Monday, January 01, 2007

Dominance - Washington 74; UCLA 96

One early trend for the Bruins seems to be that they play down to their competition in games against non-marquee opponents. But in a matchup with more hype, they simply dominate their opposition. Such was the case against Michigan, and such was the case yesterday against 14th ranked Washington. The Bruins took the lead from the outset, forced turnover after turnover, most of which led to easy baskets, and put Washington in a hole from which they'd never see daylight.

Washington was able to hang around most of the first half, occasionally cutting the lead to around four, at which point the Bruins would run the lead back out to nine, and there were times that UCLA looked in danger of losing the lead, but with just under three minutes to go in the first half, they scored the last nine points of the first half, and the first six points of the second half for a 15-0 run that all but put the game away.

The Huskies responded with a zone defense that gave the Bruins trouble at times, but timely shots from Mike Roll, who finished with 15 points, and James Keefe brought Washington out the zone, and UCLA took over from there, adding another 12-0 run that slammed the door.

Aaron Afflalo played the game of his life, pouring in 20 in the first half, 27 for the game, while adding 8 assists and five rebounds. In addition, he hit all of the big shots when UCLA needed a shot in the arm. Darren Collison added 15, and almost had more assists (12) than points. In all, UCLA finished with an astounding 29 assists. Just Shipp finished with 13 points in limited time due to his sprained ankle, while LRMAM and Lo Mata each added eight more.

If this is how the Bruins are going to play against big time opponents, it's going to be a great year. Now they just need to come out with a little more fire against teams like Washington State. The next test is at Oregon on Thursday. Mac Court is really a brutal place to play, and the Bruins have yet to play a true road game, unless you really want to count Chaminade. How they approach that game will say a lot about their season.

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