Saturday, December 31, 2005

UC Berkeley 68; UCLA 61

Pretty weak performance by the Bruins this afternoon. They were dominated on the glass, they missed open shots when they really needed to make them, and they were ultimately undone by freshman mistakes at the end.

Berkeley is very long in the interior, and it's tempting to say that the injuries to Hollins and Fey really hurt against a team like Berkeley. But since Hollins and Fey aren't threats offensively, and since they don't really play defense, and since they don't rebound, it's hard to say their absense made a difference. Maybe if the Bruin bigs had been in foul trouble all afternoon, you could make that case.

Shipp looked a little slow, which is to be expected. Coming off of a big injury as he had, it's often the second game where you really feel it. He still contributed, but he and Farmar missed back to back wide open threes from the left baseline with the Bruins trailing that were key misses (Afflalo missed a wide open three minutes later). Despite the poor play from just about everyone except Afflalo and Alfred Aboya (who had a bit of a coming out today), the Bruins still had a chance to win or at least send the game to overtime. Afflalo made a great strip on a penatration by Ayinde Ubaka, only to have Daren Collison get greedy and screw it up. Collison, instead of securing the loose ball, tried to rake the ball to himself as he started down court to start a fast break before he had possession. He never got close enough to the ball, Ayinde got it back, and laid it in for a four point lead, and UCLA never had a chance after that. Trailing by three with under a minute to play, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (who still led the team in rebounding despite grabbing only four who failed to lead the team in rebounding for the first time this season) ran away from the inbounds play when UCLA needed to foul, proving that he still has a few things to learn as well.

The old maxim is that to win the Pac 10, you need to win your home games, and split on the road. UCLA is now already behind the game with this loss, and it doesn't get any easier, with the Arizona schools next, followed by the Washington schools. At the end of the season, when UCLA is watching Berkeley, Arizona (who won at U-W today), or Washington celebrate a conference title, they're going to remember this one.

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