Monday, November 05, 2007

Love, Westbrook Lead Bruins To Easy Exhibition Win

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Kevin Love recorded a game-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook added 22 points to lead UCLA to an easy thumping of Chico State, 93-55.

The Bruins were without two starters, Darren Collison and Josh Shipp and another key player in Michael Roll while only suiting up seven scholarship players. But still, UCLA had no problems with the Wildcats.

In many ways, Azusa Pacific, an NAIA team that played the Bruins in the first exhibition game, was a tougher opponent than Division II Chico State. The Azusa Pacific Cougars had bigger and more skilled personnel and were better coached than the Wildcats.

The Bruins forced 26 turnovers and out-rebounded Chico State 46-25.

Love, who recorded his second double-double in as many games, had overwhelming mis-matches in the paint all game long against the diminutive Wildcats.

It will be interesting how well Love plays once the regular season begins against Division I teams. At this point, Love has shown soft hands, a softer shooting tough, and an innate ability to get good inside position and seal off an opponent for either an easy score or foul. Against Chico St., Love went to the free thrown line twelve times, making nine of the charity shots.

It was rough Love said. "It was like hack-a-Shaq out there for me."

Russell Westbrook made some spectacular dunks that had the Pauley Pavilion crowd of 6,463 gasping in awe. Westbrook finished with a solid shooting night, hitting on 9-12 from the field, and played strong defense.

"I thought he did a good job defensively," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. "He had a lot of deflections. You could see what a difference a year makes."

As for running the offense, Westbrook still needs to improve on his decision-making as a point-guard. A number of times during the game, he sped up the Bruin offense when the ball needed to be pulled back out instead and a set play called. With Collison out for at least another week, Westbrook will have extra minutes over the next couple of games to gain more experience.

Coming off the bench, Lorenzo Mata also recorded a double-double, grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds and scoring 13 points on 6-11 shooting.

Sophomore Nikola Dragovic started in place of the injured Shipp and scored 7 points and showed some good effort on defense and on the boards. The sophomore from Serbia also made a couple of nice entry passes that impressed Coach Howland. Freshman Chace Stanback came off the bench to add 10 points.

With Darren Collison out of the line-up, walk-on Mustafa Abdul-Hamid logged 16 minutes and scored on a deep three-point shot in the first half.

UCLA had a 57-25 halftime lead, with Love leading the Bruins with 17 points and six rebounds in just the first half.

"We had a good first half," Howland said. "We forced a lot of turnovers that gave us a really nice lead."

The Bruins will start the regular season this Friday, November 9th, against Portland State. Shipp may return, but Collison remains doubtful for the game.

BBR Notes: Darren Collison was named to the AP Preseason All-American Team. Also named were North Carolina junior forward Tyler Hansbrough, Georgetown senior center Roy Hibbert, Tennessee senior guard Chris Lofton and Michigan State senior guard Drew Neitzel.

(photo credit: AP)



At Nov 6, 2007, 12:28:00 AM, Anonymous Pshark13 said...

Westbrook looks to be the next great PG for the Bruins

At Nov 6, 2007, 12:40:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Scalpers couldn't give away their tickets...nobody was there....
Our team is lookin good!!

At Nov 6, 2007, 12:49:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

Westbrook looks good but I think he is (and is going to be) a better shooting guard. Sure he can bring the ball down but I don't see point guard in him yet.
But dang, he is quite a scorer. Westbrook alone, could make up AA's scoring. Those dunks!!!!

At Nov 6, 2007, 12:58:00 AM, Anonymous KB said...

If I'm that Chico St. kid getting dunked on....I'd frame this picture to show to my grandkids how I got dunked on by an "NBA PLAYER" by the name of Russell Westbrook

At Nov 6, 2007, 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

I can see how next years probable backcourt of Holiday and Westbrook could possibly be the best in the country!


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