Thursday, December 04, 2008

Vets Keep It Close But Bruins Still Fall in Texas

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

UCLA kept the game close but couldn't pull it out in Austin as the Texas Longhorns beat the Bruins for the second consecutive year, 68-64, in a Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Classic match-up.

In the team's first road game of the year, the Bruin upperclassmen stepped it up and almost helped the team pull out a win.

On the other hand, perhaps it can be viewed that the Bruin freshmen used this game as a building block for the rest of the season.

Seniors Darren Collison scored a team-high 22 points and Josh Shipp chipped in 15 points to lead the Bruins in scoring. Alfred Aboya also added 7 points plus grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds while junior James Keefe played a solid game recording 8 points on 3 of 4 shooting including 2 of 2 on three pointers.

In contrast the five Bruin freshmen combined for a total of just 3 points 6 rebounds in a total of 48 minutes of play.

UCLA hung tough the entire game as the lead see-sawed throughout the contest. But after six consecutive points by Texas's A.J Abrams, the Longhorns went into halftime with a 38-29 lead.

But the Bruins came storming out in the second half with consecutive jumpers by Keefe, Shipp, and Collison to cut the lead to just five. After another Collison jumper with 13 minutes remaining the Bruins finally took the lead 47-46.

Towards the final minutes of the game the Bruin offense seemed to stagnate with way too much one-on-one play specifically too much dribbling by Darren Collison. In the final critical five minutes of the game, the Bruins were outscored 8-2.

Jrue Holiday struggled the entire game offensively and it appeared a more prudent move would have been to replace him with Michael Roll down the stretch especially when the Bruins needed a critical three to tie the game. Holiday finished shooting 1 of 6 from the field and 0 of 3 on three-pointers.

In his defense, Holiday was given the tough assignment of guarding A.J Abrams who ended up torching him for 31 points. A good tough lesson for Holiday.

With the loss the Bruins now fall to 4-2 on the season. They will host Cal State Northridge on Sunday night at Pauley Pavilion.

(photo credit: AP)


At Dec 4, 2008, 1:28:00 PM, Anonymous deeth said...

thanks BBR for quick update... saw the game on TV... and it was actually a great game... at least in the 2nd half... offense was actually much better when Collison is aggressively attacking the basket... dribble and pass that's what Memphis does and our team can really do since we have players who can shoot from PF to PG...
Aboya was sick... played a great game, if he can keep it up... he will be great this year.... our freshmen looked like freshmen... holiday took a couple ill-advised shot... lost the ball at a key moment when the game was tied and gave up the lead... as of not we're probably a good sweet 16 team... for us to make the next big step those freshies need to grow up... and QUICKLY..
and great job howland for opening up the offense... not running those set plays but just pick and rolls and screen and back cuts worked so much better for this team... can't wait till conference games start

At Dec 4, 2008, 2:09:00 PM, Anonymous Jono said...

Holiday: wasn't he also Gatorade Player of the Year just like Kevin Love? How is he so much worse though? I had really high expectations for him. I thought he'd come right in and produce double digit points in every game just like Love did, but I have been very disappointed. I don't understand! Maybe he is just finding his groove? Hopefully he will find it soon...
Shipp: He played better this game, more consistent. However, I still consider him a weak link. His defense is not as good as Collison's, and he is very inconsistent on shooting. I know he considers himself a shooter as he always jacks up a lot of shots, but he definitely need to be more efficient. His percentage isn't very high.
The freshmen need to step it up and learn the college game. I know it is still early in the season, so I don't exactly expect TOO much out of them, but they WERE heralded as the #1 recruiting class.
Also, what was up with the fouls today? UCLA committed way too many fouls way too early in the 2nd half. Fouls seem to be our weak spot this year.
Aboya is doing a nice job. Props to him. We definitely need his rebounding skills to make up for us losing our top 3 rebounders from last year.

At Dec 4, 2008, 2:21:00 PM, Anonymous DorianGraysBlues said...

I've posted this before, although i dont think it was in BBR but, here goes again. All the freshmen will improve, but...The freshman lights will go on one by one. First jrue and then lee. If the light comes on for either jerime or gordon then we will go far in the ncaa's. Morgan might be miscast with a run and gun team, I'm not sure. At the earliest, the light will go on for him in the ncaa's. That seems to be the pattern with howland and big men.
I know it hurts to lose but, just keep in mind that we will be the team that no one wants to play once march rolls around. Get it rolls? in michael.
remember you heard it here first.

