Thursday, February 07, 2008

Collison Leads Bruins To Victory Over Cougars

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Darren Collison scored all 18 of his points in the second half to lead No.4/5 UCLA to a 67-59 win over No.17 Washington State in a top 25 Pac-10 match-up.

Kevin Love added 16 points and 9 rebounds despite being double-teamed most of the night.  Unlike earlier in the season when he at times became frustrated battling double coverage, Love instead stepped away from the pressure and worked the Cougars over with his midrange game which helped open up the driving lanes for penetration by the UCLA guards. 

Especially in the second-half, Collison and Russell Westbrook repeatedly got into the paint for easy layups as the Cougars big men were preoccupied with keeping a body on Love.  Westbrook finished with 14 points on 7 of 12 field goal shooting.

The Bruins started the game very sluggishly against the Cougars perhaps suffering the lingering effects from a long arduous trip up north the evening before.

The team's charter plane was diverted to another airport on its way to Pullman last night and the team had to take a 45 minute bus ride to their final destination.  The Bruins did not arrive to their hotel until well after midnight.

In addition, Collison was suffering from flu-like symptoms and did not appear very focused at the beginning of the game.  While the Cougars started off with good intensity on their home court, the Bruins were making lazy passes and were lackadaisical with their ball handling which resulted in numerous early turnovers.  For the game Westbrook and Collison combined for an uncharacteristic eight turnovers.

However, the Bruin defense, which has been their constant all season, and the offense battled back to take the game into halftime with a hard fought 26-26 tie after Russell Westbrook slammed home the tying basket with thirty seconds remaining.

In the second half, the two teams traded baskets for the first twelve minutes but then UCLA started finding ways of getting the ball to Kevin Love and the freshman took over. 

Love scored 8 of the team's next 10 points as the Bruins went on a 10-2 run to take a 54-45 lead with just over four minutes remaining.

With a solid lead in hand, the Bruins decided to keep the ball in Darren Collison's hands down the stretch who responded by scoring nine points, seven on free throws, in the final four minutes minutes of the game to keep the Cougars at bay for the victory.

UCLA won the battle on the boards again, out-rebounding the Cougars, 29-20, including 12 on the offensive end. 

The team was playing without junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who is recovering from a sprained ankle.  Sophomore James Keefe stepped in and played a solid game against the Cougars scoring 5 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in just 11 minutes of action.

The Bruin's (21-2, 9-1) victory kept them one game ahead of Stanford atop the Pac-10 conference.  UCLA is off to their best start since the 1995 championship team finished 32-1.

UCLA now travels to Seattle for a Sunday afternoon game against the Washington Huskies.  The rare Sunday game gives the team an additional day to rest up and prepare.  The Huskies were routed on Thursday night by the Trojans, 73-59.

(photo credit: AP)



At Feb 7, 2008, 3:35:00 PM, Anonymous ASK said...

Great win without Luc. It's good to see that we can win without our starting forward, on a poor shooting night in a tough environment. This team has what it takes to make a title run. We can win when we are down and we can blow out any team when we are hot.
I saw at least 3 times in the game where Collison felt a body on him and he just tossed the ball up as if he were shooting it just to get foul shots. All 3 times he didn't get the call and it resulted in turnovers. Darren usually takes great care of the ball and tonight he made some bad decisions. Over all he had a good game (esp. on D) but he needs to stop that unless the defender is coming down right on top of him.
Very good and satisfying win tonight. Great recruiting class by our football team yesterday. Good week to be a bruin so far.

At Feb 7, 2008, 4:36:00 PM, Anonymous Larry said...

Great win. This game had me really concerned prior to the final seconds. 3 home losses in a row for Wazzu is unheard of these days.
Question - why does UCLA seem to be give up SO many backdoor cuts and easy layup or dunks this year? What is different about the defense? Is it not as good or is it focusing more on the passing lanes or...???

At Feb 7, 2008, 6:02:00 PM, Anonymous bruin said...

come tournament time defense is going to be in sync. people worry to much . prefer ucla play tarheel defense . no . exactly. they just won on a tough environment to play in.

At Feb 7, 2008, 9:14:00 PM, Anonymous Larry said...

Agree with you "bruin" and the question I asked was not meant as a critism, but rather an observation. What about this team is different defensively from our past teams? We keep winning which is most important, yet, why are there so many easy baskets given up?

At Feb 7, 2008, 10:06:00 PM, Anonymous ceeb said...

