Friday, November 23, 2007

UCLA Overpowers Yale But Can't Avoid Injuries

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

In the type of game UCLA hoped to win without experiencing any further player injuries, it managed to at least accomplish one of those goals as the Bruins overpowered the Yale Bulldogs, 81-47, before a Pauley Pavilion crowd of 10,420, but two more key players suffered injuries.

Already starting the game shorthanded with just eight scholarship players, forward Alfred Aboya was elbowed in the left eye and had to leave the game midway through the first-half. He was transported to the hospital for x-rays for a possible orbital fracture.

Then with six minutes remaining in the blow-out victory UCLA had more misfortune when freshman Kevin Love landed on an opponent's foot and sprained his left ankle. He limped to the locker room with his shoe removed to the cheer of the crowd, but a few moments later with his ankle newly taped he came jogging back to finish the game with his teammates.

"He wanted me to put him back in," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said.

Love said he had never suffered an ankle sprain before and that it felt a little sore after the game

"I was just trying to be tough, and I did want to get back out on the floor," Love said. "We had a substantial lead, but I wanted to get back out there and play a little bit. I've never sprained an ankle before, so that's a little something different for me."

More information will follow on both injuries in the upcoming days, but needless to say, the Bruins can ill afford to lose either Aboya or Love for any extended time.

As for the game, Yale managed to keep it close for most of the first-half and could have made it closer if they had made more of their open shot opportunities. The Bulldogs were initially effective setting picks to get open shots and going back door against the Bruins who started off the contest with less defensive intensity than Coach Howland would have liked.

But after a jumper by Love and a stepped up defensive effort led by Russell Westbrook and Lorenzo Mata, the Bruins went on a 16-1 run to end the half and go into the locker room with a 33-18 margin.

In the second half, the Bruins opened with a 14-4 run to blow open the game as their physical play and superior talent eventually wore down the Bulldogs on both ends of the court.

Junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who has struggled somewhat with his transition to the small forward spot this season, had his best statistical game recording a double-double by scoring 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds.

But the game-high rebound honors went to back-up big man Lorenzo Mata who hauled down 12 rebounds. The Bruins also stepped up their defensive intensity whenever he was on the floor as he appears to be easing into his reserve role off the bench after being a starter all of last season.

Love went 4 of 5 from the field and had nine points in the first half. He finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds in 28 minutes before leaving with his ankle injury.

Point guard Russell Westbrook had another efficient game tying for game-high honors with 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting and added 6 assists. And once again, Westbrook sparkled on the defensive end recording 2 steals and holding Yale's leading scorer Eric Flato to just 5 points.

UCLA outrebounded Yale 39 to 25. In addition, they shot 54.7% from the field while holding the Bulldogs to just 35.1%.

"It was a nice win for us, but it was obviously tempered by the fact that Alfred got hurt," UCLA Head Coach Howland said. "That's really my biggest concern. If there's a lot of (bone) displacement, he could be out for a month and a half, but if it's just a fracture he can wear a mask."

(photo credit: AP)



At Nov 24, 2007, 12:45:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

My heart dropped when I watched Love on the floor after hurting his ankle I'm glad to see that he'll be okay. But Aboya is a big loss. I guess it means more time for Drag and Chace with Luc moving back up for more minutes...

At Nov 24, 2007, 8:21:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Luc, congrats on reading my don't want to come back after all...way to step up your game and "wake up."
Keep it up Bruins...


Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home