Saturday, January 05, 2008

UCLA Defense Stifles Cal, Bruins Sweep Bay Area

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Photo Gallery

UCLA completed its sweep of the Bay area this weekend with an impressive 70-58 win over the California. Bears.

Freshman Kevin Love scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Bruins improved to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-10 conference.

Playing against defensive specialist and elite shot-blocker DeVon Hardin, Love dominated inside. He used all of his 6'9 and 270lb frame to back down Hardin and then used an array of low post moves to easily score over the Cal big man. Love went 8-10 from the field, his only misses in the game were two three-point attempts.

Although four Bruins scored in double figures, it was their stifling defense that determined the outcome of the game. UCLA held California to just 25 points on 29.6% shooting in the first half and 36.2% for the game. This was the same Bears team that lit up a good defensive Trojan team on Thursday night for 92 points.

All Pac-10 player Ryan Anderson was held without a field goal in the first half and finished the game shooting just 4-13 for 12 points - more than nine below his season average. Luc Richard Mbah Moute and Alfred Aboya combined to harass Anderson to make it difficult for him to find space to get off a shot.

Sophomore James Keefe showed why Coach Ben Howland wanted him back on the floor. Although he only played a short stint, Keefe did a solid defensive job on Anderson and grabbed 3 rebounds in just four minutes. As the season progresses and he gains more repetitions in practice, Keefe's minutes will no doubt increase in games.

UCLA started the game with a good offensive effort, going inside to Love and attacking the basket, while jumping out to a quick 16-6 lead. Combined with the Bruin's suffocating defense, the Bears were in danger of getting blown out early at Haas Pavilion, but then the Bruins inexplicably began settling for outside jumpers and allowed Cal to stay in the game.

Darren Collison short jumper with just two seconds remaining in the half gave the Bruins a 36-25 lead going into the locker room.

At the start of the second half, one sensed the Bears had at least one run remaining in them. With Kevin Love on the bench after picking up his third foul, DeVon Hardin led a 8-0 run to cut the Bruin lead to 38-36, punctuating it with a slam dunk over Lorenzo Mata-Real.

However the Bruins answered the challenge with four quick points. Love, who was reinserted into the game, yanked down a rebound and shot an outlet pass to Russell Westbrook who knocked down a short jumper, and then Josh Shipp found a streaking Westbrook down court for a rim rattling slam.

After Shipp sunk two free throws after a flagrant foul by Patrick Christopher, Shipp then hit a long jumper to push the lead up to 56-45 with a little over five minutes remaining. The Bears never threatened again.

Sophomore Russell Westbrook scored 11 points and was huge on the boards, grabbing 7 rebounds in the contest. However, Westbrook will be remembered for two phenomenal offensive plays in this game.

In the first play, Westbrook stole the ball midcourt and then went strong to the rim, starting his jump ten feet from the rim and elevating to dunk over Cal's Jamal Boykin in a play that will be replayed all season long. On the second play, no less impressive, Westbrook took a lob pass high above the rim, and as he was being shoved hard off to the side of the backboard, he effortlessly redirected the ball into the basket.

Once again Westbrook started the game off the bench, but he was on the floor at the end of both halves and logged a total of 31 minutes.

Darren Collison rebounded from a subpar game against Stanford, scoring 14 points and dishing out 5 assists against the Bears. He was aggressive in attacking on offense hitting a number of key midrange jumpers, and defensively held Cal's Jerome Randle to just 3-10 shooting.

UCLA also won the game in the trenches. While the Bruins only shot 3-17 (17.6%) on three-pointers, they outscored the Bears 34-22 in the paint. In addition, they outrebounded the Bears 43-30 in the game.

The Bruins now travel home to face the Washington schools next week at Pauley Pavilion.

(photo credit: AP)



At Jan 6, 2008, 12:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good win. Now we have two tough games against Washington teams at home.

At Jan 6, 2008, 1:09:00 AM, Anonymous Damon said...

That photo of Westbrook dunking on Boykin is classic.
Gotta love the fire of RW.

At Jan 6, 2008, 1:39:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

Thought Kevin played one of his best games. He completely dominated Hardin. I really thought Love would have problems with him but you could tell from the first play in Hardin's eyes that he wasn't going to be able to handle him.
Go Love. Go Bruins!

At Jan 6, 2008, 2:14:00 AM, Anonymous Brad said...

I am going to be watching this clip of Westbrook for a very, very long time. :)

At Jan 6, 2008, 5:20:00 AM, Anonymous Brewlin said...

I was SOOOO lucky to have gone to this game. When Westbrook dunked like that, everyone was awestruck and even the Cal fans got to their feet. That dunk was amazing!

At Jan 6, 2008, 7:15:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

What is Haas Pavilion like? I understand they recently remoed the arena. How are the sitelines, the proximity of the seats to the floor, the overall experince, etc.
I'm curious how it compares to Pauley.

At Jan 7, 2008, 12:36:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

What could be finer than last week's bay area visit then this:
UCLA 2 wins, 0 losses
USC 0 wins, 2 losses
I'm loving the PAC-10 play so far!


Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home