We are not past last year yet. I thought we were but last night loss against Montana proved me wrong. This team can lose any game at anytime. Losing at Pauley like this is not acceptable. Not that CBH and the Bruin's don't have their share of ridiculous excuses:
Maybe it was a natural letdown from a heartbreaking loss at No. 4Kansas four nights earlier.
Or maybe UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland made a poor decision to let his players attend the UCLA-USC football game the night before and schedule a game on the eve of final exams.
Or maybe the source of Montana's 66-57 upset of UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday night was much more basic. . . .
"Just so disappointed in our effort," Howland said. "(Especially) after coming a great effort at Kansas (in a 77-76 loss) to have such a poor effort. No excuse. They just played better than us."
Glad CBH realizes the effort was not there. Beyond the effort problem UCLA needs to work on attacking a zone. This is a big worry going forward as the generic ways to beat UCLA including packing in a zone, which is what Montana did last night. And CBH and UCLA had no answer:
The Bruins faced a team playing primarily zone defense for the first time, and it was a complete failure. They shot 31.3% for the game, including 27% in the second half. They were four of 18 on three-points shots and had difficulties penetrating and getting the ball inside.
"We did a very poor job of attacking their zone without a lot of patience," Howland said.
Montana came out in a man-to-man, but switched to a zone about halfway through the first half. UCLA had only one turnover prior to the switch but had eight in the final eight minutes of the first half and finished with 16 for the game.
The other key was Montana size. I don't understand why this would bother Reeves as he had no trouble on offense last year against bigger fives but maybe as lvbruin points out:
Josh is not great at hitting well-contested layups. Against smaller defenders that rely on athleticism, this isn’t necessarily a concern as Josh’s bulk will essentially negate their leaping ability (in my experience, it’s damn near impossible to jump well when you’re bodying up a guy 40 to 50 lbs heavier than you). However, against lanky defenders who simply work on staying between their man and the basket and keeping their arms up, Josh could have issues. Tonight, when he was down low trying to put in close-range shots over the outstretched arms of Qvale and Selvig, he was having serious issues.
In any case, Montana knew what they were doing coming into the game and did it. Did UCLA know what they were doing?
"That was our key heading into the game," Tinkle said of the zone that also forced 16 UCLA turnovers. "We played it more than we thought we were going to have to, but boy, our guys were dialed in. (UCLA) missed some shots they’re probably going to make down the road. By setting the tone early, we showed that we were going to be here all night long. It created some doubt."
. . .
"Nelson missed some shots inside and (Smith) seemed rushed because their size inside bothered us," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Montana is a strong team, so you have to give them credit, but we missed a lot of opportunities, especially in the second half."
That’s when Cherry said he could see defeat in the eyes of the Bruins.
"Stop after stop, layup after layup, foul after foul; it looked like they were ready to give up," Cherry said. "There was kind of some bickering. When we were making shots, we could see it in their faces that they were ready to break. That’s what told us to keep our feet on their necks.
CBH has to have an answer to a packed in zone and the players can never give up. Last night they were reminded that while they can play with Kansas at Kansas they can lose to any team anywhere.