Solid all-around performance out of the Dawgs in UCLA this afternoon.
First thing you’ll notice is the free throw disparity; the Bruins shot 36 to our 15. That’s to be expected a little bit, being on the road, playing against tough teams with good bigs. But still, that’s pretty obscene. Fortunately, we made 12 of ours to not completely crap the bed.
Look a little further at the shortcomings, the Dawgs shot only 4 of 15 from behind the arc. Not ideal, but you know what? There were some big shots when it mattered. IT and Ross hit a couple of daggers very early in the game, and Gant’s at the end really took the air out of the Bruins comeback.
Bottom line, though, the Dawgs shot 50% overall. That’s awesome; we gotta figure out a way to score when we’re not knocking down the 3, and today it happened for us.
As for individual performances, MBA was on the warpath! 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting (and 5 of 6 from the line). We needed every big shot out of our big man, as he almost single-handedly kept us in the game late when the Bruins had the crowd in it. Tack on 10 boards, and you’ve got yourself the Player of the Game.
IT also had a gutty performance. 17 points (6 of 7 from the line in a huge turnaround from his early-season futility), 9 assists, 2 steals and only 2 turnovers. He was epic and continues to amaze with the shots he hits in the paint.
As for the Bruins, even though it didn’t really show up at the foul line, they were in foul trouble from the get-go. Huge key players like Tyler Honeycutt and Joshua Smith, who seemed to have their offense going strong early. Token white bad-ass Reeves Nelson picked up their slack – he was unstoppable no matter who we put on him, showing that random white guys thrive against us for no particular reason whatsoever.
This one was frustrating at times, but the Dawgs had enough big plays in the tank to win down at UCLA for the first time in YEARS. 2-0 in Pac-10 play, 2 big road wins to swing momentum strongly in our favor going forward. If we’re not ranked after this week, there’s something seriously wrong with the AP and Coaches polls.