Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lightning Strikes Twice At Pauley, Shipp Happens

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Mata-Real at Senior Day

Josh Shipp's prayer shot from behind the backboard with one second remaining was answered as UCLA rallied to defeat the California Golden Bears, 81-80, in a Pac-10 conference regular season finale.

Down 80-79 with six seconds left in the game, the ball was inbounded to Shipp in the right corner. Tightly guarded, he took the ball baseline and then had to force a 12 foot shot from behind the backboard. The ball sailed slightly high over the corner of the backboard and swished through the net for the game winner.

Based upon NCAA rules, a shot with the basketball crossing over the backboard is ruled out of bounds, however, the referees ruled the shot was too close to call and thereby allowed the basket. In addition, per the rules, such a shot is now reviewable by officials at the game.

Regardless, the game should not have come down to the final deciding possession.

Except for a 2-0 lead at 2:21 minutes into the game, UCLA never had another lead until the winning heave by Shipp.

The day started off on a high note as UCLA fans, teammates, and coaching staff honored departing senior Lorenzo Mata-Real in an emotional ceremony on Senior Day at Pauley Pavilion.

Unfortunately the team wasn't able to carry over the high emotions into the game, as they started off flat to start. California outscored UCLA 21-8 in the first ten minutes of the game to grab its biggest lead at 11.

Offensively, the Bruins were missing open looks from the perimeter while their point-blank shots were rolling off the rim.

But it was on the defensive end where UCLA was exposed. With Cal's DeVon Hardin not suited up for the game, the Bears went with a small line-up with 6'9 Ryan Anderson at center, 6'8 Jamal Boykin at power forward, then and spread the floor in their halfcourt offense.

The wide spacing on the floor helped to negate UCLA's aggressive double-teams and the Bears capitalized with multiple lay-ups off backdoor cuts or open shots from the baseline.

Boykin was the prime benefactor of the open space, he finished the game 8 of 12 for 18 points. He came into the contest averaging just 7.2 points.

The Bruins cut the lead to two off a three-point jumper from Josh Shipp, but then Ryan Anderson scored the final five points of the half to lead the Bears into halftime with a 37-30 advantage. Cal shot 50% in the first half.

Most of the second half was similar to the first with the Bears spreading the floor and the UCLA defense uncharacteristically not able to get any stops. The lead ballooned again to eleven after the opening minutes of the second half.

It wasn't until just under ten minutes remaining in the game did UCLA begin mounting its comeback from...the free throw line as it got into a bonus situation early. The Bruins hit their final 13 of 14 from the foul line to cut into Cal's big lead.

The Bruins knocked it down to two points with 2:37 remaining on two Kevin Love free thrwos. but Cal, a solid free throw shooting team themselves, pushed the lead back to four on foul shots by guard Jerome Randle.

With 31 seconds remaining in the game, the late-game theatrics started. Love took a pass beyond the three=point arc in front of the UCLA bench, and while closely guarded, he ball faked and then took and sunk a three-point jumpshot with 20 seconds left.

California quickly got the ball into Ryan Anderson along the sideline corner but he was quickly doubled by Westbrook and Shipp who knocked the ball out of Anderson's hands.

In the ensuing scramble, Anderson reached out for the ball but knocked it out of bounds with 14 seconds left in the game. Cal Coach Ben Braun argued Anderson was fouled on the play but replays clearly showed there was no foul on the play and that Anderson did indeed touch the ball as it went out of bounds.

The ball was inbounded and Collison took it to the basket but the shot was blocked with the ball going into the hands of Jamal Boykins who happened to be standing out of bounds.

And then the miracle shot.

Shipp, who has been strugglging with his offense the past few games, was the unlikely recepient of a pass to win the game, but indeed he received the ball with six seconds remaining and took the shot that won the game for the Bruins.

Cal inbounded the ball quickly up court but Shipp was there to deflect the ball into the stands. After a lengthy review, the referees decided .7 seconds still remained on the clock. Cal's Patrick Christopher took a desperation 30 footer that sailed short as the buzzer went off.

Shipp finished with 12 points on 5 of 13 shooting including 2 of 8 on three-pointers. He was mobbed by his teammates after his winning shot.

