Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bruins Get Light Work Out In First Round Tourney Win

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Top-seed UCLA (32-3) began its trek through the NCAA tournament with a lopsided 70-29 win over a terribly overmatched Mississippi Valley State team.

UCLA held Mississippi Valley State to the lowest point in the tournament since 1946, when Baylor scored 29 in a loss to Oklahoma State. The Delta Devils (17-16) also set a tournament record for fewest points in a first-round game, breaking the mark of 32 by Wisconsin in 1999.

The game result was never in question.

Freshman Kevin Love scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in just the first-half, outscoring the Delta Devils, who managed just 16 points, in the opening half by himself.

Love dominated the action inside, bullying himself into the paint at will. He shot 8 of 15 from the field and also grabbed 9 rebounds to help the Bruins to a resounding 50-29 rebound advantage over Mississippi Valley State.

UCLA dominated on defense holding the Delta Devils to just 19.7% field goal shooting, in addition, the Bruins had a season-high 13 blocked shots. Love and sophomore James Keefe each had 4 blocks.

Keefe started at forward in place of injured junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute was available and warmed-up with the team, however, UCLA Coach Ben Howland decided to hold him out for the game, one in which Mbah a Moute was definitely not needed.

The sophomore forward, Keefe, had a solid game. In addition to his defense, he grabbed 7 rebounds and scored 4 points including a soaring slam dunk off a turnover.

Howland stated afterwards that Mbah a Moute will likely start the next game for UCLA.

No Bruin played over 26 minutes with Coach Howland emptying his bench midway through the second half. Every UCLA player scored in the game except for DeAndre Robinson.

The UCLA scoring was spread across the entire team, other than Kevin Love, no other Bruin scored in double figures. Russell Westbrook had 9 points and a game-high 7 assists. Off the bench, Lorenzo Mata-Real added 9 points and 9 rebounds.

UCLA shot 47.4% from the field and 37.5% from beyond the arc. Love was 3 of 6 on three-pointers. While it was enjoyable to watch Love hit regularly from long-distance, its not the type of shot one hopes Love will make a habit of taking too many against upcoming opponents - his place is in the low blocks.

The victory sets up a a second-round match-up on Saturday against No.9 seed Texas A&M (25-10), a 67-62 winner over No.8 seed BYU. Coincidentally, UCLA played Texas A&M last year in the Wooden Classic held at the Honda Center.

(photo credit: AP)



At Mar 20, 2008, 4:25:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

was at the game... everyone looked great... keefe might probably be the 1st man off the bench when LRMM gets healthy with his tough defense, block shots and rebounds... the only neg i saw this game was shipp... hesistated and pump faked on 3pt when he had a clear shot and totally messed up his flow, super lost on defense, the few points we conceded in first half was because he lost his man or he fail to rotate... we might be better serve with a real 3pt threat drago in the game
final thoughts... i really love our game, unlike stanford who were overconfident, we played out staple game defense and fastbreak with that Texas A&M should be a breeze as well

At Mar 20, 2008, 5:29:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

I agree...Shipp...u r breakin my nut*
Drago...Keep practicin the 3....
Roll...where r u?...Watch Howland pull a rabbit out of the hat in the 4th**
SteP up up your play against A&M BOYS.....

At Mar 20, 2008, 6:34:00 PM, Anonymous Bee said...

Keefe is looking GOOD these days. He is definitely going to be an important part of the rotation the rest of this tournament. Very versatile.
Other than a brief stretch where we went a little turnover-happy, I really liked how crisply we played tonight...and as a team.
Man, after the last 4-5 games we've had, I'm glad we haven't had a nail-biter for a change! Give my heart a rest!
Lastly, I wanted to see more of Stanback in the blowout. It'd be nice to get him some tournament experience to prepare him for next year.

At Mar 20, 2008, 11:14:00 PM, Anonymous Dan-o said...

Bee you're totally right about Stanback. I remember last year when Westbrook showed his potential in the tournament last year with that monster dunk in the Indiana game. I think that moment in addition to rigorous lifting and re-fining his overall game and defense propelled him to being a possible lottery pick this year. Hopefully Stanback has that moment and propels him towards a great sophomore year.
Next game should prepare Love for the big men he'll face later in the tournament. DeAndre Jordan should give him some good work in preparation for Hasheem Thabeet and UConn.
In a previous post I thought that Xavier would beat Duke preventing a Singler-Love rematch. Revision: I don't think there even going to make the Xavier matchup.

At Mar 21, 2008, 1:54:00 AM, Anonymous jef said...

i think if the boys can hit down the open jumper, they are going to be nearly impossible to stop. i wish westbrook and collison would attack the rim more. when love outlets the ball, they have easy paths to the basket. i hope collison and westbrook attack those lanes more in the coming games. what a great way to start the tourney.

At Mar 21, 2008, 4:37:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Nice to have a Bruin game where my gut never burned during the game!
See what happens when you get a little playing time! Keefe is starting to look like a defensive monster out there. Now granted it was MVS, but I kept a special eye on him and he had his hand(s) in everywhere, reaching, blocking, especially when helping bail out a teammate.
Shipp really needs to get of of this funk. If not, glad to see Dragy get some playing time. We may have to rely on his outside game if Shipp can't get it together!
And last but certainly not least, the Trojans are done...gone and buried! Start putting your temptation voodoo spells on Mayo so he can't resist the money that will be dangled before him and let's cast him off to the NBA. Hey maybe we can even get Floyd to take a harder look at the big league! I want to start seeing the Galen Center half-full in the next couple of years!
This is definitely a Good Friday!!!


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