCLA and North Carolina tied at No.1 each with 744 points.  The Bruins remained at No.2 in the AP poll.

(photo credit: AP/Dick Whipple)



At Nov 19, 2007, 2:08:00 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

What a sloppy game! We'll take the victory though. I thought Shipp looked excellent and Love, Westbrook and Mata-Real played well too. I was a little surprised that Love missed so many block shot attempts but his rebounding was outstanding. Maryland was putting some very hard fouls on Love every time he went for a dunk. Also, for some reason ACC lover Dick Vitale wanted everyone to know that Kevin Love was not even close to being 6-10. He must have repeated 4-5 times during the game that love was only 6-8 3/4. I expect a better team performance vs Mich St and predict Love will get his offense going and score 25+ points.

At Nov 19, 2007, 2:41:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Huh, Love chipped a bone....tell me more this going to heal or linger throughout the season???


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