Huge win last night at Pauley. Make no mistake about it. Last night's 71- 54 win over a 4-4 Stanford was big for a number of reasons. It was one of the most dominating Pac-10 performance of an injured Bruin basketball time over an opponent, who simply owned us through the Lavin years. Last night's win despite so many injuries (which I will get to in a bit) was a clear message for rest of the Pac-10 that their heady days of gravy train ride from the Lavin days are officially over:
The win was the eighth consecutive for No. 11 UCLA (11-1, 1-0) and gives the Bruins their best start since their 1994-95 NCAA Championship team. That team started 12-1, a record UCLA can match with a win Saturday against Cal.
"This was a great win for this team," Howland said.
Stanford, picked to finish second in the Pac-10 by conference coaches, had beaten UCLA six straight times and eight of the last 10. The Cardinal (4-5, 0-1) had not lost to the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion since 1996-97.
Stanford missed its 12 first shots from the field, resulting in an 18-1 UCLA lead. The Cardinal never got closer than 13 points the rest of the half and trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half.
The key was a series of traps and double-teams that continually confused a typically disciplined Stanford offense. The defense was spearheaded by Farmar and Afflalo.
"Their defensive leadership was critical," Howland said.
Now on to the bummer note from last night, which is Ced's injury. The kid has a torn cartilage in his left shoulder. This really sucks ... more for Ced than for the Bruin team in general. I have written year before - this was the one kid I was specially rooting hard for given what he has had to go through since he has been at UCLA. But perhaps it will all work out. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will be able to come back in few weeks and help us right in time for the Big Dance. Meantime, according to the LA Times Jordan reinjured his ankle, which he sprained earlier in the season. Seems like he will be back, besides DC has been doing an incredible job running the point coming off the bench. Speaking of incredible, again we really have to put the job Howland is doing in perspective having the Bruins at 11-1, at no. 11, and our best start since that magical 1994-95 season, given the incredible list of injuries this season:
Add Cedric Bozeman to the long UCLA injury report this season. The senior guard injured his left shoulder and could be out for the rest of the season.
Notable UCLA injuries this season:
PLAYER, POSITION INJURY
Cedric Bozeman, guard shoulder
Jordan Farmar, guard groin, ankle
Arron Afflalo, guard quadriceps
Michael Fey, center groin, ankle
Ryan Hollins, center groin
Lorenzo Mata, center concussion
Alfred Aboya, forward knees (surgery)
Josh Shipp, forward hip (surgery)