Saturday, March 15, 2008

Collison Leads Bruins To Pac-10 Tournament Crown

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report


Box Score


With UCLA's front line hurting, the backcourt stepped up its game.


Point-guard Darren Collison scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to lead the Bruins to a 67-64 win and Pac-10 Tournament championship. 


The victory should help to cement a No.1 seed for UCLA (31-3) in the West Region at the upcoming NCAA tournament.  Seedings and brackets will be announced on Sunday.


Already missing Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who sat out with a sprained ankle, freshman center Kevin Love experienced back spasms in the opening minutes of the game, causing him to miss much of the first half and limited his movement.  Stanford capitalized by jumping out to an early 19-11 lead.


After a UCLA timeout the Bruins began to step it up on defense, seemingly getting to every loose and tipped ball and raced to the half on a 22-13 run to tie the game 32-32.


In the second half, Stanford moved out to a four point lead after a dunk by Brook Lopez, but then the Bruins went on a 27-13 run to open up a ten point lead, 61-51, with just over two minutes remaining.  Collison took control during this span with a variety of drives to the basket leaving Stanford's Mitch Johnson in the dust while alluding Stanford's Lopez twins for deft defying lay-ups and tear-drop shots. 


The Bruins also ran a high pick and roll for Collison which Stanford was unable to defend. Cardinal coach Trent Johnson was forced to move to a zone defense later in the half to try to control Collison's dribble penetration . He finished 12-22 from the field. 


"I felt real confident," Collison said. "They had a hard time stopping the pick-and-roll. That was a big key for us, so we kept going to it."


Stanford made one final move and managed to cut the lead to one point with seven seconds remaining in the game, but Collison sank two free throws to extend the lead back to three.  Anthony Goods' halfcourt shot with time running out fall short, and the Bruins finished the season as both Pac-10 conference regular season and tournament champions.


Collison was named MVP of the Pac-10 Tournament.  Over three tourney games, the junior point-guard averaged 20 points to lead the Bruins.


Sophomore James Keefe stepped up big for the team, scoring 8 points and grabbing 3 rebounds.  He did a good job defensively against Robin Lopez, blocking one of the 7-footer's shots during the Bruins' key second half run.


Josh Shipp also helped on the boards with 9 rebounds.  Despite being out-sized on the floor by Stanford's massive front line, UCLA outrebounded Stanford 39-34.  In addition, the Bruins grabbed 18 offensive rebounds.


Kevin Love seemed to move better in the second half and finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds.


UCLA completed a three-game sweep of a very tough Stanford team this year.  The Cardinal will likely lose Brook Lopez to the NBA draft this season.  He finished with a team-high 15 points and 6 rebounds.


The Bruins shot just 38% from the field and a season-worst 39.1% (9-23) from the free-throw line.  But UCLA's advantage on the boards, especially on the offensive end, and the fact the Bruins committed just four turnovers were the deciding factors in the game. 


Stanford (26-7) finished shooting 47.9% from the field.


Now the Bruins will rest up and wait for tomorrow's tournament bracket announcements.


BBR Notes:  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was wearing a walking boot and on crutches at the game.  Its uncertain when he will return although its unlikely he will be available, or needed, for UCLA's opening round game on Thursday.


(photo credit: AP)

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12 Comments:

At Mar 15, 2008, 2:31:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

We shut up the world. (w/o Mbah)
-Congrats on winning the Pac-10
-Congrats on winning the pointless Pac 10 tny w/o MbAh the last game
-Congrats on setting a UCLA RECORD REGULAR season win total
-Congrats on kickin everybody else's butts and being hurt all season....I still do not think there has been one game where we all have been healthy.....
-Congrats to all the awards u guys have
-Congrats Howland for beating Trent...we all know u r the PAC 10 Coach of the Year
Mbah get healthy...we will hold it down for the first two games if need be....
CHEERS TO ALL THE BRUINS!!!!
LETS HANG ONE FATTY (banner)
Q'S NEXT GAME....STAY TUNED
IT IS A DYNASTY.............

 
At Mar 15, 2008, 2:34:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Hey...9 for 23 from the free throw line....
that sucks!!!! explain
BruinFan needs to know

 
At Mar 15, 2008, 3:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great game. Back to the FF.
Keefe was huge! he'll allow us to rest up Luc until at least the sweet 16!

 
At Mar 15, 2008, 4:01:00 PM, Anonymous willis said...

Wow! Gotta love Collison! K-Love showed great heart and guts out there. You are right, the #1 seed gives UCLA an extra week the get Luc Richard's ankle healthy. Trent Johnson had said before the game that Stanford's strategy was to wear UCLA down. Well, no one wears UCLA down. UCLA wears others down and in fact the Lopez twins were worn down the last 8 minutes. Were it not for Goods' clutch long range shooting and UCLA's terrible free throw shooting, this would have been a 10-14 point Bruin win. Great offensive rebounding by the Bruins and great ball handling with so few turn overs. I said before the game in a post on BBR that The Prince going down would result in others stepping up. Keefe made a difference and Mata-Real had some nice defensive plays. Who's next, Coppin State? Go Bruins!

