Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bruins Waltz To Easy 76-48 Win Over UC Davis

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Darren Collison scored 14 points and Kevin Love added 13 to lead No.5 ranked UCLA to an easy 76-48 thumping of UC Davis (5-7) before 10,242 fans at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins (12-1) led for the entire 40 minutes of the game, and despite some sloppy play at the start and missing 9 of their first 11 shots, they were in control from the opening tip-off.

Love grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds as UCLA outrebounded the undersized Aggies 31-16.

Moreover, UCLA grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and forced 21 turnovers which resulted in the team taking 62 field goal attempts versus just 37 by the Aggies. For the game, the Bruins shot 53.2% from the field.

Collison sprained his ankle at practice two days ago and was a game-time decision to play tonight, but he showed no ill-effects from the injury as he aggressively attacked on both ends of the floor. The junior point-guard shot 6 of 9 from the field, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, and had two steals in the contest. This was Collison's last game wearing his protective knee brace which he's worn since his return from a knee injury.

"It was real uncomfortable. We'll see how it goes without the brace," Collison said. "It was limiting me defensively."

UC Davis played primarily a 2-3 zone all evening, and the Bruins responded, as Coach Howland announced last week, with Russell Westbrook moving to the top at point guard with Collison shifting to the wing. Westbrook finished with 6 assists and 9 points. Its too early to proclaim the strategy a success yet, considering the level of opponent, but the results were at least promising in this game.

Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute each scored 10 points. Shipp had a Pauley-pleasing tomahawk dunk in the first half. Mbah a Moute has played better and seems more comfortable since his move back to the power forward spot on the floor a few games ago, he also finished with 5 rebounds.

UCLA led by as much as 15 points in the first half before going into halftime with a 37-24 lead. Then midway through the second half, the Bruins went on a 20-3 run to move ahead 57-30, to put the game on ice with a little over six minutes still remaining.

The Bruins will now prepare for their trip up north to face Stanford next Thursday and California on Saturday as they finally, and mercifully, put an end to their non-conference schedule and begin Pac-10 play.

"Now, it's the 18 games we're looking forward to," Love said. :We want to win the Pac-10 outright."

Senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real did not dress up for the game tonight although he was on the bench supporting his teammates. He is still bothered by his groin muscle strain and its still undetermined if he'll be able to play against Stanford on Thursday.

Stanford has a big front line of 7'0 twin brothers, Brook and Robin Lopez, and California has athletic big men in DeVon Hardin and Ryan Anderson. Not having Mata-Real available for the game would be a huge blow to the Bruins.

"The Cal and Stanford trip is going to be extremely tough," Howland said. "They have four NBA-caliber big men between them. Both teams also have good players around their front court."

(photo credit: AP)



At Dec 29, 2007, 4:30:00 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

hmm...might Howland want to draw up some half court sets against (most likely) some zone defenses anchored by the Lopez twins and Hardin?
there has to be something better than the three man weave!

At Dec 29, 2007, 7:58:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Ok, so we won by 28, not 27...not bad for a guy who quit playing basketball in the 7th grade...In the past 3 games, my point differential prediction has been off by 1 point. Vegas anyone?

At Dec 29, 2007, 9:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, Westbrook ended up stealing the starting point guard spot from a preseason All-American. Unbelievable. And this is a guy who everyone thought to be a shooting guard after that horrid West Virginia game last year. Crazy development.

At Dec 30, 2007, 1:36:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Russell Westbrook is still the team's 2 while Collison is the team's point guard. Westbrook is just at the point against zone defenses since Collison is a better outside shooter than Westbrook at this point, and the Bruins need him on the wing to help open up the zone.
If you recall, when Farmar and Collison were paired in the backcourt at times two years ago (with Afflalo resting or moving to the 3), Howland did the same thing with putting Farmar on the wing against zones.

At Dec 30, 2007, 5:32:00 AM, Anonymous J said...

Can someone please let me know: If I am going to 1 game this year at Pauley, is it better to get seat right behind the opponents bench (4th row) or up in the second level, 211b? Which are better seats? Which is a more fun Pauley experience?

At Dec 30, 2007, 5:47:00 AM, Anonymous j said...

or how about 211a from row, is that better than right behind the opponents bench?

At Dec 30, 2007, 6:00:00 AM, Anonymous j said...

Actually,. the seats I am looking at are not right behind the opponenents bench, its section 106a which is over a bit, past the baseline, are these good seats?

At Dec 30, 2007, 6:32:00 AM, Anonymous Brad said...

I got an extended look at Memphis last night against Az. They appear to be pretty talented. But they play a very "one on one" style game. If Az had any hint of defense things would have gone differently. Dribble drive, pass out, dribble drive, pass out. Ben will not be worried come tournament time.

At Dec 30, 2007, 7:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've sat in both sections and they are different experiences. The one behind the bench is great, you can see/hear the coaches and their expressions. Sometimes they stand up and block your view but they're pretty considerate about sitting back down...once in awhile its tough to see the far corner near the Bruin bench but its a great place to see the game. I like 211a as well but you're definitely further away from the action but can take in the entire game. If I had a choice I'd go for behind the bench.

At Dec 30, 2007, 7:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ben will not be worried come tournament time."
For sure. Ben took them out two years ago. Held them to 45pts in the game. I think he can do it again just fine.

At Dec 31, 2007, 12:59:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

Hey BruinFan, I'd definitely take you to Vegas next time I go! And I hope you are ALWAYS "right on" as long as you have the Bruins winning!!! ;)


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