At Dec 4, 2008, 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous JW said...

I was dissapointed in Holiday also, but dont get so down on him, dont forget: in the game against texas last year Love didnt have an amazing game, he wasnt fully developed yet - he wasnt even in the game down the stretch! This must have been tough for Holiday to play with experienced guys in a hostile environment. This next month will help him loosen up.
Do we still have any shot at a no. 1 seed in the tourney?

At Dec 4, 2008, 4:10:00 PM, Anonymous Leroy said...

NO shot at ALL for a #1 seed. In fact, I think a #2 seed is out of the question too. Best we could hope for is a #3. Reason being... unless we beat ND, we will have NO non-conf quality wins this year. And with a weak Pac-10, won't get much love for wins there from the committee. If you look at the box scores, the Pac-10 has lost all major non-conf games (but usually only by a couple points). DANG... oh well. I predict we will be a 4 seed.

At Dec 4, 2008, 4:10:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

the ultimate fan missed this game....thanks for the recap....not sure where to start...Holiday disappeared huh?? Not worried...I thought we would lose, glad it was close. We don't have a lockdown defender, inside presence, and are full of youth. I'm looking forward to Pac-10 play too. Howland is the man. He can only do so much with this team. I just don't understand how we can be pre-season #4, losing 3 studs to the NBA and being so young....Look at the column of recruits next yr...that's nice. Oh, and b4 the season BruinFan said Holiday is a 2 yr plyr. I'll keep the faith.
Well, I'm going to the football game Sat. and bringing a blindfold...I hope our QB makes it out alive....
Cheers Bruin Nation. No need to panic. We will win the Pac-10

At Dec 4, 2008, 5:10:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

why not a #1 or at least #2 seed if we win out Pac 10? even if pac 10 is weak, it's still a top 4 conference behind Big East, ACC, and Big 12, there's no way there will be 2 #1 seeds from any of those conference since they are more than likely to beat up on one another and hurt themselves... so whose there to challenge us for the 4th #1 seed? Gonzaga? Memphis? Tennessee? Duke? #2 big east team?
and it's true like most of u guys are saying it's just a matter of time before the light goes on for the freshies... but then to put us over the hump are the oldies... just like with bozeman and hollins in the first final 4, so it will be aboya, DC, shipp, keefe, and would i say drago who will put us over the top

At Dec 4, 2008, 5:38:00 PM, Anonymous alan said...

I still have faith in this team. I think a four point loss to a team like Texas on the road is definitely something to build off of.
We lost to Texas in Pauley Pavilion last year and ended up in the Final Four.
We should still win the Pac-10, and I think that is worth at least a 2 or 3 seed in the tourney.
But on the negative side of things, it's concerning to me that basically our 6th man, our man off the bench with the most minutes is Dragovic.
He's getting 18+ minutes off the bench, more than Roll, more than the freshmen, and he has bad numbers all around. He's a supposed 3-point shooter who actually hasn't shown that he can shoot 3-pointers at a good rate. He's a 6'8 guy who doesn't rebound or defend well.
So in essence, our first guy off the bench is just a warm body to throw onto the floor?
Sure, they're freshmen, but I hope Drew Gordon and maybe even Bobo Morgan will eat into his minutes soon. Let Gordon and Morgan be the big warm bodies off the bench, or let Keefe eat up some more of Dragovic's minutes (Keefe only 21 minutes to Dragovic's 18).
If Dragovic improves drastically, I'll admit I'm wrong, but can someone explain to me this situation?

At Dec 4, 2008, 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous Robwash said...

A "quality" loss. The team needs a little more grit. I'm glad to see us playing some tough games early on. I think this loss will actually give the team confidence and help us grow faster. I am a little worried about Morgan. Sloooow. Maybe they can have him chase chickens or greased pigs.

At Dec 4, 2008, 11:52:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

drago is in because he is one bigger than roll and can play the PF position, bobo is out of shape, gordon is raw... plus even though he's inconsistent, he is still a 3 point threat who can spread the floor which works well for our team right now with DC's penetrate and dish... i think drago is a fine player, just lack confidence and just not in rhythem when he shoots, he passes on shots he should take and shoots the shots that he should pass.. maybe it's a bball IQ thing

At Dec 4, 2008, 11:56:00 PM, Anonymous BNR said...

