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Bruins cruised through an easy win last night against Chaminade, but it was the cruising that has Coach Howland a little concerned:

This was more tutorial than basketball game for UCLA.

The Bruins, ranked fifth in the country, beat NCAA Division II Chaminade, 88-63, Monday night in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

The Bruins (2-0) led, 17-2, in the first five minutes, and 43-20 at halftime, and when forward Josh Shipp went unguarded along the baseline for a loud slam dunk to put UCLA ahead, 50-26, with 17 minutes 19 seconds left in the game, Coach Ben Howland yelled for a timeout and stomped to the middle of the court.

It wasn't the dunk he minded, but the two easy baskets the Silverswords (0-1) had just scored.

That kind of sloppiness will be more severely punished tonight when UCLA plays Kentucky in the second round.
It seemed like the Bruins were a little lax on defense during second half of last night's practice game. Chaminade was getting a lot of easy buckets on transition and for the second game in a row our opponent was raining down some 3 pointers. From BBR:
The Bruins used a swarming half-court defense to stifle Chaminade into just 20 first half points and 33% shooting.  But the Silver Swords did much better in the second half scoring 43 points mainly on three-pointers in transition.

Coach Howland has been concerned about his team's transition defense in the early going, and the Bruins will need to improve it immediately since they face an uptempo Kentucky Wildcats team on Tuesday in their second game of the tournament.
Obviously as T pointed out Bruins were somewhat in a practice mode. It is hard to maintain all out defensive intensity against a D-II team when the team gets up by 30 points. However, it would be nice to see some of our young players come around. Aboya and Wright were ineffective in the pain. Obviously we are going to need those two guys to step up tonight when we take on Kentucky.

Also may be it was just me but it seemed like Josh Shipp was coasting through the whole game. It is amazing to me that he somehow managed to chip in with 16 points because throughout the whole game it seemed like he was missing a lot of his (forced) outside shots. He did go 0 for 4 from the 3 point line. I think Shipp needs to be lot more aggressive on the defensive side of the ball. One of the attributes from last year's team missing at this point is Ced's lockdown defense. I realize Josh brings lot more offensive power to this year's team, but it would be wonderful if he can step up his defensive efforts.

Now I started off this post was some negatives points last night. But there is not much to worry. I am sure the coaches will be working on those points this week and throughout rest of the conference season. There was of course lot of positives to take in from last night's scrimmage:
  • Arron regained his shooting touch;
  • DC had another wonderful game, scoring 15 points, dishing out 7 assists, while turning the ball only 2 times;
  • Bruins shot 56% from the field, including a scorching 11 out of 24 from behind the 3 point line;
  • Keefe had a solid game. He played for 12 points. And although he scored only couple of points he was more than involved making some great passes, and hauling in 5 rebounds;
  • And I also thought Roll had a pretty effective game too busting couple of 3 pointers to preserve Bruin's big margin.
Long way to go still. I do believe we are going to end up with a good team. And we have a lot to build on from our first two games. As our guys get comfortable with playing each other (easy for all of us to forget this team is missing 3 starters from last year playing in the NBA) they will come around.

Anyways a huge game for the Bruins tonight against a storied Wildcats program who are anxious to reestablish themselves after a disappointing 2005-06 season. They are going to be jacked up to play us. And given how we have played defense in these past two games, we have some reasons to worry. I will post some more thoughts on this game later today. Coasting will not get it done tonight. I am sure Coach Howland and his staff will be drilling that message through Shipp and rest of his team-mates today.

GO BRUINS.