Shipp Shoots Down The Cardinal, UCLA Wins Pac-10 Opener
By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report
Josh Shipp hit five three-pointers on his way to a game-high 21 points to lead UCLA (13-1, 1-0) to a Pac-10 conference opening victory over Stanford, 76-67.
Shipp shot 7-13 from the field and also recorded 3 assists and 2 steals.
It was a tight contest for most of the game that saw fifteen lead changes. UCLA forward James Keefe played in his first game of the season after removing his redshirt. He played only 4 minutes, and as expected was a bit rusty on the floor, committing 2 turnovers although he did snarl 2 rebounds in the limited action.
In a bit of a surprise, UCLA Coach Howland chose to go big to combat Stanford's formidable front line by starting 6'8 forward Alfred Aboya in place of guard Russell Westbrook.
The line-up change strategy didn't appear to work with Stanford jumping out to a 13-7 lead just four minutes into the game. Cardinal guard Anthony Goods, who was guarded by Josh Shipp, scored two quick baskets during the span before Coach Howland inserted Westbrook into the game to guard Goods.
Westbrook, for the most part, shut down Goods making him a non-factor for most of the game. Although Goods scored a team-high 17 points, most of his baskets were scored off other Bruins or came late in the game after the outcome was decided.
On the offensive end, Westbrook sparkled, scoring 15 points on 6-7 shooting and dishing out a game-high 6 assists. When Stanford went to a zone defense, it was Westbrook who sliced through the zone for scores or creating opportunities for teammates. Even more telling of the value of the sophomore guard in this contest, although he didn't start, Westbrook still logged 35 minutes in the game.
With the lead going back and forth, Westbrook's two point jumper prior to halftime gave UCLA a 35-34 lead going into the locker room.
Midway through the second half and the score still changing hands, the Bruins went on a 8-0 run, with Shipp hitting two long range shots to finally give them their first double-digit lead, 61-51, with five minutes remaining.
Freshman Kevin Love matched up against Stanford's twin 7-footers Brook and Robin Lopez for the first time in a collegiate game.
Love won this first round by a decision.
The 6'9 freshman center scored 15 points, including 7-8 from the free throw line, and finished with a team-high 7 rebounds. Interestingly, Love seemed more comfortable playing against the Lopez brothers, who have been dominating this season, than he has versus other opponents this season. Perhaps its due to the fact he grew up playing against both of them and knew what to expect in their games.
Both Lopez brothers never seemed to get on track. Brook Lopez scored 13 points but did not record a field goal until the second-half as the Bruins did a good job doubling him whenever he received the ball in the low post. By the end of the game, Stanford's chances of catching UCLA faded as both Lopez brothers fouled out.
While Love was the benefactor of some of the Lopez fouls, many of the fouls the Lopez brothers were charged with in the game were attributable to their own sloppy play or bad decision-making.
Junior point guard Darren Collison played without a knee brace for the first time this season. He scored 9 points and had 4 assists. Collison still appears to lack the explosiveness that he's been known for in past seasons and it appears he still needs more time before he gains full confidence with pushing off his knee. On the defensive end, Collison was burned on a number of occasion by Stanford's point-guard Mitch Johnson who is not known for his quickness or scoring. Johnson finished with 10 points.
UCLA finished the game shooting 50% from the field and an astounding 56.3% from beyond the arc while holding Stanford to just 42.9% field goal shooting. The Bruins finished with 10 turnovers with only 3 coming in the deciding second-half.
Despite being outrebounded 35-31 by Stanford, the Bruins did a good job holding their own on the boards against Stanford's tough front line. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute played a solid second half finishing with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
The Bruins will stay in the Bay area to play against the California Bears on Saturday in Berkeley. California beat USC at Haas Pavilion on Thursday night, 92-82.
(photo credit: AP)
Labels: Game Summaries