Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kevin Love Carries UCLA To Victory Over Arizona

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Kevin Love scored 24 points and hauled down 15 rebounds to help No.4 ranked UCLA hold on to a narrow 68-66 victory over Arizona in Tucson. It marked Love's 18th double-double performance of the season. Point-guard Darren Collison added 16 points in the win.

UCLA (26-3, 14-2) now heads into a Pac-10 showdown against Stanford (24-4 13-3) Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion with first-place in the conference and a potential No.1 seed in the West on the line.

The Bruins jumped out in front quickly against Arizona in this game, Kevin Love's lay-up off an assist by Russell Westbrook put them up, 13-6, after just five minutes of action.

They extended it to their biggest lead of 11 points shortly thereafter, but UCLA simply couldn't administer the knockout punch as it had at Pauley Pavilion against Arizona, as the McKale Center crowd, donned in Wildcat red, helped to prod its team back into the game.

Arizona sophomore Chase Budinger sparked the Wildcat rally, scoring 12 of his team's last 16 points of the half to cut the lead to just two points, 41-39, going into the locker room.

Both teams had problems stopping each other in the first half, the Bruins shot 59.3% while the Wildcats finished with 51.9%.

In the second half, Arizona freshman sensation Jerryd Bayless finally shook off the defensive vice applied by Russell Westbrook, to give the Wildcats their first lead since the game's opening basket, 42-41.

With Arizona up by four points and the momentum flowing throughout the arena, the Bruins turned to their freshman center for an answer.

UCLA repeatedly found Love in the paint as the 6'9 freshman overpowered his Arizona defenders to score 13 points over the game's final seven minutes. Love made 7 consecutive free throws and was 3 of 3 from the field including a three-point play to put the Bruins ahead for good.

The Wildcats had one final chance to win the game in the waning seconds after Westbrook and Love, fighting for a rebound, knocked the ball out of bounds under the basket with the Bruins holding a 68-66 lead. But Jerryd Bayless' off-balance three-point shot missed short and the Bruins escaped with a sweep of their series with Arizona.

UCLA has now won seven straight games against Arizona (17-12, 7-9). With their sixth loss in seven games, the Wildcats are in some danger of missing the tournament this year.

After temporarily breaking out of a shooting slump with a 4 of 8 three-point performance against Arizona State, Josh Shipp struggled offensively in this game. Shipp hit his first and only three-point shot in the opening minute but then missed his remaining four attempts.

More troubling for the team, Shipp disappeared offensively down the stretch when the Bruins needed an outside shot with Arizona packing it tight inside to guard Love. On a few instances, Shipp passed up an open shot seemingly lacking the confidence to attempt the shot himself.

With two regular season games and the Pac-10 tournament remaining before the NCAA postseason, Shipp will need to find his shot and flow in the offense if the Bruins are to go far in the tourney.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland shortened the bench considerably in the game with three reserves playing just a total of 21 minutes. All Bruin starters played at least 33 minutes with Westbrook and Collison logging 38 and 39 minutes, respectively.

The Bruins finished the game shooting 48.9% from the field but only on 7 assists.

UCLA hosts Stanford and California at Pauley Pavilion next week in the last two games of the Pac-10 regular season.

(photo credit: AP)



At Mar 2, 2008, 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

Love was great offensively and in the clutch, but gave up a number of easy baskets because of crappy defense. We could have easily lost this game. Shipp has to show up offensively, and Love has to show up on defense if we are to make a run for the title. If we don't play better than we did today, we will likely lose to a very good team on a good day or a great team (kansas, Memphis, N.C.) on an average day.

At Mar 2, 2008, 11:16:00 AM, Anonymous bruin said...

Same can be said about those other teams you mentioned. At the end of the day the bruins got it done. The last time i saw the bruins are 26-3 and probably a very good seed, and yes the bruins are going to play better than they did today.

At Mar 2, 2008, 12:28:00 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

I only saw the last 10 minutes on TV but other than Love and maybe Collison, the Bruins looked lethargic on offense; no movement--especially Shipp, as most of the team stood around and watched Love fight for position. If it wasnt for the point getting the ball to the big man, they would have lost.

At Mar 2, 2008, 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous willis said...

Defense wins championships. Most, including Packer and Nance, failed to notice a very important adjustment that Howland made at the half. He took Luc Richard off of Buddinger and moved Westbrook over to guard him. That meant Collison had to check Bayless. This slowed down Buddinger in the 2nd half from a very hot last 10 minutes of the first half. Collison did enough defensively to keep Bayless from going off in the 2nd half as Buddinger did in the first. This defensive adjustment as well as K-Love's late 2nd half offense won the game. Arizona had a 39 point 1st half and a 27 point 2nd half. When you're offense ain't getting it done, great D will keep you in any game. This is Howland's mantra. Any win at McKale is a great win!

At Mar 2, 2008, 1:12:00 PM, Anonymous DK BRUIN said...

