For a while tonight it was looking like same old story for this year's UCLA Bruins. Howland's Bruins were stumbling, bumbling away heading towards what appeared to be another frustrating night at Pauley. With about 11:46 left in the second half, Bruins fell behind by a score of 46-54 (that's right by 8 points) on our own home court. Then all on a sudden our guys locked down on the Rams, figuring out how to play the old school Howland defense (at least that's what I could make out of the atrocious, choppy online feed). Bruins went on a 24-7 run over a period of 8+ mins to take a 71-61 lead with 2:45 left in the game. The final score was 75-63 for UCLA (now with a record of 4-7) over an 8-4 Colorado State team, which to date stands out at the guttiest win of this Howland coached Bruin team.
Can't offer a lot of analysis and commentary on this game tonight considering most of us following it away from Pauley were doing it via a sorry online feed, slow SBN platform (our apologies for all the weirdness but the tech team is working through it), and the game tracker. It looked like we fell behind early on because of extremely sloppy ball handling by our backcourt. Malcolm Lee turned the ball over 6 times while Anderson did it on occasisons, combining for 11 of our team's 19 turnovers. However, we were able to overcome the sloppiness thanks to our defensive aggression and also clutch FT (18 for 23) down the stretch.
The player of the game tonight - you guys ready for this? - I think was Nikola Dragovic. Fresh off his court appearance Dragovic put together probably his most consistent game of the season scoring a team high 17 points, pulling in 7 rebounds, and making all of his freethrows (including 3 straight in clutch situation when he was fouled on a 3 point attempt in second half) tonight. He was also smart in his shot selection tonight picking his spots from the 3 point line. Reeves Nelson had another big game in his young freshman season chipping in with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Some quick additional thoughts after the jump.I mentioned above how Lee and Anderson were terribly sloppy tonight which played a huge part in our poor start. Lee still finished with 16 points but he had poor shooting night connecting on 4 of his 11 shot attempts. I think Jerime even though picked it later in the second half had another below average performance as our starting point guard looking lost, tentative and frankly not making very good decisions with the ball.
I didn't see much from Honeycutt tonight. Lot of that has to do with not being able to watch the game well because of the online feed. Same way can't really make any conclusions on Bobo even though he looked lost in the only possession I got to watch without the feed freezing up. On the other hand Lane in his 11 mins tonight looked ok making a smart pass, while also looking confident in his FT shooting (finishing with 4 points). Speaking of looking ok, big ups to Michael Roll, who cleared looked a little slowed down because of his flu, but found a way to gut it out and chip in with 11 points, including being able to stay during crucial mins late in the second half despite picking up his 4th foul.
The great thing about the victory tonight is it will give our guys confidence because they now have a legit come from behind win against a decent Rams teams on their resume. At the same time it will give Howland and his coaches more opportunity to teach away and to work on fixing the mistakes being made by our young backcourt.
With that I hope we can hear more from the comment section and perhaps via fanpost from those who were at the game. Christmas eve is almost here. Let's start celebrating it with a gutty win by our Bruins tonight. Fire away.