Freshman Kevin Love, playing in perhaps his last game in Pauley Pavilion, led all scorers with 22 points and had 6 rebounds. Westbrook scored 18 points and Darren Collison added 13 points.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had his second consecutive double-double going for 12 points and 10 rebounds.

UCLA shot a sizzling 87% (20-23) from the foul line - a big side-story to the game.

Cal's spread offense, like Texas and USC, was effective against UCLA's aggressive trapping defense. The Bears shot 65% in the second half and 56% field goal shooting for the game. No doubt NCAA tourney teams will be watching tape to find what has been used effectively against the Bruin defense and try to exploit it during postseason play.

But for now, its celebration time and an opportunity to tune-up further for the NCAA tournament with the upcoming Pac-10 conference tournament.

With the win against the Bears, the Bruins (28-3, 16-2) have likely secured a West region assignment in the NCAA tournament as either a No.1 or No.2 seed.

(photo credit: AP)



At Mar 8, 2008, 4:38:00 PM, Anonymous jake said...

WOW WOW WOW ... what an amazing finish to the regular season. I'm still not happy with how they have played the last two games but you certainly can't argue with the results. Not much else to say ... we stole the last 2 games. Scoreboard is scoreboard - but we obviously need to hit the drawing board and tune up for the pac-10 tourney and beyond by working on knocking down open shots and dealing with that spread offense that seem to give us fits.
I know Shipp got the game winner ... but I would give the game ball to Westbrook who took over the game in the middle of the second half that set the stage for the comeback. Man - I hope he sticks around another year - he stills makes some bonehead plays from time to time but is extremely exciting to watch - and I love his aggressiveness. Collison/Love again with strong efforts and for that matter Mbah A Moute had some clutch rebounds/putbacks down the stretch.

At Mar 9, 2008, 12:11:00 AM, Anonymous Don said...

Jake you got it right, when Westbrook and Collison are aggressive, the offense is more dynamic with everyone involved and good things happen... when they dribble out past the three point line, it is stagnant... need to get that aggressive style going throught the games not just when behind... Amazing heart on this team to never give up but need to stop going to the well.

At Mar 9, 2008, 1:48:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

I am BruinFan. I want us to lose in the Pac 10 tny to run the table. We need a frickin wake up call.
I'm sick of feeling "disgusted."
-I'm out

At Mar 9, 2008, 7:43:00 AM, Anonymous j said...

Can we get a schedule for the pac 10 tourny and how it works?

At Mar 9, 2008, 8:29:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

When teams space the floor, Love's lack of quickness is exposed. We are still much better defensively with Mata.

At Mar 9, 2008, 9:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can we get a schedule for the pac 10 tourny and how it works?"

At Mar 11, 2008, 5:29:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

I have been a hard core UCLA fan since 1964, but I gotta tell you that the Bruins got very very lucky in both games. If the refs made the proper calls they would have lost them both. Collison was not fouled by Hill of Stanford and Anderson was bludgeoned by Westbrook/Collison when he lost control of the ball before Shipp's miracle shot. The section of Nell and John Wooden court where these miracles happened belongs in a magic room with the Boston Celtic parquet! Will a Bruin opponent dare ever again to occupy that corner of the hardwood with a game on the line?! This incredibly good fortune cannot and will not last forever. Bruins have to get more offense from Shipp, more consistency on offense overall, because teams will continue to spread the court against them, and they will not be able to get as many stops as they'd like to. Also, they need more offensively off the bench. Zero points from the bench vs. Stanford and 4 vs. Cal! Come on! They oughta be able to get 8-10 ppg out of Aboya/Mata/Keefe.

At Mar 15, 2008, 2:28:00 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

Kevin Love is a awesome talent at this level. I think his lack of quickness will hurt at the next level. He needs to stay and fine tune his defensive skills and work on his over-all game. Collison dribbles to much and needs to exploit with his quickness. His knee is still on his mind. Westbrook should be showcased. He could be the MAN. Mabah and Aboya are nice role players but not much else. Keefe should play before a
Aboya. Mata-Real should play more too.


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