Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bruins Rally To Top Davidson In Wooden Classic

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored a game-high 21 points but it was the Bruin defense that finally awoke from a deep slumber that sparked them to a 75-63 comeback win over Davidson in the 14th annual Wooden Classic.

After starting the game with another anemic effort on the court, the Bruins were put back on their heels as an underrated Davidson team were on the verge of blowing them off the court at the Honda Center.

Similar to the game against Texas when the Bruins fell behind by 25 points in the first half, UCLA began this game with little intensity on both ends of the court and trailed by as much as 18 points in the first half.

The Bruins appeared tentative on offense, making uncharacteristic turnovers and not aggressively attacking in the half court.

While on the defensive end, UCLA lacked any level of intensity and were slow on their rotations as Davidson took advantage of a number of open looks, hitting six three-pointers to start the game.

The Wildcats also were scoring inside with solid interior passing as UCLA freshman Kevin Love got caught rotating too slow on his defensive switches and was getting beat back door by his man. Love was pulled just after four minutes into the contest in favor of senior Lorenzo Mata-Real for defensive purposes. Love also picked up two early fouls and spent the first half shuffling on and off the court.

Davidson had raced out to a commanding 32-14 advantage with just over six minutes remaining in the half, but then UCLA Coach Ben Howland decided to insert a smaller and quicker lineup onto the floor that included Alfred Aboya at center, which seemed to spark their defensive effort and all of a sudden the Wildcats were being pressured and no longer getting open looks on the perimeter.

On offense, the Bruins started attacking the basket and getting the ball inside to go on a 16-2 run to finish the half trailing by just 34-30. Of the sixteen points during the run, nine of the points were off made free-throws.

The Bruins maintained the intensity level coming out in the second half to finally take the lead 38-37 on a Russell Westbrook three-pointer. But Davidson hung tight with timely shooting and kept the game close until the final minutes of the contest

The game may have resulted differently if Davidson's leading scorer Stephen Curry had been able to have one of his signature big scoring games, but Westbrook clamped down on Curry, holding him to just 15 points on just 6-19 shooting. Curry entered the game averaging 26 points a game.

"He did a great job chasing me all game and made it tough for me to get easy shots," Curry said.

Westbrook finished with 14 points and 6 assists but it was his great defensive effort that sparked the Bruins.

Josh Shipp, who was held scoreless in the first half, finished the game with 15 points, while Love had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Once again, Love had minimal touches in the low blocks, getting all his points off just five field goal attempts in the game.

Point-guard Darren Collison still appears to be getting into playing shape scored 10 points but had just one assist in 36 minutes of play.

The Bruins shot a blistering 66.7% in the second-half while their defense stepped up to hold Davidson to just 40.7%. UCLA had a huge rebounding advantage over Davidson, 37-18.

The Bruins (8-1) don't play another game until next Saturday evening when they face Idaho St at Pauley Pavilion. Until then, UCLA Coach Ben Howland will need to figure out how to get his team to starting off more quickly.

(photo credit: AP)



At Dec 8, 2007, 5:39:00 PM, Anonymous I_am_Bruin said...

It was a great come from behind win, BUT we really need to start openig games stronger. Once we start Pac-10 play, blowing off first half's just aren't going to cut it...WAKE UP BRUINS! That being said, great 2nd half! Glad we finally showed up.

At Dec 8, 2007, 6:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully the Texas loss + Davidson scare will help us come out with urgency in the future.

At Dec 8, 2007, 6:12:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Collison, how is your knee? Our game depends on your defensive ability/in ya face attitude....
Keefe, when will u be healthy?
Roll, nice job being aggressive....never thought u would be needed...but keep it up
Love, did u score double figures tonight???
Shipp, let's be consistent...I know u r da most underrated star...
Luc, ok, thank u u man...u finally woke up...smells trouble for our opponents...
Westbrook ... Collison injury = u r gaining more confidence and that is good for da long run...
Aboya, keep takin charges, those goggles won't let u see no matter whatcha wear
Mata - the man w/ tree trunk calves...thanks for being the ultimate defensive minded team player....u r appreciated...
Howland, lose some more hair and do a defensive slide the whole first half..I'll tell ya daughter on u....BRUINS WAKE UP......

At Dec 8, 2007, 7:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think BruinFan is a little drunk from the "viewing party" at BrewCo =)

At Dec 9, 2007, 2:01:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

Did you folks see that fast break between Shipp and Love, where Shipp gave up an easy score to assist Love for a layup. Beautiful and Unselfish!
I guess we can officially bury that Josh is jealous of Love rumor. Thank goodness.

At Dec 9, 2007, 3:49:00 AM, Anonymous Happy but... said...

Although I am very happy that UCLA beat Davidson, UCLA should NOT BE DOWN IN EVERY 1ST HALF!!! I don't understand why this happens but they need to make their shots fall in. We won against Davidson because they don't have the players needed to stop our runs but against teams like Texas, this is not always going to work!!
Something must change for us to be a tougher team.

At Dec 9, 2007, 5:53:00 AM, Anonymous Lookin-IN said...

Is it me, or does it look like the opposing coaches strategy is to hammer and beat on Love because they know the referees will NOT call every foul?
'cmon Bruins learn to perform the entry pass to Love so that he doesn't get the ball at knees every time. Modt of those TO's were due to bad enrty passes.

At Dec 9, 2007, 5:54:00 AM, Anonymous Lookin-IN said...

Grrrrrrr freekin' dyslexic fingers!

At Dec 9, 2007, 1:49:00 PM, Anonymous Rome 06' said...

Cant believe we all have to wait until next Saturday...

At Dec 9, 2007, 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous joe said...

great game

At Dec 9, 2007, 5:00:00 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

As I said in the preview... I expected the same as all the other "bigger" games. We came out FLAT in the first half and then turned it on the second. This really has to stop. Why can't UCLA get motivated from the get-go? We would be CRUSHING everyone if we did. Can't say it's just the players either as this has been going on now for multiple years and with different faces. PLEASE BRUINS - GET IT TOGETHER!


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