Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bruins Outplayed At Home By Trojans

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Photo Gallery

Outplayed and outhustled, at home no less, the Bruins lost to the USC Trojans, 72-63, before 12,714.

Despite snagging an astounding 25 offensive rebounds and outrebounding the Trojans, 39-30, in the game, the Bruins were unable to solve the Trojan's defense.

The Bruins were held to just 33.3% shooting from the field by the Trojans who utilized an effective triangle-and-two defense.

With Josh Shipp and Darren Collison each shadowed by a defender and a zone triangle surrounding Kevin Love in the paint, the Trojans dared the other two wide-open Bruins on the floor to beat them, specifically Russell Westbrook, Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Coach Tim Floyd gambled with the defense, and the gamble paid off for the Trojans.

The three players shot a combined 3-22 (13.6%) from the field. Westbrook had his worst shooting game of the season, finishing 2-11 and committing five turnovers.

UCLA's offense appeared out of sync for large parts of the game, uncertain on how to attack the defensive zone and executing poorly in the halfcourt, which led to an inordinate number of three-point shots attempts by the Bruins who finished just 8-26 from beyond the arc.

"We were way too emotional," said coach Ben Howland. "We were so caught up and our emotions took over. We made some bad decisions. I can't remember us ever being like that in the last few years."

Kevin Love finished with a double-double, 18 points and 12 rebounds, but he was just 6-15 from the field. He missed a number of point-blank shots and put-backs and appeared to uncharacteristically hurry his shots - perhaps out of concern it might be blocked by the active interior Trojan defenders - Taj Gibson and Davon Jefferson.

One key juncture in the game was a three-minute period book-ending halftime which resulted in a nine-point turnaround.

With UCLA up 32-29 and 39 seconds remaining, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute stole the ball and unwisely drove to the basket, instead of holding for the last shot, he missed and after a flurry of tips the Trojans rebounded and scored a lay-up on the other end - taking any momentum from the Bruins into their own locker room.

Mayo, held without a field-goal in the first half mainly by the stellar defense of Russell Westbrook, found himself freed of the shackles of Westbrook, who was at his customary spot on the bench to start the second half. Mayo promptly came of a screen for a lay-up and then found himself wide-open for a three-pointer. By the time UCLA Coach Howland inserted Westbrook on Mayo, the Trojans were up 38-33 after just two minutes into the second half.

The Bruins eventually caught the Trojans midway through the half, but down the stretch, it was more poor Bruin defense that led to the team's final demise.

USC spread the floor and then keenly isolated Daniel Hackett on Josh Shipp, who promptly took Shipp off the dribble for two key baskets - his second basket putting the Trojans up 64-61. Then Davon Jefferson went to work on the Bruin defense, scoring the last seven points for the upset victory.

USC shot 60.9% for the game, scoring on a number of backdoor cuts - many of them resulting from slow Bruin rotations on defense. Davon Jefferson was the main recipient, he finished with a game high 25 points.

"They outplayed us," Howland said. "They're a team that will be in the NCAA tournament."

UCLA's Lorenzo Mata-Real and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute both suffered concussions during the game and were not available for most of the second-half.

UCLA falls to 16-2 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-10 race tied for first-place with Washington State and Arizona State. The Bruins will now travel on a two game road trip to Oregon next week.

(photo credit: AP)



At Jan 19, 2008, 2:43:00 PM, Anonymous BruinBlue said...

You gotta say it like it happened. We were outplayed AT HOME. Obviously, a very bad loss.
Bright side, we'll learn from this and bounce back.

At Jan 19, 2008, 3:04:00 PM, Anonymous ASK said...

Can we sub out Shipp on the defensive end with Aboya and then sub Shipp in and Aboya back out on Offense? How is it that Shipp is so athletic on offense and in transition but sucks so bad on defense?

At Jan 19, 2008, 3:08:00 PM, Anonymous I_am_Bruin said...

This is an absolute embarrassment. No other way to spin it.
We have got to beat teams like this at HOME! Completely unacceptable to have TWO losses at home barely halfway through the season. Howland needs to kick their asses in practice the next few days
That being said, if this is truly a championship caliber team, I want to see them rebound and crush BOTH the Oregon schools next weekend. CRUSH.

At Jan 19, 2008, 3:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howland was outcoached.
Even when the game was slipping away, he did not attempt to even formulate some half court set. His idea of offense is linear and one dimensional, grinding it out with his usual lethargic three man weave. It's about time to see a change to that. Other than that, UCLA failed to execute on the defensive end, and Aboya, again, found ways to pick up exasperating fouls. I think even Dragovic was better suited in this kind of match-up, where USC clogged the paint. Again, Howland did not adjust at halftime and he got thoroughly outcoached. This time, it was not the measure of talent that determined who was victorious.

At Jan 19, 2008, 6:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry. At this point the Bruins are looking at an early 2nd or 3rd round exit from the Big Dance. DANG IT!
UCLA got outcoached in this one. The Bruins looked confused and rushed the whole game. I don't understand why they just can't find ways to pound the ball inside. COMMON guys!

At Jan 19, 2008, 6:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're still on pace to end with a record similar to last years'. We should still be 15-3 or 14-4 in conference, prolly 2nd seed again.

At Jan 19, 2008, 9:54:00 PM, Anonymous tvo said...

Keys to the loss: 1)Westbrook had a terrible game, most of his shots were not even close.I hope he was over-amped for this in city rivalry and does not suffer a loss of confidence going forward. 2) Luc's unavailability in second-half - we needed him to shut down Jefferson. 3)no timeouts available in last 5 minutes, this time as a result of two injury timeouts.
The team needs to understand that when the shots are not falling they must get the ball into Love. I can only recall one turnover attempting to feed to post, which to me means we did not try often enough.
Last week the Bruins looked invincible and this blog was full of over-the-top optimism. They lose yesterday and all of a sudden they're written off. If Westbrook shakes this game off, Luc gets healthy, and Collison returns to last years' form they have as good a chance to cut down the nets in April has any team out there.

