Friday, January 25, 2008

UCLA - 80; Oregon - 75


Well, we learned this. Oregon students are stupid. They pissed off someone with the ability to really do them in. Kevin Love went for 24 point and 18 rebounds while the piece of shit Oregon fans gave him nothing but vulgarities, apparently oblivious to the fact that their coach doesn't know how to recruit without Phil Knight. Darren Collison added a career high 22 points, along with six assists against one turnover. Russell Westbrook added 15 of his own along with seven rebounds, and a block of center Maarty Leunen.

Yet the biggest plays of the night came from unheralded Nikola Dragovic, a shooter who hasn't found his shot, and hasn't been able to play strong enough defense to crack Ben Howland's regular rotation. In the game only because of injuries to LRMAM and Lo Mata-Real, and foul trouble from James Keefe and Alfred Aboya, Dragovic hit a pick and pop three pointer with 3:21 to go and the Bruins trailing by four. To the casual observer, it looked like an important shot at an important time. But to the discriminating Bruins fan, it was a huge three from a guy who so far really only has one skill, and even that has been debatable. It was the type of shot that make you cringe, because you know it's a huge momentum swing if he makes it, and possibly a back breaker if he misses it. But it rattled home, and as things turned out, it was a back breaker. Oregon, coming off two Leunen free throws, wouldn't score again until the game was all but over. Part of the reason was a big Dragovic rebound just a minute after his three pointer.

Kevin Love survived the classless and oh so clever (Love's a pussy? Really?) Oregon fans, and basically made the Oregon front line his collective bitch, equaling the offensive output of Leunen and Joevan Catron, while dominating both on the glass (18 rebounds against 11 combined), and was never in foul trouble. Booed every time he touched the ball, he sent the home crowd home very disappointed. Oh, and he did that without Mata-Real, and without LRMAM, two stalwarts in the UCLA frontcourt. He was awesome, and in what may be his only game ever at Mac Court, he earned this win.

Russell Westbrook brought himself back to down to the right level. After trying to make the highlight reel on every possession against U$C, he settled down tonight, made big shots when the Bruins needed him to, and took the ball to the hole on the basket that gave UCLA the lead for good.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Josh Shipp. The numbers are uninspiring: 2-8 from the field, three rebounds, seven points (along with six assists). But honestly, I'm a little surprised he took eight shots. Sometimes you're not on your game, or your opponent is focused on taking you out of the game. And in those situations, the best thing you can do is keep yourself from forcing things. That's not easy to do when you're often the team's offensive focal point. But Shipp let the game come to him. He didn't try to make himself the story. When a leader like Shipp isn't a factor, and UCLA wins a close game, you know they didn't do it in spite of him. You know he let his teammates do what they needed to do to win.

Quite a show of resiliency tonight, especially after Oregon had started to separate a bit, taking a seven point lead with under eleven minutes to play. All in all a great win for the Bruins, and with awful OSU on tap for the weekend, the Bruins are looking for a second consecutive road sweep, the home loss to the women of troy being their only conference blemish.

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