Friday, March 14, 2008

Bruins Advance To Pac-10 Final But Lose Mbah a Moute

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report


Box Score


Freshman Kevin Love scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead UCLA to a 57-54 win over USC and advance to the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament.  However, the victory celebration was tempered by a first half injury to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.


Mbah a Moute, who was already playing on a tender ankle, leaped in the air and landed awkwardly on a Trojan player's shoe crumpling to the ground in pain.  He had to be helped off the court by teammates.  Preliminary x-rays showed no break and only a sprain, however, it is likely Mbah a Moute will miss tomorrow's championship game. Without Mbah a Moute, the Bruins are missing one of their best defenders and rebounders.


However, UCLA got very good contribution off the bench from sophomore 6'8 forward James Keefe.  Although he did not score a point, he grabbed four rebounds and played excellent defense on USC's DaVon Jefferson.  Jefferson scored 12 points in the first half but was held scoreless in the final half by Keefe's sticky and active defense.  Keefe played a season-high 23 minutes.


The Trojans have given the Bruins trouble in both their games this season, and outplayed UCLA for most of the first half in this contest.  The Trojans spread the floor and picked the Bruin defense apart, getting easy baskets off back cuts and curls.  After two three-point shots from Keith Wilkinson, yes - Keith Wilknson, the Trojans opened their biggest lead of the half, 30-22, and seemed to be in control of the game.


After baskets were traded, Darren Collison hit a two-point jumper as time expired in the half to cut the lead to six, 34-28, and injecting some life into the Bruins' offense.


In the second half, the Bruins stepped up the defensive pressure and made a concerted effort to get the ball into Kevin Love.  Baskets by Collison and Russell Westbrook off a steal and missed shot pulled UCLA to within two points, and then Kevin Love's slam dunk off a missed shot tied the game at 34-34.


It was just the start of Love's scoring as the 6'9 center scored his team's next 11 points as UCLA went on a 15-2 run, 43-36, capped off by a three-point shot by Love.  The Bruins never relinquished the lead.


USC made one last run at the Bruins, led by O.J Mayo's seven consecutive points to pull within 3 points.  But Mayo's desperation three-point shot with two seconds remaining missed left and the Bruins exited the court on their way to the tournament championship game.


Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook added 13 points apiece.  Westbrook added 3 assists.  UCLA shot just 39.2% from the field and made only 3 of 18 of its three-pointers for 16.7%.


The Bruins (30-3) will play the winner of the Stanford versus Washington State contest on Saturday afternoon.


(photo credit: AP)

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3 Comments:

At Mar 14, 2008, 5:31:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

NO STUD RECRUIT WILL EVER PLAY IN THE GHETTO...WE OWN THEM, WHEN WE R HEALTHY, WE OWN THEM WHEN WE R NOT...
Let's hope M bah is ok
Love to our Bruin Fans.....our run to the title has started....
Wake up and go to Q's on Wilshire......

 
At Mar 14, 2008, 5:46:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

WHAT THE HECK WAS SAID TO OUR BRUINS AT HALFTIME???? WE WENT ON A 20-4 RUN TO START THE SECOND HALF.....
DID HOWLAND, THE NICE GUY HE IS, CURSE AND CUSS UP A STORM???
DID A PLAYER GET UP AND LET HIS TEAM HAVE IT???
BBR, U R KNOWLEDGEABLE, FIND OUT........

 
At Mar 16, 2008, 4:54:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin class of 2010 said...

How 'bout that match up between Westbrook and Me-o-Mayo. I think our boy deserves some love for his shut-down "D" in that game. Not one mention of his name in that recap?! Those two had the crowd on their feet at the end of the game, just like they were watching a prize fight.

 

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