clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Snorkeling to A Blowout ...

Sounds like Bruins were still in snorkeling mode when they came out to took on Long Beach St. last night at Pauley. Thanks to Tydides for his instant analysis which jives very closely with Brian Dohn's game report. Before busting it lose in the second half our boys were getting man handled inside during first half and continued their atrocious performance from the charity line:

UCLA needed the big second half because of a lackluster first half.

The Bruins were manhandled on the boards 25-14 in the opening 20 minutes, and shot 13 of 33 from the floor, and that was offset by a sublime 8-of-14 shooting from 3-point range.

And, of course, there was the dismal free-throw shooting. The Bruins were 60.8 percent in their first four games, then clunked and clanked their way to a 7-of-13 effort in the first half and finished 15 of 24.
Now despite that terrible (and actually somewhat predictable) first half, Bruins came out on fire after the half time. And of course lot of it had to do with what they heard from their head coach during the half time. What did Coach Howland talk about? A hint from Diane Pucin in the LA Times:
Afflalo said Howland gave a spirited halftime talk.

"Quite frankly, it was just strictly about our effort," Afflalo said.

Said Josh Shipp: "You could see it on his face, coach was mad."

Howland relaxed a little after the quick second-half start.

And Russell Westbrook made the crowd stand when he made three consecutive three-pointers later in the half. Westbrook is playing the role held by Collison last season -- point guard in training. He finished with 11 points and a big smile.
Hmm. A coach pumping up his team with an emotional and psychological push through a fiery pep talk. Not to mention sounds like Howland also had his team make all the subtle half time adjustments exhorting DC to attack the rim.  Gee a coach making a difference through his half time adjustments and not depending on his trusted assistants to get it done. Tell me where else can we apply this revolutionary coaching tactic in the world of UCLA athletics?

Anyways, I am with everyone wrt to concern on FT shooting. The numbers are bad. But I am hoping this is a correctable problem which we can work out during next few weeks before the start of conference game.

There was one interesting bright spot from last night's game. It turns out the 49ers played zone defense the entire game last night and they paid for it (see comment thread). From the OC Register:
Before the game, Howland wondered how well his team would react to Long Beach's pressure defense. Turned out, Howland had little to worry about since the 49ers played zone the entire game.

That left the area around the three-point line wide open, enabling the Bruins to play like long-distance shooting stars.

The Bruins, normally a 33.3 percent shooting team from the arc, shot eight three-pointers in the first half en route to a 41-36 halftime lead. Josh Shipp had 4 of 6 three-pointers in the first 15 minutes; he had made just three in the Bruins' first four games.
Well I am sure this is just a start. Great to hear Shipp getting his touch back and Westbrook (as Pucin mentioned) lighting it up from outside. If we get a consistent 3 point attacks from Shipp, Roll, Westbrook, AA, and DC, and keep attacking inside we are going to have some fun watching these guys all season.

And one more positive note: the coach was pleased with our defensive effort:
The Bruins shot 44.8% from the field and held the 49ers to just 36.5% shooting which brought smiles to the coaching staff.  Last season, the Bruins led the Pac-10 in field-goal percentage defense limiting opponents to below 40% shooting but this season teams have been shooting over 48% against them.

"We need to have more of the same type of defensive effort we put forth in the second half." Howland said. "We are last in the Pac-10 in field-goal percentage defense so far this year.  We need to improve our defense before we start Pac-10 play."
And I have no doubt Coach Howland will be working on our boys to improve our season over next few week. All in all not bad. They came out in snorkeling mode, but eventually got back to business and got us a blowout win.