Collison Leads Bruins To Victory In Season Opener
By Bruin Basketball Report
Senior Darren Collison scored a team-high 19 points to lead No.4 ranked UCLA to an 82-58 win over Prairie View A&M in the team's home opener and first round of the 2K Sports Classic.
Collison, a preseason All-American selection, did most of his damage in the second-half finishing 6 of 9 from the field including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. The senior point-guard also finished with a team-high 4 assists.
Freshmen Jrue Holiday and Malcolm Lee also impressed on offense. Holiday did most of his damage from outside and finished with 11 points. Malcolm Lee demonstrated his open court prowess and ball handling skills by dashing through the court for 12 points. Lee also continued to show his ability to rebound by finishing with 6 rebounds.
Another frosh, Drew Gordon, was instant energy whenever he was inserted in the line-up. Gordon was a perfect 3 of 3 from the field including a couple of electrifying dunks and a game-high 8 rebounds. He helped to control the paint using his speed and activity to disrupt the Panther's offensive flow.
UCLA was in control for the entire contest. The Bruins closed the first half on a 31-11 run to take a 38-19 lead into the locker room. UCLA also played stellar defense holding the Panthers to just 22.7% field goal shooting
The Bruin second-team of freshmen J'mison Morgan, Gordon, Lee, Jerime Anderson, and junior Michael Roll played with energy and helped to extend the lead in the first half.
UCLA came out strong to start the second half and built a 27-point midway through with the scoring of Darren Collison who led the run with 7 points to open the half.
With the game seemingly in hand, UCLA Coach Ben Howland inserted the second team again - except this time with mixed results as the Panthers made a run and cut the lead to just 14 points with 4:53 left in the game.
The Bruin second unit started committing turnovers, much of it the result of not being able to break the Panthers full-court press. Jerime Anderson did not play well during this stretch, committing 6 turnovers.
But then Howland went back to Collison who was put back into the game after another Anderson turnover. The senior scored 7 points and made two steals to help push the lead back to 20 and seal the victory.
The Bruins won this game with superior talent and a huge advantage on the boards, outrebounding Prairie View A&M 42-22 that resulted in 10 more field goal attempts by the Bruins.
UCLA was a bit sloppy, likely a symptom of early season action, committing 23 turnovers. However, they also forced 27 turnovers.
The Bruins used its size advantage to work the boards, but their low-post offensive options were still just limited to freshman J'mison Morgan.
Although Morgan was just 2 of 2 from the field, he was the only Bruin to score off the low blocks on set plays. All other inside scoring was off drives from the perimeter or rebound put backs. UCLA's inside scoring continues to be a problem and something the team will need to address quickly.
Forward James Keefe did not play a particularly strong game. Although he grabbed 6 rebounds and scored 7 points, considering he was playing against an undersized Panthers team, Keefe did not provide the team with toughness and defensive presence the Bruins need from his power forward spot.
Moreover, Alfred Aboya still resembles more of a good role player rather than a starter for a top 5 basketball program. Again, the Bruins will need to address their low post needs either through improved play by their returning players or more minutes from their blossoming low-post freshmen.
Senior Josh Shipp played just 23 minutes, 10 minutes in the second-half, as a result of a tweaked ankle he suffered earlier at practice on Tuesday. Shipp still finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals.
Nikola Dragovic was officially suspended for Wednesday's game against Prairie View A&M due to his arrest for misdemeanor battery over the weekend. Dragovic is expected to return for the team's next game.
With the win on Wednesday, the Bruins will face Miami (Ohio) on Thursday, a 70-66 victor over Weber State in the other first-round match-up. Miami (Ohio) won its game on a last second 3-point shot by guard Kenny Hayes.
(photo credit: AP)
Labels: Game Summaries