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Staying Focused

Probably the most important thing from last night’s (expected) blowout win over the Beavers was that no one got hurt and all of our starters got plenty of rest. None of our starters logged 30 mins. Kevin Love only played 21 mins for the entire game.

I read in the comment thread that LRMAM walked off the game with his left foot wrapped in ice. However, I don’t see any special mention of that in any of today’s articles. Moreover, I think IIRC that’s more of a standard precautionary treatment for him since he is coming from an ankle injury. Also Luc looked great last night when he was running down the court or getting up around the rim.

The headliners from last night were RW, DC, and LMR. From Pucin in the LA Times:

Guards Westbrook (17) and Darren Collison (14) combined for 31 points and Mata-Real finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots for the Bruins.

Usually it is up to Howland to find something to criticize. Yet Howland's spread sheet was full of good numbers -- 55.2% shooting from the field, a 43-24 rebounding advantage, holding the opponent to 34.5% shooting, a season-high 10 blocked shots.

"I'm glad we came out and played hard," Howland said. "It was a good performance by us in almost all respects. I thought Darren and Russell did an exceptional job of sharing the ball and running the team."

Howland pointed to the 16 assists compared to only three turnovers by Collison and Westbrook as a sign the offense was operating well.
More noteworthy numbers and stats from Perelman in What’s Bruin:
>> The Bruins had a seasonal high in blocked shots with 10 (best previous, 7 vs. Washington on Feb. 10).

>> Guard Darren Collison equaled his season high of nine assists tonight, also achieved vs. Arizona State.

>> UCLA held Oregon State to 34.5% from the field tonight, the lowest shooting percentage against the Bruins in conference play (previous low, 36.2% at Cal).

>> The Bruins had a 43-24 edge in rebounding (+19), equaling the team’s rebound-margin high for the season (three other times) and the best performance in conference play.

>> The Bruins equaled a seasonal high in assists (20), done twice before, and set a conference-season high.

>> No UCLA player had 30 or more minutes tonight, the first time that has happened in the conference season. The last game this season in which no UCLA player had 30 minutes of playing time was the 76-48 win over UC Davis on December 29.
Besides LMR we have to take note of the effort by JK. Keefe played 15 mins during which he scored 6 and hauled in 7 rebounds. A much better effort than the last time he was out there against Oregon State when he went scoreless with 0 rebounds in 8 mins of action while racking up 3 fouls. As Donnie Mac noted last night the kid is coming along really well. He is hustling back during defensive transition, getting better and better at holding his ground on defense, and doing all the little things on offense. If he keeps this up in a consistent level, it will help us in a big way down the line. Not to mention he provides much needed rest for LRMAM who is coming off his injury.

Our 3 point shooting continues to be off. From Dohn:
UCLA was slumping from 3-point range, going 3 for 26 in its past two games and 7for44 in its past four. But Collison and Russell Westbrook were each 2 for 3 from 3-point range, and the Bruins were 5 of 14.

However, Bruins second-leading scorer Josh Shipp continued to misfire from long range. He went 0 for 4 from 3-point range and is 0for19 in his past five games.

"We're not worried about Josh. He's going to come along," Collison said. "He's our X-factor in the big games. When we do play the big games, he shows up to play. Not so much against an Oregon State team, but in big teams he shows up to play, and that's the sign of a great player."
And I am not worried about Josh either. Again Josh didn’t force the issue last night. The 3 pointers he took were within the flow of the game. He stayed focus on defense and did all the other little things to keep his team going. His shots will fall eventually.

Bruins did lose their focus at times in the first half, carelessly turning the ball over on back to back possession. DC who has become increasingly vocal, taking a clear leadership role in last few days, made sure to note the issue (from Pucin linked above):
"We've got to work on staying mentally focused," Collison said. "A couple of times when we were ahead we lost focus and gave up a couple of easy baskets. If we continue to allow that it will hurt us. It would hurt us against Oregon. We've got to stop that."
Well good to hear DC is in the right mind frame heading into Sat, which is going to be a huge game. Speaking of Saturday, UCLA sent out a special message to the Den:
Sportsmanship at Pauley Pavilion
Kevin Love Took "The High Road"

When Kevin Love was asked about the experience when traveling to the Oregon schools he stated, "It was brutal up in Oregon, but I took the high road and didn't let it get to me."

The hope is that our fans will never subject anyone or any student-athlete to behavior that is unsportsmanlike. Please make sure that you and other Bruin fans continue to enjoy the game with class and refrain from making personal comments about opposing student-athletes.

We are UCLA…cheer like Champions and support your Bruins.
Sounds good to us.

Let’s stay focused and keep our momentum going on Saturday.