Thursday, January 24, 2008

UCLA Gets Gritty Win In Oregon

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report


Box Score


In his homecoming back to Oregon, Kevin Love scored 26 points and hauled down a career-high 18 rebounds to lead UCLA to a tough 80-75 win over Oregon at McArthur Court.  It was the Duck's first loss of the season on their home court.


Love was greeted by a number of chants from the Duck's student section but he let his play on the court do the talking.  He finished 8-11 from the field and shot 8-12 from the free throw line.  Love's 18 rebounds is a UCLA single-game record for a freshman.


The Bruins outrebounded the Ducks 36-24.


Oregon (12-7, 3-4) followed the same blueprint on offense that helped them nab a win last season against the Bruins, namely spreading the court and taking the perimeter defender off the dribble thereby negating UCLA's help defense. 


And it worked for most of the game.


The Bruin defensive rotation found itself a step too slow to help in the paint as Oregon's Maarty Leunen, Bryce Taylor, and Malik Hairston repeatedly took their defenders off the dribble for lay-ups.


Leunen and Taylor finished with 16 points while Hairston tallied 18. 


The final game result may have been different, but Hairston, who torched whomever the Bruins put on him, cramped up halfway through the second half and had to leave the game with the Ducks up by 61-56.  Although he returned with a minute remaining in the game, it was too late to make a difference.


UCLA began the game short-handed with both Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real sitting out the game due to concussions.  In addition, the Bruin big men were saddled with foul trouble all night with Alfred Aboya playing with four fouls for most of the second half and James Keefe fouling out.   


As a result, Coach Ben Howland had to play reserve forward Nikola Dragovic at the power forward spot towards the end of the game.  The young Serb from Belgrade responded with a big three-pointer with 3:21 remaining to help pull the Bruins within one point of the Ducks  71-70.  Then Dragovic had a key rebound on a Leunen miss a few moments later after a Russell Westbrook lay-on put the Bruins ahead for good.


Point guard Darren Collison had one of his best games of the season, scoring a career-high 22 points and handing out 6 assists while committing just a single turnover in the game. Collison especially looked like his old self in the second half as he repeatedly penetrated into the paint for scores to help the Bruins rally for the win.


Westbrook finished with 15 points and helped on the boards finishing with 7 rebounds.


UCLA improves their record to 17-2 overall and have sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with a 5-1 record.  Both Washington State and Arizona State lost their games tonight to fall into a second place tie with Stanford.


The Bruins now travel to Corvallis to take on the reeling Oregon State Beavers.  Oregon State fired their head basketball coach, Jay Johns, this week and also dismissed center C.J. Giles from the team.


(photo credit: AP)

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17 Comments:

At Jan 24, 2008, 3:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UCLA wins next three before the big showdown @Wash St. which might determine who wins the conference at the end.

 
At Jan 24, 2008, 3:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great win tonight Bruins!!! Won a hard road game short handed. That says alot for this squad. UO is going to be a 6-10 seed. If we can beat them 3 short imagine the outcome full strength!!!

 
At Jan 24, 2008, 4:13:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

could've lost if hairston was in for the entire game he pretty much burn shipp, aboya, keefe... good thing that love, collison and westbrook tough it out... i'm wondering if dragovic could be better if howland stop pulling him out of the game everytime he misses a 3pt.. and that makes him so hesistant on his shots.. many times during the game there's definitely an open shot but he passed it out, a sign of withering confidence which is exactly what kills shooters... great win nonetheless
seriously i wonder how many pac 10 teams can make a dance if they keep killing one another... seems like all of them would be stuck on the bubble comes selection sunday if this continues down the stretch esp with the 2nd to 9th place all just 2 games apart

 
At Jan 24, 2008, 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous Larry said...

I agree with dee. Oregon is a SOLID team, but you look at their record and think they are just average with their biggest win against an "ok" K-St. However, Oregon has been SSSOOO close in many games against TOP talent. I think Oregon can ball with many out there, but how will this look come selection Sunday? I think at this rate, the Pac-10 is looking at 5 teams in the big dance - maybe 6 with STRONG lobbying from Howland regarding the "strength" of the Pac-10.

 
At Jan 24, 2008, 11:56:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Big win on the road....forget Hairston...we didn't have Luc, Mata or Roll...
Hey! Our backcourt decided to show up (SC)...
DC, that a boy...play like that from now on...
Keefe...keep working hard...I'm a fan of yours now...
Love is a frickin animal...without all those rebounds, we would have lost...
Take out OSU early...

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 12:32:00 AM, Anonymous Scott said...

