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[UPDATED] Smells Like Team-Spirit

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UPDATE:Grok451 has the video of Lee's money shot. GO BRUINS. -N

Well if you want further evidence of why we are in love with our basketball head coach and his Ben Ball warriors, I think this image should do the trick:


Photo Credit: Chris Carlson AP (via LA Times)

Matt Lee made a dream shot which I am sure he will be talking about for rest of his life. Bu to me what was telling about that shot were the moments after. I got the same feeling (and I am not exaggerating) I experience when I saw the bench explode after games against Gonzaga and Missouri in last 12 years. It as absolutely electric to watch he reaction of Matt's team-mates from the bench. And I think it gives us a little peak into the often over used sports cliché of "chemistry" and how that applies to the program Coach Howland has built in Westwood.

In terms of the game, Darren Collison talked about his explosive night. From the LAT:

Collison, who missed most of preseason practice and the first six games because of a sprained left knee, said he had a purpose in his aggressive approach to this game.

"I really wanted to send a message," he said, "to people who talk about how rusty I am. It's just a matter of time. I'll get there."
Also in the same report, Roll talked about getting back into the swing of things:
Also working himself into shape after an injury is swingman Michael Roll, who played a season-high 19 minutes and recorded a Howland-pleasing four assists.

Roll, who missed the first seven games because of a foot injury, was most pleased with finally making his first three-pointer of the season (and his second and third). "Finally," he said. "Glad to get that out of the way."
And here is Coach Howland on what victory number 100 meant to him:. From the Daily News:
The number 100 was special to Howland.

"It means we've had some really good players the last four-plus years," he said. "When I first took this job I said I never thought I would be the head coach at UCLA. It's just a dream and not many people get to say they're living their dream."
I am not going to take too much from last night's game. It came after a long week of finals against an out-manned opponent. It was encouraging to see the shots finally fall in from outside the arc. However, I am sure Coach Howland will remind his team that we just can't get too dependent on those jump shots as we get to play tougher teams.

And despite holding those guys to under 40 percent in shooting, there were some defensive lapses in the first half around the paint, and we are looking at you Kevin. But as we have discussed before it is simply unrealistic on our part to expect Kevin to play the same level of defense as Mata Real or AA2, who have had 2-4 years of Ben Ball mentality drilled into their basketball brain. Kevin will get there in due time. That is exactly what these games are for.

More from Coach Howland on last night's game in the Daily News:
Howland's positive points of the performance were boiled down to making 16 of 17 free throws, and shooting 11 of 26from 3-point range.

Of course, Howland tempered the 3-point shooting by noting the Bruins took only 36 two-point shots and didn't mention the 43-24 rebounding advantage, nor Idaho State's 37.5 shooting percentage.

"It's just nice to be done with finals now and concentrate on basketball for the next three or so weeks," Howland said. "This will be a good time for us as we move into next week, and get back after Christmas. We made a lot of defensive mistakes early in the game, and we didn't get exposed by them because we weren't playing Texas."
What I also enjoyed from the last night was our passing against the zone defense. The passing was crisper and sharper than it has been at any point of the season, and it was giving our shooters a little extra space from the perimeter.

Hopefully, we will get to see more of that in the coming weeks. Anyway, to close the loop on last night's game, I will go back to Lee's shot. It made me appreciate one more time just what Coach Howland has been methodically building in Westwood. Not only has he built a program that will be a perennial contender, he is doing it around a foundation of team-spirit.  I haven't had this much following UCLA basketball since I started following it on a day to day basis in 1988 (I was not fortunate to soak in the Wooden years).

In other words, last night's "100" had a very different meaning than the same milestone reached by Coach Howland's previous two predecessors. Just another reason why we see him as the rightful heir of Coach Wooden.

GO BRUINS.