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Bruins Thrash Cougars 111-61 or Josh Shipp Dunk-a-thon

More important than anything below is the health of Darren Collison, who according to Dohn's blog will have an MRI with a Meniscus tear as the worst case scenario. Hopefully it's nothing, but I was wondering if the doctors in BN would tell us how long he would be out if it is the worst case.

I suppose I should say something good about our opponents tonight, the Azusa Pacific Cougars. Your fans showed up, and cheered like mad whether you were down by 40 or down by 50. No, but seriously, these guys can shoot (reminded me of BYU last year actually). Now, how much of that is attributed to them playing against our 2nd-3rd string is up for debate, but they had some wide open chances and some mildly contested chances and took advantage of them. This slow perimeter rotation is something we saw early last year, so I'm not particularly concerned at this juncture, especially when it became clear that all they were going to do was shoot 3's.

Strangely enough, even when they were making 3's, their conscious decision to go for long range shots only seemed to increase our lead. Even now I'm not sure how we put up 111, but I suppose you could say that we can score very quickly, in bunches, and this scoring ability is not limited to our starters.

I'm not going to try and read too much into what this game means in the big picture considering the circumstances. APU was clearly overmatched, and even though we won by 50, even that number doesn't do justice to how we dominated. I'll just list some of my observations and things that I'm pretty sure about:

  1. Full House - Well, not quite, but the students showed up in droves...for an exhibition game. I saw the upper level packed today. I hope more season ticket holders show up for the "real" games even if they are against "lesser" named schools.
  2. Luc's new stroke - There's a noticeable flick in the wrist which is a contrast from the way he used to palm the ball and try to "guide" it through. He airballed a 3 today, but then hit one in the second half. Now that Luc is a SF, we'll probably see him patrolling the perimeter a little more this year.
I took some video of KLove and Luc shooting around.
  1. KLove's outlet pass - It's the real deal. He threw one bad one which was recovered by Westbrook anyway. Collison had quite a few good outlet passes himself, and it seems like our finishers are still getting used to being so wide open.
  2. DC is still #1 - I'm not bashing on Westbrook, he's very good at what he does. But the offense still seems to run smoother with DC in charge. RW wasn't a point guard in HS, so this is to be expected. We could use this to our advantage since, much like the Farmar/DC change of pace, this is a similar situation.

    Actually, forget the above, just put them in at the same time so KLove can do this:

    I went back and watched this one too for DC's knee. He looks normal to me. I guess I'm just trying to convince myself that he'll be fine. Moving on...

  3. Josh Shipp Dunk-a-thon - The main benefactor of the outlet pass was the always elusive Shipp. Combine an outlet pass, a streaking Shipp, and his ability to finish on the break, and you've got some of the easiest points I've ever seen in the Ben Howland era.
  4. Communication - Early on, it seemed like our defense was ahead of our offense. The next 30 minutes were a reversal of that trend, when Howland seemed to throw some experimental lineups out there, they didn't communicate as well defensively as we're used to seeing. That's okay for now, to use the exhibitions to experiment, like with the four forward line up (DC/RW, Luc, Drago, Aboya, KLove) that got extended minutes today.
  5. Mata-Real - Is it the "first airballed FT of the season" if it's not technically the season yet? His post moves are more confident and quicker, but this FT situation is maddening. Especially when seemingly everyone else improved - Aboya, Luc, Westbrook, they all knocked 'em down. They say he can knock them down in practice, so this has got to be a mental thing. Just relax, 'Zo, your teammates have your back.
Again, I'm pretty confident in the above, but when you consider the competition and the situation, it's always difficult to draw definite conclusions.

I'll leave you with the starting lineup from tonight, thanks to Quickhands:

Let's all hope the early reports on DC's injury (no swelling, stayed in the game) mean that he'll be healthy going forward.