"I was getting frustrated. Then they decided to give me the ball, I guess." - Kevin Love
I'm tired of his bitching about touches. Sure you're in one-and-done audition-mode and all that, but try to remember you chose UCLA, where your teammates are good. Doesn't look good for the late-round tourney games against really good teams.

At Feb 8, 2008, 12:15:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

I think we are more vunerable to back door cuts because Love doesn't rotate over the way Mata does. In part because he is still learning (vastly improved defense since the beginning of the year), and in part because he needs to be quicker (less fat, more muscle). He also doesn't have great stamina.

At Feb 8, 2008, 12:15:00 AM, Anonymous Diggitydawg510 said...

I disagree that he's bitching about his touches. If you're the superstar on the team, you better call for the rock. Take Lebron for example before last year's playoffs. he didn't have that killer instinct. now he does. Look at kobe. Super stars should demand for the ball. I know it's not the NBA and UCLA has gone to the Final 4 for the last two seasons, but I also know that having a dominant post player will win championships.

At Feb 8, 2008, 1:55:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

2 difference in this year's "D" as compared to 2007. 1) No Afflalo. 2) As Rob says, Love is at the 5 instead of Mata. Mata could rotate over and block shots. Love is not a shot blocker.

At Feb 8, 2008, 2:02:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Thanks for the recap...I was on a hot date but sat in front of the tv...
and completely missed the game....
Nice win Bru Crew!

At Feb 8, 2008, 2:40:00 AM, Anonymous teamwork said...

ceeb & Diggitydawg510,
i agreed that Love is a star, but so are the other players on the team... basketball is a team game... a competitor (like Love) would put winning as a priority...
Wazzu did a good job guarding Love... it was hard for our guards to get the ball to him.
anyway, awesome game!

At Feb 8, 2008, 2:44:00 AM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Love - I think he needs to stop talking about touches. He gets the ball a lot and we have lots of weapons. Howland will take care of the team if he feels Love needs more touches. I think the NBA comparison is not relevant.
Defense: I agree with above posters that the rotation is just a lot slower than in years past when we had Mata, Aboya, Arron and Luc covering on the weak side. But I also think Keefe, Love and Westy will continue to get better as we move closer to the tournament.

At Feb 8, 2008, 3:43:00 AM, Anonymous ML said...

Anyone know what the taunts were that the Wazzu crowd was hurling at K-Love?

At Feb 8, 2008, 3:52:00 AM, Anonymous Bobby said...

They were chanting "Butt Sweat". I guess Kevin's short on the hind side was wet from sweat. Just shows how hard the guy plays.
...sort of funny, not lude or crass like OU.

At Feb 8, 2008, 5:00:00 AM, Anonymous MoFo said...

What were the Oregon fans saying? I've only been able to find vague statements about how offensive it was, not anything that was actually said.

At Feb 8, 2008, 5:08:00 AM, Anonymous J said...

So what was the crowd at OSU chanting?

At Feb 8, 2008, 2:55:00 PM, Anonymous bungo999 said...

When I first read that comment from Love on ESPN and then in the LAT, I was a little tired of hearing the same old complaint, HOWEVER, it seems that the MSM in typical fashion did not use the entire quote to stir up controversy.
Here's the entire quote from Dohn: "To tell you the truth, I was getting a little bit frustrated because I thought I was open a couple of times," Love said. "They started to get me the ball because I guess they found an opening. I ran the floor and tried to get down there and get fouled."

At Feb 8, 2008, 2:57:00 PM, Anonymous bungo999 said...

That quote from Love was not the complete quote and was truncated to stir up controversy. Here's the whole quote:
"To tell you the truth, I was getting a little bit frustrated because I thought I was open a couple of times," Love said. "They started to get me the ball because I guess they found an opening. I ran the floor and tried to get down there and get fouled."

At Feb 9, 2008, 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous dee said...

great game... love definitely deserve alot more touches on the offensive year, almost everytime he touches the ball some good will happen, 1) make good shot, 2) get fouled while shooting, 3) pass to the open guy... that's a luxury we have not had since a long long time.... however we are definitely gotten burn alot more on the pick and rolls... teams have learn how to counter when we step in front of the pick and roll... they know tend to set it up alot deeper, so it's hard for the big guy to run back into the paint and simply messes up our rotation, for one thing... ball travel faster than men, esp big men... something we simply have to learn to adjust and have faster rotation... or wink* zone defense... i think that's actually helpful if we learn one good zone, like a match-up zone since teams will not expect us to play zone... throwing in the zone can change the pace and mess up and confuse the other team (something like a secret weapon)


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