First of Packer and Nance didn't give ANY credit to the Bruins the entire game, adding to the thousands of other media morons who have theyre heads too far up thier east coast butts to recognize that UCLA will be the number 3 teams in the country tomrrow. But come tournament time Coach Howland and the boys will make sure for a third time that they can NOT be ignored. But to do that, Josh Shipp needs to get his swagger back. Thats our achillies heel at this point, and only Josh and Coach can fix it now. But if there is one thing Josh and the Coach have prooven is that they will be ready come tourny time, so no worries Bruin Fans. We got this! Tyler who? The West Coast is coming dressed in Blue and Gold!

At Mar 2, 2008, 9:29:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin 2005 said...

I am really worried about our outside game. It looked like Shipp wasn't even trying to shoot the ball. Whats going on??? It reminds me of last year when Aaron would get into a funk...he would still score 15 points though.

At Mar 2, 2008, 11:48:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Shipp keep shooting in practice and then some...
Love saved us that game...
Glad Bayless is a one and done playr....
Get ready for the tall trees Thursday...
I'll be at Q's by the pool tables...

At Mar 3, 2008, 12:54:00 AM, Anonymous Damon said...

BruinFan, while you're at Qs, can you pick up the fake ID they took from me in 1991? California Drivers License, with my picture, and the bouncer smelled my underageness right away.
Bruins need to hit from outside. Shipp is not the only one, Luc, Westbrook, and Love need to be threats from 15 out.
Go Bruins.

At Mar 3, 2008, 3:01:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

A few more thoughts about Shipp.
1) Yes, he's gotta get it going.
2) Bottom line is he cannot create his own shot. He is fully dependent on their offensive sets to get him open looks coming off of picks or....
3) Passes out of the post from K-Love being double teamed or Collison/Westbrook breaking down the D, getting into the lane, and perhaps kicking it out to Shipp spotting up might create a shot or two. However, teams know not to double or help off of Shipp because he can hurt you.
4) UCLA's offense will improve in the NCAA tourney because most likely no team they play will have played them before. It's always easier to defend a team the 2nd time around.

At Mar 3, 2008, 4:16:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Shipp can practice all he wants but if he doesn't get some help getting "inside" his head, he is going to continue to doubt himself. The way Shipp played on Sunday, I think Dragovic could have filled in for him and probably been as productive... on both ends of the court!
The Bruin coaching staff has to quit sluffing this to the side. Shipp's mental mindframe is very fragile right now and they should bring in a pro to help...Otherwise, all these posts are right that say we won't repeat to the Final Four without his (or somebodys) outside shooting help!

At Mar 3, 2008, 9:01:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

Thank you Willis and DK Bruin! I was wondering if I was over-reacting on my analysis that Packer and Nance appeared to be in a let's hate-Love-fest along with the rest of the Bruins and never said one damn thing positive about UCLA the whole game.
Hasn't the PAC-10 finally earned the respect of these Eastern Time Zone morans? Last I heard, we were acknowledged by most of the NCAA as the best conference in the country!
I used to think Dick Vitale was Mr. East Coast but he knows talent when he sees it and has come around full circle! Looks like Dick needs to get on the horn to Billy and tell him "Get your head out of your fudge...Packer"!

At Mar 3, 2008, 9:07:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

Oh and I agree Brew In, the Bruins need to bring in some assistance to help Josh out. How about alum Reggie Miller in between his TNT gig. He could do one-on-one shoot arounds with Josh.
Maybe bring in Donny Mac too. He is such a basketball brain, I know he'd give Shipp some great insight.
Sometimes it takes some outside blood infused into the frey, like some ex-Bruin greats to give a different perspective!

At Mar 3, 2008, 5:05:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

shipp is fine, i think the reason is because we stop running plays for him... earlier in the season we would run those baseline screens for shipp to set up at the 3pt line, we sort of stopped doing that when a) teams found out b) we found Love. The fact is he's the 4th option on our team now and it's natural for him to get less shots. he's a good shooter and a good slasher, more than the points he give, it's the intangibles and smarts he brings when he's on court... and seriously, i think collison is the better 3pt shooter in our team anyways...
finally just a thought i had today, i was thinking about other top teams... and i realized that our chance this year is very good... the only way we would lose is if the opposing team has ultra-atheletic big man or no big man who doesn't stay in the post or those with none at all(think USC, Oregon, Texas) mainly because we can't use our post double team on them on the defensive end to create turnovers and our bigs are slow to rotate back on pick and rolls when the big man setting up the pick can pop the 3 or is faster than the guy who rotates... based on that... we actually have a pretty good chance this time round since most top teams center around a good postman (Hansborough, Hibbert, Lopez twins etc) But teams like memphis, texas, kansas with good wing players will be troublesome since shipp is slow, westbrook gives away some size, LRMM give away some speed as well against a true 3 (think budginger)


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