Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bruins Pick Apart Sun Devils In Blow-out Victory

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Photo Gallery

In one of their finest performances of the season No.5 UCLA easily dismantled Arizona State, 84-51, before a crowd of 11,070 at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins (19-2, 7-1), who have struggled at times this season executing offensively against zones, on this night picked apart the Sun Devil's aggressive match-up 3-2 zone with unselfish and precision passing.

The Bruin guards, specifically Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook, used their quickness advantage to aggressively attack the gaps of the Arizona State zone and then either kicked out to the open man or found a teammate open underneath the basket.

Darren Collison had 9 assists while fellow starting guard Russell Westbrook had 7. Just as impressively, the two guards combined to commit just a single turnover in the game.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland decided to start Westbrook in place of forward Alfred Aboya because he wanted his best zone offense lineup on the floor to begin the game.

Josh Shipp and Kevin Love were the happy recipients of most of the assists. Shipp broke out of a mini-shooting slump scoring a game-high 21 points on 6-11 shooting including 5-8 on three pointers, and freshman Kevin Love added 20 points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes.

The Bruins shot 8-12 from beyond the arc for a sizzling 66.7%. Most of the three-point shots were wide-open looks, mainly a result of teammates making the extra pass and finding the open man.

Kevin Love's presence in the paint combined with the Bruin's hot outside shooting was tough to deal with as well. Love is such a good passer, many post-entry passes into Love were sent right back out by him to an open teammate.

The game was never close from the start.

UCLA quickly outscored Arizona State 18-4 in the opening eight minutes of the contest. The Sun Devils never got closer than ten points again in the game.

The Bruins charged into halftime with a commanding 46-24 lead and then extended it to a game-high 36 point lead halfway through the second-half.

For the game, UCLA shot 58.5% from the field while holding Arizona State to a measly 38.3% field goal shooting.

On the defensive end, UCLA shut down Arizona's State's top three scorers.

Freshman phenom James Harden was held to just 9 points on 2-6 shooting. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and primarily Russell Westbrook shut down Harden and essentially took him out of the game - making him look like a bystander on offense by denying the ball and preventing Harden from dribble-penetrating.

Mbah a Moute started the game after sitting out the last two contests due to a concussion. Although his play was limited due to early foul trouble, he brought a lot of energy onto the court and managed to finish with 6 points and 5 rebounds in seventeen minutes of action.

Sun Devils Jeff Pendergraph and Ty Abbott were also held well below their season's scoring average.

The Bruins dominated on the glass, outrebounding the undersized Sun Devils by a 36-20 margin in the game.

The only negative news from the game was that Lorenzo Mata-Real hurt his wrist in the final minutes of the game after taking a charge and falling. He will have x-rays performed on his wrist tomorrow.

UCLA will now host a hot Arizona team on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. The Wildcats beat USC Thursday night, 80-69.

(photo credit: AP)



At Jan 31, 2008, 4:23:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin06 said...

Quite the display of unselfish basketball by our guards. This was great, especially since I thought this was going to be a much closer game. Can't wait for this weekend: 'Zona game and SUPER BOWL!!

At Jan 31, 2008, 4:27:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

how bout the players read this blog and got fired up and shut up our criticizing mouth. Breaking the zone and then shutting down harden... but then it's better to keep our fingers crossed until the zona game

At Jan 31, 2008, 4:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is it... both the home and away games against Arizona are my favorites of the year. Don't care about the u$c matchups at all. THIS is the series that matters to me! GO BRUINS!

At Jan 31, 2008, 6:11:00 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

Collison and Westbrook were the keys. Let's see how they do against Bayless and co and Az's zone. I tend to think their D is softer than ASU's.

At Feb 1, 2008, 12:12:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Nice win guys! A few things:
1) Has the Prince fallen out of favor with Howland. After all, it is Howland is the one dividing up minutes....I mean, Dragovic, the zone buster played in the first half.
2) I think the players read what I wrote the last article...
3) This is the game I have been waiting to see...the Cats....
4) Again, nice "D" and a contributing factor is: The Devils were nervous when they saw all of our banners....wait til the renovation and the fans are closer to the court...
At this point, Love, Collison, Mata (only Senior) and Aboya (graduates early) are all gone after this season.
Shipp is a "tweener", Westbrook needs a year, Prince just isnt w/ it but could jump...
Rock on Bruins!

At Feb 1, 2008, 9:11:00 AM, Anonymous Bruintechie said...

As to point 1, I think his minutes were limited simply because of foul trouble and it was good to get Drago. some time. It been rare for LRMAM to get 4 fouls in a game, but he did shoot 3 for 4.

At Feb 1, 2008, 11:22:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Yes Bruins Yes!!! Great game and great night with The Condoms losing cross town to Arizona. But get ready Bruins cuz the second best team in the Pac-10 is comin' into Pauley Saturday night! Yes I am saying it, better than The Cougars and Cardinals!

At Feb 1, 2008, 12:05:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Brew In, I must define your terms....
University of Spioled Children
U Suck Co**
Unfilled Scrotum Chambers....
Bring it on Wildcats...we'll win by 15...they r young....


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