Did anyone notice during pre-game on CBS before USC game they played Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" song, when showing Kevin's highlights? I hope this great classic song catches on around Westwood! Great gutty team performance last night!!! Thanks for everything BBR (KS Wong) "Whole lotta Love" Yeah Baby!!!

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 1:04:00 AM, Anonymous Justin said...

Good come from behind win on the road. A couple huge threes from Westbrook, Drago, and Keefe towards the end that kept us in it!

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 1:09:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

When is Roll expected to be back?
I imagine that with a weak OSU team on the schedule Saturday that Howland will not play both Luc Richard and Mata-Real again, even if one or both does get medical clearance to play, thereby making sure they are ready for the Arizonas @ Pauley next week. Is this what you expect?

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 2:02:00 AM, Anonymous David G. said...

Typical gritty Howland win. It's a dogfight for 35-37 minutes, then it comes down the execution at the end which is what UCLA lacked in the loss to USC. These tough Pac-10 battles will prepare the teams for the tournament, but I agree with many of the previous posters that the Pac-10 may end up cannibalizing itself out of tournament bids. Any team without 20 wins will need a marquee resume win against UCLA or Wazzu to make it to the dance.
Is it me or does Kevin Love always have one of those understated games where you don't realize how much he's dominated until you look at his box score? He had an outstanding game owning the glass and cleaning up the paint although I noticed his trouble guarding big men who face-up. He has outstanding footwork for a center, but not so much as a forward. Leunen didn't have trouble getting his shot off the dribble, and Leunen projects to ride the bench at the next level. Love was able to outphyiscal the Ducks frontline in the paint, but was ineffective the few times he tried to create his own shot off the dribble. Considering his "tweener" size he's going to have to address this issue to become a high lottery pick. This bodes well for his chances of playing another year, maybe two in Westwood.

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 4:30:00 AM, Anonymous Chicago Bruin said...

We'll be lucky for one more year. High lottery pick * yes *He's the next Elton Brand with range!

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 4:33:00 AM, Anonymous Chicago Bruin said...

One other observation:
Josh Shipp's last 2 games> out of character- is he feeling those aching hips again?

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 4:56:00 AM, Anonymous Damon said...

Love would rewrite the UCLA record books if he decided to stay all four years.
I hope he stays at least two years. He is a great college player. I am unsure his game translates to greatness on the next level.

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 8:10:00 AM, Anonymous dee said...

to those that thinks that Love will stay beyond this year must be dreaming... if Spencer Hawes standing 7 feet but only collects rebound that drops to him can be a #10 lottery pick... Love can only go higher... his offense, his intensity, outlet passes, rebounds are enough to make him a lottery pick... and in prospect terms he's already better than Psycho T who doesn't have Love's height and range

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 8:59:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

The choice Is KLove's to make. Dee is exactly right. KLove will be a lottery pick if he chooses to go to the next level, but we can only hope he will factor in many of these excellent comments made here about him staying at UCLA and:
*Working on/Improving his defense
*Raising his NBA stock after sustaining his freshman level of play
*Elevating his name to legendary status (Alcindor/Walton) in Westwood
*Winning more than one NCAA Championship (my own personal hope here)

 
At Jan 25, 2008, 9:44:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

I hope he stays at least two years. He is a great college player. I am unsure his game translates to greatness on the next level. Posted by: Damon
Right you are Damon. Love should enjoy his fame and experience in college as long as he can, because the NBA may pay well, but it is a very fast-paced, unforgiving environment! He may not adapt as well as some might believe.
Also, I am afraid to say that I don't fore see Shipp doing much at the next level if he gets an invite...Though he makes good swipes at the ball and blocks from behind, his "D" is very suspect!
Friday night gang, crack one open and toast the Bruins on the big win over Oregon!!!

 
At Jan 26, 2008, 12:35:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Hopes said...

K Love is going to be a 'good' player in the NBA, but he's no Elton Brand... he doesn't have the strengths to be a true center... his defense is lacking... he can't block shots... he's slow at times (needs to lose some weigh)... but having said that, K Love had an outstanding game :) our Bruins will go far in the tournament.
Go Bruins!

 
At Jan 29, 2008, 2:01:00 PM, Anonymous willis said...

When you try to project K-Love at the next level and don't think he has what it takes, think about centers in the league like Brad Miller of Sacramento, Millic of Memphis, Oberto of San Antonio, Okur of Utah, Okafor of Charlotte, Biedrins of Golden State, Bogut of Milwaukee, and Przybilla of Portland. All of these guys are doing well or quite well in the NBA and K-Love has a better game than all of them.

 

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