Bruins Survive RedHawk Scare, Advance to Semis
By Bruin Basketball Report
UCLA faced an early season challenge Thursday night facing a veteran Miami (OH) team in the second round of the 2K Sports Classic. In a defensive battle, the Bruins outlasted the RedHawks, 64-59, before 7,802 concerned fans at Pauley Pavilion.
A senior-laden team, Miami was confident, well coached and played a strong hard-nosed game. Guard Michael Bramos scored 22 points and almost single-handedly led an upset but the Bruins superior talent and homecourt were just too much to overcome.
Darren Collison scored 16 points including 8 points down the stretch to lead the Bruins. Josh Shipp also chipped in 16 as UCLA improved to 2-0 on the season.
Freshman Jrue Holiday picked up two early fouls and was never able to get in gear and was not a factor in the game. He was removed with five minutes remaining in the game after committing two turnovers. Holiday finished with just 5 points.
Michael Roll helped pick up the slack by hitting 3 of 5 three-pointers and finishing with 9 points in 22 minutes. Roll shot with confidence and appears to be fully recovered from his foot injury.
Miami did a good job in the second half spreading the floor and negating UCLA's help defense. RedHawk guards Kenny Haynes and Michael Bramos took the Bruin guards off the dribble and found open teammates on the wing. Miami shot 50% in the second half and 48.8% for the game.
Offensively, UCLA struggled again with its inside game.
James Keefe played another subpar game, finishing with 3 points on 1 of 3 shooting and missing another easy layup. The junior is playing with a lack of confidence and its showing on both ends of the court. Keefe had just 3 rebounds in 24 minutes. He'll need to step forward soon as the Bruins lack veteran depth up front.
Senior center Alfred Aboya did another yeoman's job in the paint, sitting picks and disrupting offenses with his activity, but his 6 points and 6 rebounds paired with Keefe's minute contributions will not be enough production for UCLA when it faces teams with even more talent than they've faced.
Its not time to panic in Westwood yet, but a clear warning bell has been sounded.
With an unproductive inside game and five freshmen playing major roles, UCLA will be vulnerable in the early going.
The freshmen are extremely talented but they will be inconsistent as they learn how to play at the Division I level.
Post men Drew Gordon and J'mison Morgan played just a combined 10 minutes against Miami. UCLA will need these two to gain more playing time and experience especially before Pac-10 play starts much less NCAA tournament time.
While Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson have shown glimpses of brilliance over the past few games it has been matched equally by evidence of uncertain play and inconsistency.
There will be growing pains. UCLA fans will need to be patient.
Next week the Bruins will face Michigan at New York's Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the tournament. Wolverine coach John Beilein always plays Ben Howland teams tough. If UCLA advances past Michigan it will face either No. 8 Duke or Southern Illinois in the championship game.
(photo credit: AP)
Labels: Game Summaries