At Jan 20, 2008, 2:09:00 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

Coach H has to realize the obvious. Shipp is to slow to play defense in the back court.Westbrook and Collison is the way to go. Shipp from the bench would bring instant offense. Also, Collison dribbles to much. Westbrook should be the go to guy when Love is not in the game. It might be better to move Westbrook to the pg spot and let Collison play the sg. Westbrook has the temperment to play either spot. All American status has gone to Collison's head. Dribble,dribble dribble.Aboya should come off of the bench.He's a foul waiting to happen. Plus he gets stupid fouls. Luc has no idea what hes doing most of the time. Keefe and Drag should have a chance. At least they can shoot the ball. I've loved UCLA since Lew Alcindor. I'm from the East Coast but watch our guys whenever they play on t.v. Lets work out the kinks and get on track.

At Jan 20, 2008, 5:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tvo - good points, but it's easy to see why so many are now concerned about the Bruins. That loss was NOT good. Too many issues and problem areas were exposed. These are areas that will not allow the Bruins to go deep in the Big Dance if they are not fixed ASAP.

At Jan 20, 2008, 6:32:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

Don't be so fickle and vain!You fans are higher than a kite after the WSU win and now find many things wrong with the Bruins. Things happen. Westbrook finally had a bad game. It had to happen. Luc and Mata getting hurt didn't help. Don't worry, the Bruins will be there when it matters. Stay steady! Bruins are as good as anyone in America.

At Jan 20, 2008, 9:44:00 AM, Anonymous al said...

people think ucla is never going to loose. It happens . Rather have the loses right now than in the tournament(DUH). Its a long season , and tough PAC 10.

At Jan 20, 2008, 9:55:00 AM, Anonymous Brad said...

Strange how the low post players wilted. Getting K.Oed by the light hitting U.S.C. big mouthed Trojanz. Mata and Luc and Aboya should have been the ones delivering the Haymakers! Get up off the deck! Bruins should have forced them to shoot outside. A dunk is a high percentage shot. I bet they had 10 dunks.

At Jan 20, 2008, 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

This game was a coaching failure. Why is Mbah a Moute playing when he insists on throwing up bricks from 3-point land to impress the scouts? Why is Love playing like he has a hang-over and missing easy shots? Why is Collison not shooting more? Our offense would be a lot harder to defend if he were more assertive. Can we not defend the area right under our basket? What the heck was that? And finally, is street-ball our new strategy? The ball is precious. We didn't treat it that way.

At Jan 20, 2008, 1:48:00 PM, Anonymous bruinjoe said...

Come one folks! Don't jump ship. I'm reading things like coach Howland got out coached and we're going to have an early exit from the tournament. I hate that game just like all bruin fans. Yes, our players severely under estimated SUC but I'm not going buy into the doom and gloom because our problem is fixable. We let SUC shoot 60%. That's a lack of effort and desire. We play our normal good defense and we would've won. You need proof. Watch the WSU vs. SUC game.
Don't forget that the Florida Gators lost five games last year on their way to the national championship. They won their 2006 title as a third seed!
I have full faith in Ben and our players. They will get it fixed.

At Jan 20, 2008, 3:20:00 PM, Anonymous ChicagoBruin said...

This is the first game I've seen this year where the team really missed Roll.
Unlike Collison, Westbrook, and Shipp, Roll can't manufacture his own shot so he has to rely on proper spacing on the offensive end to get open. That mindset would have been a big help against the triangle and two.

At Jan 21, 2008, 1:14:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

If only Collison or Westbrook showed up and played decently, it's a different lose to our rival at home hurts...How can our team not match the intensity of the WSU game??
Wake up Bruins...
BH, please bench Aboya...he put those guys on the line too much...

At Jan 21, 2008, 1:16:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Let's hear more about that...

At Jan 22, 2008, 8:21:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Why oh why did we have the letdown against the Condoms. Anybody but them!!! And by 9 points no less.
I understand that Westbrook had to concentrate his efforts on "D"ing up Mayo, but Russell was virtually nonexistance on offense!
Boy did that game sober me up the rest of the weekend!

At Jan 22, 2008, 8:40:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

All comments on here have legitimate elements of concern as well as optimism, and we will see what type of character we possess against the Oregon schools. What I don't want to see is our fans becoming jaded like the USC football crowd.
If you recall, their fans were the biggest complainers when the Trojans had their mid-season let down. But look how they weathered through, and in all honesty, probably would have beaten any team in the country in December. We can only hope we will be saying the same thing about the B-Ball Bruins in March.
Last year you may recall, we had that appreciative edge towards our team, wondering if we could really get back to the Final Four or if the previous year we were just playing over our heads. Now we seem to expect it and go sour after any hiccup. Stick with it guys, Howland and the Bruins are the real deal!

At Jan 22, 2008, 8:53:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Understood Gunner, by why friggin' USC, and at Pauley! I think I would rather have it against Oregon State, like it was a fluke or something. Can you imagine the heat we are going to feel in the rematch at the Galen Center?
The last thing I want this doing is propelling The Condoms to a higher level like their games against Kansas and Memphis. Both those games could have gone either way. If USC wasn't such a young team they probably would have pulled out those victories and in theory, be fighting the Bruins for higher rankings in the polls.
It really hurts me to the soul when the USC Basketball program does better than the UCLA Football program!
After landing Chow, maybe Neuheisel can call up the Atlanta Falcon brass and convince them to have another go-round with Carroll!


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