Despite Ben's effort to shackle him, Powell was a difference maker v. the Bears - USA TODAY Sports
Quick recap of UCLA’s expected win over a depleted California squad at Pauley in a close game that should have never been close.
Earlier in the week DC Bruins laid it out in his big picture post - for now let's enjoy the ride for now because unless we make it to the Final-4 and win our joke of a conference we are (and should be getting) getting a new coach. So with that mindset it was kind of amusing the Bruins (11-3, 1-0) to beat a depleted Cal Bears (8-5, 0-1) inside Pauley (under glass) in what turned out to be a "tough" game, but should have never been close.
Bruins win by a final score of 79-65. Here is the box score. To me player of the game was Kyle "SlowMo" Anderson, who filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, team leading 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and going 5 for 5 for the FT line. But others also stood out.
Cal came out somewhat strong going up by a score of 6-0 looking inspired against a Bruin team that seemed to be still hung over from our "huge" win against Missouri. Then came the TV timeout and soon after that the Bruins went on a 17-6 run to go up 19-14 and never really looked back.
At the half time the Bruins led by a score of 38-28, thanks to some strong backcourt defense from Normal Powell (logging 15 minutes), Anderson, Jordan Adams and Larry Drew. Powell particularly set the tone of first half with some explosive fast break points and holding his own against one of the best guards out West - Allan Crabbe. Tony Parker - the freshman center - who has been a hot topic of conversation lately around BN and elsewhere had a good first half, putting together some solid defensive sequences, giving us good mins off the bench.
Bruins picked up right where they left off in the second half going on a 7-0 run to open up a 16 point lead at 46-30. Kyle Anderson - Mr. SlowMo - looked super smooth on fast breaks. The kid seems to just ooze leadership and from on-court body language in this game, don't think it's much of stretch to assert he is the real "Captain" of this team, even though Howland laughably tried to anoint the Carolina transfers as captains earlier in the season.
Cal went on a 13-2 run to cut the lead to 49-43. They played with hustle and intensity, while we were settling for dumb shots (ie David Wear bricking from 3 point line) and offering LOLz interior defense. The Bears pulled down 19 offensive boards (Bruins had 10) and out rebounded the Bruins by 44-36.
Then Powell happened. He converted a key bucket on fast break (after Justin Cobbs blew a layup) to put the Bruins up 53-43 and we didn't really give up the momentum from thereon out. Powell's game tonight should be a wakeup call for Ben (nah, he is not gonna wake up). If he actually wants to leave Westwood on a decent note, he still has time to get the most out of what's left in this program by getting as much athletic potential on the court at the same time as possible (that'd be having a core of Powell, Anderson, Muhammad and Adams on the court at the same time as much as possible). Powell finished with 10 points.
The resilient Bears were not done though. With our "Three Tarheel captains (!)" lineup, the Bears went on a 8-2 run led by Crabbe to close the game within 5 at 56-51 and closed within 4 at 61-57 with 5:30 left in the game. With Ben inexplicably going with 2 Wears, keeping Powell out of the line, Crabbe went off in the second half. He finished with 21 points after being shut down in the first half. Not to mention the Bruins also looked gassed against the depleted Bears (hey, would have been nice to have guys like Lamb, Stover, Smith ... uh never mind).
Ultimately though talent won out for the Bruins as we went on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a 3 pointer from Bazz to go up by a score of 68-59. Shabazz finished the game with 16 points and 6 rebounds (5 offensive). It was never really close after that. So we got the win despite Ben's efforts to make the game "exciting" and giving some Chianti Dan's staff to type out the words "exciting," "exhilarating" in the weekly garbage "Word from Westwood."
Anyway, things should be easy for the Bruins next few games with 7 of our next 11 games on the road. Our road games come against Utah/Colorado and Arizona/Arizona State, Bruins if they play up their talent should win 9 or 10 of these games and then we will have the Howlers/Chiantiphiles out in force, working OT to sweep all the problems of this program under the rug.
But - all that is for another day. It was fun to watch the freshmen play hard and play well, even though their head coach tried his best to muck up what should have been a wire-to-wire blowout win. Let's enjoy the "ride" Lavin style.
With this the post-game thread is all yours. Fire away.