We are not a top 15 team when you are giving major minutes to Dragovich. He is Soooooooo unathletic. His offense is not worth his liability on defense. They were going at him at key moments in the game and scoring every time. Holiday looked like a 4 year player, not 1 and done. Aboya was solid, Keefe played well and rebounded. Shipp just isn't very athletic either. Very slow. Like to see Lee play more. Roll too.

At Dec 4, 2008, 11:59:00 PM, Anonymous Bruinfan05 said...

I was very happy with the game last night. After watching the Michigan game I did not think we belonged in the top ten. We do, and the season is very early...all those talking about seeds are as stupid as the guy on espn who seeds the teams in August.
Did everyone forget how Love looked early in the season last year. He was better than our freshman now, but he was a bit of a mess till about 15 games in.
"Jono" you are wrong to jump all over Jrue. All night I saw him get open jump and then decide to pass. He is just a little gun shy at this point. There is nothing wrong with will come and the place for him to really develop is not against a Texas team less than ten games into the season. This kid will begin to sparkle when we get into pac 10 play.

At Dec 5, 2008, 12:23:00 AM, Anonymous Wyatt said...

Things just aren't gelling the way they need to. This team needs freshmen to contribute; otherwise, it's just last year's second team plus DC, which isn't going anywhere.
No way we see a #1 seed without running the table through March. More than two more losses and we'll be looking at #3 seed at best.
I wouldn't mind seeing all five freshmen play all 40 minutes against CSUN this weekend. They need the court time, and if they can't beat Northridge--even as freshmen--this season's as good as over anyway.

At Dec 5, 2008, 12:25:00 AM, Anonymous Justin said...

I'm surprised nobody has commented on Shipp missing the front end of a one-and-one when we were down 3 with 15 seconds to play. I was FURIOUS! Do you think Collison would have missed that free throw?
I continually feel let down by Shipp. I don't think he's a good defender (yet he somehow was awarded the job of defending one of Texas' best offensive threats). He has always allowed his head to get the best of him. Last year he become overconfident after having a couple big shooting games, and started to think he was a three point shooter. When the shots stopped going in, he lost all confidence in himself for the rest of the season. You can tell this year that he still has not regained that confidence.
I've seen Shipp pass up numerous wide open 3's only to dribble drive and get stuck in traffic or put up some off balance fadaway jumper. I think he is a better offensive threat when he is driving to the basket, since he is such a good finisher, but he needs to have the confidence to take the open 3. I want him to take those shots!
Missing those critical free throws at the end probably cost us the game. That is unacceptable.
On a more positive note, I think this was our best game to date. Collison just looks like a complete stud. Games like this remind us that freshmen can just be, well, freshmen. We were truly spoiled by the incredible freshmen class last year.

At Dec 5, 2008, 1:33:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said... is the crystal ball...
Holiday comes back and we get rid of Drag...

At Dec 5, 2008, 2:15:00 AM, Anonymous it's ok to live in oregon and root for ucla said...

A few thoughts:
UCLA actually staged their comeback with numerous freshman on the court. Though it doesn't show up in the final stats, they did add something while they were out there. Anderson and Lee played with confidence, Gordon looked liked he had a little bit of a presence, but Bobo didn't look so great. Slow and lost. Wish Howland would let the them get a little more time, especially if things aren't going awful.
Shipp should get fired up more often. He actually looked like he cared during the second half. He did a decent job defending (give him some credit!) and made some creative shots. He should never be the second option, however. Maybe the 3rd or 4th option? And the free-throws? Come on, he's got to make that with the game on the line. He was very much part of the fray in the last minute-and-a-half which probably kept us in the game, but that fact that nothing went in was so disappointing. They can't go that long without scoring and expect to win.
I wonder when Howland will go with Holiday as the point, and Collison as shooter? I understand that Collison is always in control, but it just feels stagnant. Holiday definitely needs to get better with his decision-making but that should come with time. The kid has so much promise. And the bad game last night? Not a big deal. He was involved and playing hard. Never saw him hanging his head, never saw him give up.
I see so many positives in Keefe's game (3-pt. shooting, interior shots, hustle, rebounding, OK defense) and so little in Drag's game (long-range shooter only). I guess we'll see how things shape up as the season progresses.
Overall, it's disappointing that they lost, but great that they were in the game most of the time. Not bad for an early December trip to Texas. Bring on some more playing time and temper those expectations...

At Dec 5, 2008, 2:41:00 AM, Anonymous lk said...

