Thursday, January 03, 2008

Shipp Shoots Down The Cardinal, UCLA Wins Pac-10 Opener

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

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)



At Jan 3, 2008, 4:14:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Awesome recap....I sat, row 2 on the ice at the Kings game tonight and kept checkin with friends to know the score.
Shipp - the best all around, most solid Bruin we have.
Westbrook - already won TEAM/Pac-10 Most Improved Award...
Prediction after this weekend:
Bruins 2-0
SUC 0-2
Things will never change....
Shout out to all the football recruits...You know u will be here in the fall...
Thanks BBR!

At Jan 3, 2008, 11:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic win!!
Now onto Cal, lets whoop their ass.

At Jan 3, 2008, 11:43:00 PM, Anonymous Brew In said...

As much as I love the Trojans falling to Cal, I'm now worried about the Bruins Saturday game. But if we play the Golden Bears like we did the Cardinals, I agree with the 2-0 analysis.
As we had the game in hand at the end, I couldn't help but think to myself that we don't hurt any of the Stanford kids... so they'll be ready and ANGRY this Saturday and play "Hold The Mayo" and beat up on the Trojans!
Hooray for Josh Shipp. I think he is really starting to now believe it is "his" team to lead. Remember everyone, he's really a senior! Kudos to the entire squad. Even Keefe's energy in his limited appearance was that of refreshed determination!

At Jan 4, 2008, 3:03:00 AM, Anonymous clyde devins said...

More Shipp is certainly better. Would like to see perhaps more picks/screens to free him up even more. Plus, he always seems to finish. That being said ...
BBR - quick question for you. Is it by design that Collison slows things up to the point of nobody getting a touch at times ... ie ... dead dribbling. When UCLA pushes the action they tend to score very efficiently and are exciting to watch as evident on the 10-0 scoring runs they go on. But aside from that - there are times where Collison just seems to be milking a shot-clock for no apparent reason and nobody else gets a touch save a panic pass with 5 seconds on the clock. Just wondering if that is/was by design to burn clock or if you had noticed that at all.
Nice win to start off the Pac-10 on the road vs. strong contender.
Keep em coming ...

At Jan 4, 2008, 3:11:00 AM, Anonymous ASK said...

"Shipp - the best all around, most solid Bruin we have."
I strongly disagree. Westbrook is our best all around, and most solid Bruin. He excels at outside shooting, midrange game, creating his own baskets, penetration, and most importantly his defense. You can argue that Shipp is just as good as Westbrook on the offensive side but Westbrook is head and shoulders better than Shipp on defense. Also no one on the team can match his intensity. Except maybe Aboya.

At Jan 4, 2008, 3:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

+1 for Westbrook.
This guy is our:
1) Best defender
2) Best assist/TO man
3) Most efficient jumpshooter
4) Best penetrator
5) Best dunker

At Jan 4, 2008, 3:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIGHT NOW, our best players are:
1) Westbrook (at this rate he MIGHT be leaving for NBA this year)
2) Shipp (keep it rolling!)
3) Love (needs to get ball more)
4) Collison (at this rate he will not be going to NBA this year. he needs to get his confidence back)

At Jan 4, 2008, 4:32:00 AM, Anonymous Don said...

Good point Clyde, it does seem when Collison over dribbles, the rest of the team doesn't get involved... why not move the ball around, run shipp off of a couple of screens and at least get a decent look... Overall was a great game, got Love the ball more and in better position and shipp and westy looked fantastic... keep it up bruins!

At Jan 4, 2008, 9:09:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Wouldn't necessarily term Collison's actions as "dead dribbling" although it does appear that way when the offense stalls. Some said the same thing about Jordan Farmar dribbling too much on the perimeter when he manned the point.
While Howland prefers to score in transition, especially the last two seasons, his halfcourt offense is certainly more deliberate than other coaches and it requires solid execution and patience by those on the floor. Its not surprising the Bruins are usually tops in the league in not committing TOs each season.
I think you'll see better offensive execution as the season progresses and all the players get comfortable with each other.
Having a player like Russell Westbrook who can create a shot anytime he wants to is advantageous to have on this team especially when the halfcourt sets aren't clicking.


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