Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bruins Top Trojans In Brutal Win

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

In his return to the line-up, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to key UCLA to a 56-46 win over the USC Trojans at the Galen Center Sunday night.

Mbah a Moute had missed the last two games due to a sprained ankle he suffered against Arizona and was probable for this contest. Surprisingly, Mbah a Moute played 33 minutes in his return.

The junior forward from the Cameroon also helped to blanket USC forward Davon Jefferson, holding him to just 4 points on 2 of 8 shooting. Jefferson scored 25 points in the first meeting when Mbah a Moute was limited to just 19 minutes due to a concussion he suffered in the first half of the game.

Sunday night's contest at the Galen Center was a slugfest with neither team playing its best brand of basketball.

On too many occasions the Bruins passed the ball around the perimeter late into the shot clock before even making a move to the basket. Often, it resulted in low percentage or forced jump shots.

UCLA shot just 33.9% from the field and only 20% from three-point distance. While the Trojan defense could be credited for shutting them down, it was also a matter of a stagnant Bruin offense that did not move the ball well nor execute effectively in the halfcourt.

The Bruins only had 8 assists in the entire game. Point-guard Darren Collison contributed zero assists although he did chip in a team-high 14 points.

Kevin Love recorded another double-double, scoring 13 points and hauling down 11 rebounds but the freshman only shot 5 of 14. Most of the game he seemed to be tentative in the post as USC's Taj Gibson blocked three of his shots early. At one point in the game, Love had Gibson one-on-one in the low block but decided to pass out rather than challenge the quick-jumping 6'8 Gibson.

Russell Westbrook repeated his poor shooting performance from the first Trojan match-up, going just 2 of 11 for 7 points while Josh Shipp continued his recent shooting slump making just 2 of 7 field goals for 8 points.

Moreover, if one were to just look at the shooting percentage in the game, one might be surprised the Bruins even won on Sunday. USC out-shot their opponent, hitting 46.5% from the field.

The difference in the game?

UCLA took 19 more shot attempts than the USC, which was the result of the Bruins pulling down 19 offensive rebounds versus 5 for the Trojans, and USC committing 22 turnovers while UCLA only had 10 for the game.

USC freshman O.J. Mayo committed 10 of his team's turnovers himself. He was also held to just 4 points on 2 of 8 shooting by Westbrook who played a stellar defensive game.

The Trojans played without guard Daniel Hackett, a player who could have been a difference-maker in the game. As a result, the Trojans played short-handed with four players playing 40 minutes. Taj Gibson led the Trojans with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

With the hard fought victory, the Bruins improved their record to 22-3 overall and a Pac-10 best 10-2 to go a half-game ahead of Stanford. The Trojans dropped to 15-9, 6-6.

The Oregon schools arrive in Westwood this week. The Bruins host the Beavers on Thursday and then the Ducks on Saturday.

(photo credit: AP)



At Feb 17, 2008, 5:28:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

OJ Mayo who? Credit Westbrook on D, but this guy is not one and done...shave your mustache buddy
Taj Gibdaughter is ok, but he's not that good....he'll play in Europe....
Davon Jefferson who? Thanks Prince for skunkin that guy....Freshmen always talk in the paper...he learned a lesson...he's not a Pro either...I told the world that there is NO WAY this guy is scoring if u r playing....
Collison, you bore me (my All American)
seriously, for a catalyst, u kill me...
u want a PAC-10 and NCAA title, u better prove me wrong...DOMINATE!!!!
Shipp and the Prince, keep playing like this and u will come back to Westwood to join 3 incoming studs
How could our guards not suffocate/be up in the grill of some guy (not sure his name or number) on SuC that played way too many minutes????
Why didn't we pound the ball inside?? 1) They dont have a bench....2) They can't hang...
Love, I saw tape around the knee/thigh wassup BBR???
A win is a win.
Good night Bruin Fans.

At Feb 17, 2008, 5:47:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Blackout my a**
never will be in Basketball...
Football...start these Freshmen...wait until 2010 when Chow's high schoolers start the heisman chase...
I respect SUC for football, not for what they are as human beings....
therefore, I must press ham on their windows....good win Bruins....roll on

At Feb 17, 2008, 6:13:00 PM, Anonymous DB said...

Wow we were lucky to come away with this game. It was OMG ugly. Bruins defense and offense were horrid. There were tons of ugly play in the game.
UCLA will need to play better Defense and a more consistent offense for tournament. It is just tough to see a more athletic team giving the Bruins the run arounds and back dooring like crazy. On offense it looks like UCLA is dribbling and holding the ball way too much. We had like 7-8 down the shot clock horrid shots. Not to mention so many way off shots we attempted. We had like 4-5 air balls and some bad shot selection.
Good thing USC missed a lot of wide open shots. What did USC in was really missing wide open shots and also tons of turnovers. Glad ucla can come away with this game but really, the Bruins need to step up on both sides of the game.

At Feb 18, 2008, 1:40:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

Bottom Line is that the Bruins got a 10 point win in a very hostile environment in a very important game. Yes, it was ugly, but a "w" is a "w." This was classic Howland basketball. Grind it out and grind some more. Yes, the Bruins did not get good shots as the shot clock wound down, and they need to improve on that, but they made USC play 30+ seconds of "D" on every possession. The Prince and Westbrook won this game for UCLA by playing "D". Collison's "D" was overlooked because he was defending a player, (Johnson), not expected to score, but his "D" helped keep USC out of a rhythm. Shipp and Collison did a nice job of going 6-6 from the line down the stretch, but otherwise free throws were a problem again. But, remember that "defense wins championships" and that's how UCLA won last night!

At Feb 18, 2008, 10:46:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

A couple more thoughts..... K-Love made 2 hustle plays that were critical and are being over looked in the stories I have read in the press on this game....
1) the dive on the floor for the loose ball near mid-court that led to the break-out layup. 2) The offensive rebound and put back of his own missed shot attempt late in the game. This was UCLA's only basket down the stretch. It broke the deadlock where neither team scored for many minutes on multiple trips up and down the court when the Bruins had a 6 point lead. K-Love is the man!

At Feb 19, 2008, 2:23:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I said it had better be the Bruins by 10 so I celebrated with a Brewski for each point we won by. I was sweating it becasue I was going to stop drinking one day of each point we may have lost to the Condoms! But alas, we avenged our loss to SuC.
I wasn't overly thrilled with our offensive performance as we need more production from Shipp and Westbrook in that area. I don't like to see Luc taking 20 footers with 5 seconds left on the shot clock...that is bad percentage BBR!!!
If our guys don't step up to help offset the bundling up of Love inside, we won't have a chance in the tourny. I still think Howland needs bring in Dragovic and let the guy shoot a little to gain some confidence and not yank him after a missed shot or two. You don't see Howland doing that when Luc throws up a few bricks from the outside!
I'd also like to see KLove shoot the midrange shot, not always a 3 pointer or 5 feet under the basket. That would be a wonderous added dimension if he started hitting from high post area.
And Keefe needs to let a few of those 3 pointers fly. He was too hesitant and definitely had some wide-open looks against the Univ. of Spoiled Children!
My two-cents worth, thanks for listening!


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