Remember Bruin Fans, this is still a very young team. Last night was the next step (1st big one) in the progression of this team. As a previous comment said, we lost to Texas last year, and still made the final 4. However, I'm not saying that will be the case for sure this year. Texas did what they were supposed to do, win on their home court being the higher ranked team. Drag was in the game a little more than Roll because we needed bigger guys in the game to match the Longhorns and their taller line up. To allow the young talent to get better, you have to play them, this was a great game for our freshman to get some experience. Our schedule is what I would like to discuss, we need to play tougher non-conference games. After Texas, we play a bunch of cream puffs until Pac-10 play. We will suffer what U$C football has had to deal with, a lower RPI Ranking will not help our NCAA seeding this year. Gonzaga looks to be the early favorite for a West #1 seed, while I think our beloved Bruins most likely will end up a 3 or 4 seed this year. It all depends on how the young guys progress this season....Go Bruins!

At Dec 5, 2008, 2:59:00 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

Ben Howland needs to realize that this year's freshman class isn't going to have the same impact as previous years freshman (i.e. Kevin love, Luc Richard, Affalo, Farmar, etc..) He needs to give more playing time to experienced guys like Roll, who in my opinion had a great game against Miami(OH) a couple weeks back, and Dragovic, who's a good shooter (better than Keefe). He does see decent time, but not enough. These freshman, including Jrue Holiday are quite raw and aren't ready for the college spot light. But don't get me wrong, this freshman class is great, the best in the nation, but it'll take some time when/if they have a similar impact as other freshman in years past.
I think Howland should go with a starting five of PG Collison, SG Roll, SF Shipp, PF Keefe, C Aboya.. and use Holiday as he used Westbrooke in his freshman year (energy/combo guard).

At Dec 5, 2008, 4:32:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

I agree with Tim on the starting five idea.
We are all over the place with our comments here, but on a hostile court it showed who had the poise last night and it wasn't our freshman.
The value of KLove and him not being here just increases every game. Last year we had him and Mata as back up. I think Mata would run circles around Morgan right now.
Holiday looked so bewildered last night that I agree with the comment that 4 years in Westwood looks beeter suited for him.
Though we have a lot of talent it is extremely raw, so I think we will be in a fight for even the PAC-10 title.

At Dec 5, 2008, 7:01:00 AM, Anonymous mIKEY said...

dRAG NEEDS to be out there. he's a great shooter. BNR you are an idiot. I'm ashamed you are a fan. I like Tim's starting 5.

At Dec 5, 2008, 8:20:00 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

I saw the game. The team will be fine.It's a long season. Shipp should be replaced by Roll. Roll will at least try to play D. Shipp's game is better suited as a back-up.He doesn't have any real skills that are consistant or deserving of a starting spot.His defense is the worst.
Collison still dribbles to much with no clue as to how to run the aquad. If he's making his move off of the dribble fine, if not he needs to pass when guys are open.
Drag is a good shooter but he's to worried on the defensive end. He should let his offense be his defense.
Drue Holiday had a freshman game. Trust me he learned a lot and will be a force to deal with as a result of his below average play.
The other freshman will start to develop with more playing time.
Keefe is the key. He is underrated. He should be the go to guy in the paint.

At Dec 5, 2008, 9:09:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

All Bruin fans should be very encouraged about the Texas game. To go to Austin as an underdog and take it down to the wire was a great accomplishment. This Texas team is as good as any team in the nation except the Tar Heels. Much to build on from the game. This game will be seen as a critical turning point in the season when folks reflect back on the season in April.

At Dec 5, 2008, 9:53:00 AM, Anonymous Robwash said...

Some of the comments are getting really funny. Folks, these kids are exactly The freshmen have a lot to adjust to, like simply not living at home. Playing in front of a big time hostile crowd, being an underdog, sleeping on the road..these are all big deals. This is a very talented team. But it's going to take time, as it always will turning a bunch of young kids into a TEAM. Next years class will have the same struggles. We have a great coach. This team will improve week by week. If we play Texas in the tournament, they had better be a whole lot better than they were last night if they expect to win, because we certainly will be.

At Dec 5, 2008, 9:57:00 AM, Anonymous Robwash said...

By the way, isn't this pre-conference schedule a whole lot more exciting than last years? I thought I was going to slip into a coma. Better to go toe-to-toe with great teams on the road now. It's great if you win, but still very useful if you lose.

