Bruins Rally To Top Davidson In Wooden Classic
By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report
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)
Labels: Game Summaries