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On "Boilerplate" Ben Ball Team Effort

Ben Ball warriors had a professional cynic like Ray Ratto impressed following the win at Maples. After yesterday afternoon, Ratto is now a believer of our Ben Ball warriors:

"But we'll see them again," Christopher said, in an earnest attempt to seem unawed, "and we'll be more prepared."

Prepared, though, wasn't really the problem. It never really is with the Bruins, who did Saturday what they typically do - double down on the block, pressure the ball, force the other team to run its offense higher and ultimately to frustrate them by inducing quicker and poorer shots. These were all admissions Braun made without much prompting after the game, knowing as he did that everyone in the Pavilion saw who the better team was and would be in no mood for excuses.

"We got it down to two points," Braun said with an almost clinical detachment borne of respect for what had just been done to his team, "but then they came back by getting points on transition, and we rushed a couple of shots, and they get it back to six right away."

He didn't even make much of a squawk about the intentional foul called on Christopher that allowed Josh Shipp a four-point play that made it an 11-point game with 5:49 left. Good reason for Braun to hold his yap, too, because 1) it was, in fact, an intentional foul, and 2) the inevitability of the result was dawning on him, and on the crowd as a whole.

Indeed, the crowd was more neutral than most Cal crowds are when the Bruins come to town. Maybe it was the 13-2 run that the Bruins assembled to begin the game, or maybe it was the 70-foot drive-and-tomahawk slam by Westbrook over Jamal Boykin that made it 18-9, or maybe it was the way Cal's best players (Christopher, Hardin and Anderson) combined to miss 20 of 30 shots while UCLA'S three best ... well, actually, UCLA's three best are really six best. Love had 19 points and 14 rebounds; Collison, 14 and five assists; Shipp 13 despite a bad shooting night; and that doesn't even get to Mbah a Moute or Aboya or Westbrook.

No, this was pretty boilerplate stuff, even more so than UCLA's 76-67 win over Stanford two nights earlier. In a conference that looks very much like everyone will beat each other up, there is UCLA above and beyond them all. Undeterred, to use a favorite Braunism, by the field.
That's fun to read.

But we have to keep in mind that we have a long way to go. Everything we gained during the Bay Area trip could be lost by one slip against the talented Washington schools this upcoming week at Pauley.

The Huskies will be fired up and give us their best following their brutal loss against the ultra disciplined Washington State. While the Cougs will come out on Saturday looking to give us their version of a Ben Ball root canal (mixing in steady defensive ferocity with offensive execution/clutch shots).

I just hope our guys build on the total team effort this week and give us the same kind of "boilerplate" effort they gave in the Bay Area.