 
At Mar 15, 2008, 4:26:00 PM, Anonymous j said...

How about a K Love update, is he feeling okay? He sure got beat up today!

 
At Mar 16, 2008, 12:38:00 AM, Anonymous chanami said...

Curious to know what the trainers do for Luc Richard's ankle before games? Looks like they just tape it up. Why doesn't he have a larger ankle brace? He is so active down low that it is only a matter of time before he tweaks it again. But I love his heart! What am I saying? I love this team's heart! Way to go Bruins! Making us all proud...

 
At Mar 16, 2008, 2:01:00 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

Our SQUAD showed great heart. Keefe gives you as much as Mbah without the mental lapse. Shipp is the week link unless he can get open for a wide open shot. Collison was very impressive. He should play every game with the same tenacity. Love is indeed a warrior. Back spasms are very painful. He dug deep and showed great heart. Russell can lead this team to the promise land if it slows down and don't look to force the action. Aboya and Mata-Real are key and will be needed too. We need them to be on the floor. Lets play a little smarter and stay out of silly foul trouble.

 
At Mar 22, 2008, 2:21:00 PM, Anonymous Sam said...

Westbrook is a punk and Shipp is a punk .. this UCLA team is overrated and if they were to play in neutral court - they'd go down like chickens ... sweet 16 is the last you'll see of the Bruins. Kevin Love is mid-major at best .. suck on

 
At Mar 22, 2008, 4:39:00 PM, Anonymous sabekemo said...

Do you think you will take it to the house like Tyus did in 95????? All kidding aside...you guys will not win this year. I'm a realist and your team doesn't have the character. I'm betting on Stanford over your team. A&M had you guys for a time. YOU triumphed and that is cool! The thing is that Tex. has beaten U . once. They would beat u again. As much as it pains me as a Mizzou fan is that the Goofhawks are a team that will put you in your lucky place. ??????? The over the backboard Cali. win. The phantom foul stuff Stanford win. Don't get me wrong,,,,you guys are good! You should have lost tonight. You may have luck on your side!!! Tyus is not suiting up and you will not take it down this year. I think it will be KU. Being an MU fan myself, I throw up a little in my mouth.

 
At Mar 22, 2008, 4:44:00 PM, Anonymous sabekemo said...

Do you think you will take it to the house like Tyus did in 95????? All kidding aside...you guys will not win this year. I'm a realist and your team doesn't have the character. I'm betting on Stanford over your team. A&M had you guys for a time. YOU triumphed and that is cool! The thing is that Tex. has beaten U . once. They would beat u again. As much as it pains me as a Mizzou fan is that the Goofhawks are a team that will put you in your lucky place. ??????? The over the backboard Cali. win. The phantom foul stuff Stanford win. Don't get me wrong,,,,you guys are good! You should have lost tonight. You may have luck on your side!!! Tyus is not suiting up and you will not take it down this year. I think it will be KU. Being an MU fan myself, I throw up a little in my mouth.

 
At Mar 22, 2008, 4:46:00 PM, Anonymous sabekemo said...

Do you think you will take it to the house like Tyus did in 95????? All kidding aside...you guys will not win this year. I'm a realist and your team doesn't have the character. I'm betting on Stanford over your team. A&M had you guys for a time. YOU triumphed and that is cool! The thing is that Tex. has beaten U . once. They would beat u again. As much as it pains me as a Mizzou fan is that the Goofhawks are a team that will put you in your lucky place. ??????? The over the backboard Cali. win. The phantom foul stuff Stanford win. Don't get me wrong,,,,you guys are good! You should have lost tonight. You may have luck on your side!!! Tyus is not suiting up and you will not take it down this year. I think it will be KU. Being an MU fan myself, I throw up a little in my mouth.

 
At Mar 22, 2008, 4:47:00 PM, Anonymous sabekemo said...

Do you think you will take it to the house like Tyus did in 95????? All kidding aside...you guys will not win this year. I'm a realist and your team doesn't have the character. I'm betting on Stanford over your team. A&M had you guys for a time. YOU triumphed and that is cool! The thing is that Tex. has beaten U . once. They would beat u again. As much as it pains me as a Mizzou fan is that the Goofhawks are a team that will put you in your lucky place. ??????? The over the backboard Cali. win. The phantom foul stuff Stanford win. Don't get me wrong,,,,you guys are good! You should have lost tonight. You may have luck on your side!!! Tyus is not suiting up and you will not take it down this year. I think it will be KU. Being an MU fan myself, I throw up a little in my mouth.

 

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