Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oregon 57; UCLA 69

Well, that was a little more like it. The big difference between this game and the Stanford game was the Bruins came out with a sense of urgency at the beginning of the second half. On Sunday, the Cardinal went in down by 12, but came out and controlled the game from the beginning of the second half, and the Bruins could never stop the bleeding. Tonight, UCLA came out and scored the first nine points of the second half, opening up an 18 point lead that they would never relinquish. Oregon got as close as nine points following a UCLA turnover and a Josh Shipp botched dunk, but the Bruins responded by scoring eight of the next ten points, and never looked back.

Four UCLA starters finished in double figures, as they utilized a balanced attack against a small opponent. Aaron Afflalo led the way with 17, while Collison added 12, Shipp 11. But the player of the game for the Bruins was probably LRMAM, who had his best game in a while, with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He also played excellent defense. Marty Leunen had 18 points in the game at Euguene. The Bruins defense cut that in half tonight, and Malik Hairston, missing from the first tilt, was vitually a non-factor with eight points and three rebounds.

Both teams run the floor so well defensively that transition wasn't really a big factor. On top of that, UCLA had a large enough second half lead that when the opportunity to run presented itself, UCLA often wisely pulled the ball back out. For a game that featured a lot of half court sets, the Bruins shot a blazing 57%, holding Oregon to only 37%. That was the difference.

So for the moment, the Bruins are all alone at the top of the conference, a place they'll likely be going into next Wednesday's game against U$C. They currently sit one game ahead of $C, Oregon, and Washington State, who delivered another blow to the mildcats tonight in Tucson. I think the Cats will rebound on Saturday against Washington, mostly because Washington isn't that good, but lose that one, and U of A could drop below .500 in the Pac 10.

*Note: stats are based on preliminary box score, which is probably inaccurate, and subject to change.

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