Friday, January 26, 2007

UCLA 62; UC Berkeley 46

Another slow start from the Bruins. They seem to have gotten into the habit of taking their opponents best shots in the first ten minutes before letting things settle down, at which point the Bruins take control and don't look back. That's not unexpected. Teams get up to face the Bruins, as they should. When you're a top five team, you have to expect teams to come out fired up. To their credit, the Bruins never seem to look rattled. When Ryan Anderson hit a 30 foot jumper while the shot clock expired, or when he went he lost the Bruins defense and was rewarded with an uncontested dunk, the Bruins didn't panic. They play a steady game, at their pace, and eventually they wear their opponents down and come out on top. They did it against WSU. They did it against Arizona. They did it against ASU. They did it against U$C.

They have a knack for knowing when to pounce, and when they found themselves down by eight points roughly 10 minutes into the game, they went on a 7-0 run over the next few minutes, and ended up outscoring Cal 20-8 over the final 10 minutes for a four point half time lead. They continued the trend in the second half, eventually stretching the lead out to 15 points before calling off the dogs with five minutes to go.

Aaron Afflalo was yet again the Bruins' best player, scoring 25 points, with 20 coming in the second half. On the defensive end, he gave Ayinde Umbaka fits (unfortunately for Ubaka, an intestinal virus hampered him as well), holding him to 0 points on 0-8 shooting and only two assists. Josh Shipp was the only other Bruin in double figures, adding 12 points, coming mostly on twisting, driving layups and put backs. LRMAM, Lo Mata, and Al Aboya cleaned up the glass, with 11, 8, and 8 rebounds respectively, with 10 of those 27 boards coming at the offensive end.

On the other side of the floor, Cal got decent performances from freshman Ryan Anderson and sophomore Theo Robertson, who finished with sixteen points, many coming on uncontested dribble drives from the perimeter, as the Bruin D got caught too far away from the basket a time or two.

Another solid performance, with the game never in doubt after the first 20 minutes. They're guaranteed a split on a tough road trip, and head to Palo Alto on Sunday to attempt the sweep against Trent Harris' Cardinal, led by the shot blocking Lopez twins, Brook and Robin. Stanford hammered U$C last night by 15 on the strength of Brook Lopez's triple double (18 points, 11 rebounds, and an astounding 12 blocked shots). If they can close the Bruins down on the interior, it could be a long night. UCLA is a guard oriented team, but that doesn't mean they're perimeter oriented. They'll need to get to the basket to be effective, and that could be tough against a team that blocked an incredible 19 shots last night against the Trojans. On the other hand, Stanford turned the ball over 20 times last night, and if they can't take care of the basketball, the Bruins will look to get out in transition, and that could be a key. Maples is always a tough place to play, but getting a sweep up north would be a nice step towards another Pac 10 championship.

No comments: