Love is the main story from last night’s game. Let's go the highlights courtesy of WWL:
As most of you know by now, Love apparently played with a fractured left index finger (which he suffered few days ago in practice) all game, but still led the team with 18 points and 16 boards (UCLA freshman record). Dohn has a good game report leading off with these comments from the freshman phenom:
Behind Love's rebounding prowess, the Bruins held a 44-29 advantage on the boards. They had 19 offensive rebounds (Maryland had eight), scored the game's first basket and led the rest of the way.
Fellow UCLA big men Lorenzo Mata-Real (nine rebounds) and Alfred Aboya provided support to Love's rebounding effort with strong interior defense.
Maryland center Bambale Osby, who was averaging 8.3 rebounds per game, had one.
Terrapins leading scorer and rebounder James Gist, a 6-foot-9 forward, was held to seven points and three rebounds in 32 minutes. Gist was averaging 21.7 points and 8.5 rebounds.
What we cannot afford to today against an extremely well coached Spartan team is the number of mental mistakes we made last night. And it was disappointing to see one of the biggest one came from Shipp. And per Pucin in the LAT Shipp "learned" his lesson:
"We already talked about that technical foul in the locker room," Howland said.
"I've learned my lesson," said Shipp, who finished with 18 points.
Aboya gave a more emphatic synopsis of Howland's talk. "Coach was really mad," Aboya said. "That was a momentum switch. We had the momentum and that technical put them right back in the game.
Shipp and the Bruins will have a huge challenge tonight. They will need to play under control against Michigan State team that plays their own version of tough hard nosed defense and can bring it on offense. Here is a preview from Bruin Basketball Report:
Drew Nietzel (6'0, 180, Sr), a preseason All-American candidate, is averaging 13.5 points and 6.5 assists a game. He is a gritty point-guard and the player his team looks for when a play needs to be made. Nietzel is shooting 46.7% from the field and 66% on three-pointers in the early going.
UCLA's Russell Westbrook has played extremely well on defense since replacing the injured Darren Collison at point-guard. The spotlight match-up in the game will be between Westbrook and Nietzel. Westbrook needs to keep Nietzel out of the lane and wrap him on the perimeter while staying out of foul trouble. Against Maryland, Westbrook was charged with four fouls and the Bruins can ill afford to lose him in this game.
Raymar Morgan (6'7,220, So) was expected to have a break-out year after a successful freshman campaign. A scorer who can go inside and also hit from outside to the three-point line, he is also leading the Spartans in rebounding so far in the early going. Against Missouri, Morgan went 6-6 from both the field and free throw line for 19 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
The Bruins will counter Morgan with one of their best perimeter defenders, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - this will be another interesting key match-up to follow in the game. Mbah a Moute had 8 points and 4 rebounds against Maryland in 35 minutes.
Lastly, it looks like DC is not coming back till the Wooden classic instead of November 28 against GWU. Again, I am completely fine with this. I rather have us take our time with him instead of risking any kind of long term injury. Besides it seems like Westbrook is getting steadier by the game (compare last night to his game against West Virginia). Sure we can be lot smoother. But that will come as RW gets in more mins and it will make us that much more lethal when DC comes back fully healthy. Excited to see what Russell can do against Drew Nietzel tonight.