Saturday, January 07, 2006

UCLA 61: Arizona State 60

Fantastic finshes are becoming the norm in the Pac 10 this season, and Arizona State probably feels like they've seen more than enough of them. After losing on a broken play three pointer against U$C on Thursday, ASU tried to turn the tables on UCLA today. Trailing by 2 with about 12 seconds to go, Bryson Krueger nailed a three pointer that gave ASU the lead. But a few seconds later, Jordan Farmar went the length of the court to toss in the game winning basket with three seconds to play.

This game was pretty ragged all afternoon, with lots of whistles, inconsistent officiating, poor shooting from UCLA, and poor free throw shooting from the Sun Devils. Mind you, I don't think the officiating favored either team, I think it was just bad all around. I defy any of you to explain the difference between a charge and block using only video evidence from that game. Kevin Kruger moved into Josh Shipp and drew a charge. Later, Angounou jumped into Lo Mata, who appeared to be as set as Kruger, and drew a block. Shortly thereafter, Aaron Afflalo drove the basket and jumped into Angounou, who appeared to be more set than both Kruger and Mata, and drew a block (Afflalo also got injured and left the game after that play).

I'm sure everyone was surprised to see that Afflalo led the Bruins in scoring, again, and that LRMAM led the Bruins in rebounding....again. Afflalo didn't get a lot of support offensively, as the team's other big scorers, Shipp and Farmar, combined for only 19. They're aren't going to win very often if they only get 40 from those three guys, but they rebounded well enough today to overcome it, and they played pretty good defense on the perimiter until the final minutes, when Kevin Kruger found his stroke, and Bryson Krueger hit what was almost the winning shot. The Bruins were 1-15 from beyond the arc, and ASU wasn't much better until making their last few.

So to sum up, an ugly game, especially compared to Thursday night, but a hard fought road victory against a team the Bruins need to beat. 3-1 in conference now, with the Washington schools next. The home game against Washington is really going to be key. Win that, and they're still in good shape. Lose that, and they've got a tough road to the conference championship.

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