Yes, those are the words used by the announcing crew to greet the final buzzer. Drago and friends limited Landry Fields to only (a career-high) 35 points! Along with Jeremy Green's usual 18 point contribution, and having 3 other guys available on the court at a time, the Cardinal stayed in the game until the final few seconds in a 77-73 victory for the Bruins.
The Bruins started the game strong, with as much focus and intensity as they have displayed at the opening tip as at any point this season. This did not translate into a command performance against the shorthanded Stanford squad, as the Cardinal held a small lead through much of the first half, entering the locker room up 32-29. The lead changed hands on several occasions in the second half, before the Bruins took the lead for good with a Drago 3-pointer with 6:40 left gave us a 59-57 lead. Thanks to the unusual tactic of actually making free throws down the stretch (10-13 in the final 5 minutes), the Bruins held on to their slim lead to leave Pauley as a .500 team.
Tyler Honeycutt continued to display his team-leading talent with another breakout performance, threatening to accrue a triple-double before finishing the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds (6 offensive!) and 8 assists, along with 3 blocks and 2 steals. Reeves Nelson took the team scoring lead with 18 points, while Mike Roll scored 16, keeping the Bruins afloat late in the first half with 3 consecutive 3-pointers, while Nelson made 7 of 10 from the field, and contributed 5 rebounds while staying out of foul trouble.
What can be said about Nicola Dragovic that Nestor is not currently thinking? To his credit, he was perfect from the line, making 6 free throws, including 2 critical shots in the final 10 seconds to ice the game. While he shot 4-9 from the field, finishing with 15 points and 6 rebounds, NoD lived up to his new nickname with a defensive performance worthy of laughter, as well as Donnie Mac's criticism. Malcolm Lee continued his struggle shooting the ball with a 2-9 performance from the field; his 0-2 showing from behind the 3-point arc adds to what is now an unbelievable 3-29 3-point streak in Pac-10 play.
While the return of Jerime Anderson has alleviated the near-total usage of Roll and Lee, the Bruins short bench was still on display tonight, with Anderson playing 9 minutes and MAH getting only 6 minutes on the court. While Nelson and James Keefe combined for 40 minutes (a playing time formulation that Ben Howland has displayed through much of the Pac-10 schedule), Honeycutt and Drago (?!?!?) each played 38 minutes. Recall that last week, Honeycutt followed up his career-high 40 minutes played against Oregon with arguably his worst performance of hte year against the Beavers. Lets hope the playing time does not have a draining effect on him.
With tonight's losses by Arizona and Cal... Meet your FIRST PLACE UCLA Bruins!
Please, don't laugh. Really, keep the laughing down, there are students cramming for midterms on campus that I am sure don't appreciate the hilarity of an 11-11 team leading the Pac-10.