At Dec 5, 2008, 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Well put Willis and Robwash! Much basketball still to play!
Was glad SUC lost but it scared me that they almost beat 6th ranked Oklahoma. That griffin kid is a beast and they needed every bit of him to outlast the Condoms.
I'll be either drowning my sorrows at the 35er in Old Town Pasadena tomorrow night or buying drinks for the whole place pending on the Gridiron Rivalry Game at the Rose Bowl!

At Dec 5, 2008, 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous BHT said...

I agree with the more recent posts here. We should really be encouraged by this game. We looked like we are light years better than when we played Michigan. It looked like it was going to be a long year, but the two weeks of practice and the practice-game against FIU have really made a big difference. We have the rest of December to practice and play easy teams to get ready for the Pac-10 schedule. If we improve over the next few weeks as much as we did over the last two, we will be in great shape. The freshmen will come along and slowly be integrated into the system. I remember many saying Love was a disappointment at this point in the season. He was not even playing down the stretch in games. Don't talk about putting Roll in the starting lineup. Jrue will be our second best player at the end of the year. He just had an off game (he was awesome against FIU).
This game just shows how great Ben Howland and his system are. He basically took last year's team without K-Love, Westbrook, LRMM, and Mata and went toe-to-toe with a top-10 team on the road. I am convinced he could get to the sweet-16 with Oregon St's team right now. Just wait to see how good we are once the freshmen really start to learn the system and contribute on a nightly basis.
We will lose 2-3 games in the Pac-10 and maybe Notre Dame. We will enter the Pac-10 tourney at 26-5 and be the #1 or #2 seed out west in the NCAA's. Everone should just calm down and be really encouraged by last night's performance.
And I keep hearing everyone worrying about the fact we do not have a low post scoring presence. Just remember we went to the Final 4 with Hollins, LRMM and Mata in 2006 and Mata, LRMM, and Aboya in 2007. Surely Aboya, Keefe, Gordon and Bobo measure up to those other groups. All is good in Bruinland.

At Dec 5, 2008, 3:25:00 PM, Anonymous Tim said...

Yeah, we definately need to give UCLA alot of credit for keeping the game close and even leading during parts of the game especially on the road against one of the best teams in the nation. The 3 seniors each played a good game. What they need now is consisentency, Collison and Shipp need to be consistent scorers and creators. Aboya needs to continue to bring a presence in the paint. And we need one more guy to step up; I really think that guy could be Roll with his much more consistent 3pt shot and with his ability to space the floor for Collison to drive and Aboya to grab offensive rebounds.

At Dec 5, 2008, 6:20:00 PM, Anonymous alan said...

yes, wanted to reiterate and agree with all those saying that this loss was a great game to build off of, and reason to be optimistic
wanted to disagree with those saying Holiday doesn't belong in the starting line-up. as a freshman, does everyone realize that he's leading the team in FG percentage? The kid is shooting 57% on FGs, even after his terrible shooting game against Texas (a game in which he was obviously focused on keeping up with a savvy upperclassman scorer in Abrams). He's also chipping in 1.5 steals a game. He's doing this in the first 6 games of his college career. I look forward to his play improving during Pac-10 play.
And I agree with those who think Keefe should see more playing time. To repeat what I said earlier, I don't see why Keefe is only playing 2.6 more minutes a game than Dragovic.
Which brings us back to Dragovic. Someone said, "dRAG NEEDS to be out there. he's a great shooter."
Can someone bring me proof that he's a great shooter? Drag shot 34% on FGs last year, 24% on 3-pt shots.
How about this year? 39% on FGs and 24% on 3-point shots. This isn't anything personal, I'm just wondering why he's getting the most minutes off the bench for us.

At Dec 5, 2008, 11:25:00 PM, Anonymous Tim said...

Alan, I'm not saying Jrue Holiday isn't a great player and i'm not disagreeing that he leads the team in those stats, but during last 5 minutes of the game Holiday had several wide open 3's, which he passed on (and UCLA needed a 3 to the tie the game). Holiday does not trust his shot, when it matters most (and you also have to remember that he went 8-8 from the field and had 3 steals against FUI).
As for Dragvoic, the only reason he plays as many minutes as Keefe is because there is no other, relatively big man that can produce any type of numbers on the bench. Also if you look at his numbers before the game he shot 42% from the field, I'm not saying he's a good player, but he's one of the few opitions UCLA has.


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