8 games into the season we still have a lot of issues to work on. I won't belabor the point on out FT shooting. It is going to cost us down the line. It will cost us in a conference, arguably positioned to have the best set of teams in almost a decade. Our offense is still work in progress. And for the second game in row Luc appeared human.
Despite all of those concerns though we need to give credit to Texas A&M, which is the most physical team Bruins have taken on the whole season, and I am not sure if they are going to face a physically (and mentally) rougher and tougher opponent like the Aggies rest of this regular season. We call our boys "Warriors" all the time. But the Aggies showed they can hold their own and their stats coming into the game, which included leading the nation in defensive FG% was no fluke. They gave everything they had, and the Bruins survived, held on, most impressively didn't blink during crunch time, and pulled out the huge win.
BBR has the recap:
In a battle between two physical and defensive-minded teams, although each managed to shoot over 49% from the field there were rarely any easy baskets or fast-breaks to be found with each team limiting the other to only 51 shots in the game.
"The intensity was going to remain high as long as the score was tight," Afflalo said. "Neither team got a chance to pull away."
Afflalo's spin move in the lane gave the Bruins a 61-56 lead with 3:28 to play. He also played strong defense on Law, who worked hard just to get the ball in the final minutes.
Collison gave the Bruins a 63-56 lead with a jump-stop and lean basket with 1:33 to play but committed a crucial turnover when he stepped on the side line with 36.6 seconds left and the Bruins ahead by three.
The Aggies scrambled but could not get the ball to Law in scoring position and settled for Jones' trey attempt.
Collison then made two free throws to give UCLA a 65-60 lead. "Down the stretch, the last three or four minutes, (Afflalo) really fought hard," Howland said. "Law, as I remember, didn't make a lot of plays in the last three or four minutes of the game."
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
In addition to leading the team in scoring, he had 5 boards, 4 steals, and 2 block shots. A very encouraging game from Josh with conference game looming ahead.
Again despite the concerns listed up top, Bruins pulled out last night's win (IMHO the biggest one of 2006-07 to date) relying on their trademark. Coach Howland in the LA Times:
"It's not fun to have Darren in your grill," Howland said.
"They were a little tougher in the paint as far as physical play," Gillispie said. "A little tougher than I'd seen on tape."
No wonder the Coach, our alums., students, and fans, the Bruins Nation, left Orange County with a huge smile on our faces:
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
Good luck to all of our students who are taking their finals this coming week. I am sure all of you are going to come through in crunch time just like AA, DC, Shipp, and rest of our Ben Ball Warriors.