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BALL & TEAM’S EXCELLENT AVENGER

Threequel — #5 (and rising) UCLA has now avenged all three of its losses, after going into hostile Tucson and playing like Wyld Stallyns, riding Lonzo Ball and a 19-4 Second Chance Points advantage to a 77-72 second-chance revenge

Just like Keanu Reeves in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” the 2017 Bruins are traveling back in time, or at least it seems like it to long-time UCLA fans.  After beating #4 Arizona in McKale Center, where the Wildcats had won 21 of the last 22, The Boys from Westwood have now won 7 straight games to move to 26-3, and have won 4 straight over Top 5 teams, which they haven’t done since the Wooden Era!

The Bruins came into this game at #5 in the Country, so obviously they will leapfrog the #4 Wildcats.  They may also jump #2 Villanova, and even possibly #1 Gonzaga, as both Top 2 teams lost this week.  Gonzaga was undefeated at 29-0 until they choked away a huge lead AT HOME, against UNRANKED Brigham Young, who has now won 3 straight on the Zags’ home court.

How did the Bruins pull off the near-impossible task of winning in Tucson?  Well, I highlighted Lonzo Ball at the top of this article, but there was no clear MVP of this game.  Lonzo played an all-around great game on both ends of the floor, and was the orchestrator of the Bruins’ success, but he did have one lackluster stat, while several other of his teammates were also indispensable.

The Bruin guards Continue Reading »

YEARNING OVER A NEW LEAF

Leaf No Doubt — T.J. Leaf scores 25 as the #5 Bruins dominate the paint and give the Devils a 87-75 haircut, making Bruin fans yearn optimistically for a victory in the upcoming game at #4 Arizona and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament

The UCLA Bruins are #5 in the Country.  They are coming off a revenge-feuled 32-point annihilation of crosstown rival u$c.  They have another imminent revenge showdown coming up on Saturday against the #4 U of A Wildcats.  And on Thursday night, the Bruins had to face 14-point underdog Arizona State, IN Tempe.  Can you say “trap game?”  UCLA’s leader Lonzo Ball scored only 4 points, and Isaac Hamilton scored only 2.  Sounds like the Bruins got caught in this trap, right?  Well, not quite.  Thanks to a massive height (and talent) advantage, UCLA controlled the interior, and outplayed the Sun Devils for an 87-75 victory.

T.J. Leaf led the Bruins with 25 points, mostly inside shots, and Ike Anigbogu added a career-high 12 points, all on inside shots, as UCLA made it 6 wins in a row and continued their undefeated February (the only Pac-12 team without a loss this month).  Ike added 6 Boards, and Leaf had 9.  Topping them were Ball and Thomas Welsh, who pulled down 11 each. as UCLA thoroughly controlled the glass for a 49-30 edge over ASU.  Based on THAT stat alone, you would think that UCLA would have cruised to an easy victory.  Not the case.  ASU was actually within 1 point, at 50-49, early in the second half.  That’s when Continue Reading »

GOING TWICE…

Bid Pro Quo:  Only 4 days left in the UCLA Silent Auction — your chance to make out like a bandit while supporting the greatest Spirit Squad in the World

UCLA Spirit Silent Auction

Wanna trip to Cancun for a low, low price?  Want your kid to be babysat by gorgeous Cheerleaders?  Wanna autographed “Lonzo Ball?”  All this and more can be yours, all for less than market value, just by joining in the fun of the UCLA Spirit Squad Silent Auction.  Bidding closes on Sunday, during the All-Access Reception at Pauley Pavilion.  The Reception is also open to the public, where, in addition to participating in the auction, you also get to eat gourmet food, drink alcohol, enter a raffle (“opportunity drawing”) for dozens of great prizes, see Bruin Sports Celebrities, and most awesomely, you get to meet and mingle with the students of the Spirit Squad.

But even if you can’t attend the Reception, you can still bid in the silent auction, and help the Spirit Squad afford everything they need to maintain their position as the #1 unit in the Nation.

Just in case you are on the fence about participating, here are 50 more Cheer photos Continue Reading »

END OF AUCTION NEARS

Going once — The UCLA Spirit Squad Fundraising Auction has only 5 days left;  You can support the awesome organization and win priceless prizes by bidding now at THIS link:  UCLA Spirit Squad Auction

I’ve shared over 10,000 photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad with you, for free.  Readers of this site have been enjoying the beauty and grace of the Bruin Dance Team and Cheerleaders for over a dozen years, with not even one single pop-up ad getting in the way.  If you would like to show your appreciation, here is the perfect way:  Bid on an incredible offering in the UCLA Spirit Squad Fundraising Auction.

There over a hundred items to choose from including tickets to Bruin, Laker, and Clipper games, dinners, hotel stays, vacation resort stays, and much much more.  You can even have some of the Cheerleaders babysit for you.  You can also win the right to be a Judge for the Spirit Squad Auditions.  I have had that honor before, more than once, and it was a priceless, exhilarating experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.  I was SO proud of the students whom we selected!

This is different than just making a donation.  Of course I encourage that as well, but that’s if you are just such a good, generous human being.  This auction, however, allows you to support the squad while actually SAVING money!  As of this posting, there are gift certificates for food, jewelry, car washes, movies, magic shows, hotel rooms, and other things, and on many of them, the cost to bid is LESS than the literal, tangible, verifiable value of the prize!

So what do you have to lose?  Right now, you can truly get your money’s worth and then some, all while helping the Spirit Squad continue to be the elite outfit in the Nation, wearing elite outfits, and affording all the other necessities that are required to operate and excel.

The auction closes this Sunday, so please click the link above and check out all the mind-blowing opportunities!  Sunday is also when the All-Access Reception takes place on campus.  There will be opportunity drawings (raffles), great food and drinks, special guests from the Football and Basketball teams, and best of all, a chance to meet the lovely and personable members of the Spirit Squad.

Just to goose you a little, here are 48 more Cheer photos from the thoroughly satisfying dismantling of u$c on Saturday night. Continue Reading »

ALFORD ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

White Chuck-a-lot — The 8 Bruin Musketeers slice up the Mickey Mousc-keteers 102-70, as ALL the Bruins play well, led by Bryce Alford finding his sweet spot for 26 Points, Thomas Welsh pouring it on with 16 and 16, and T.J. Leaf stirring in 19 and 8; Of course the Willy Wonka of it all was Lonzo Ball, who whips it up good for 15, 8, and 8 to make nougat of troy and get his first win against the crosstown rivals (ONE FOR BALL, WON FOR ALL)

The planets are back in alignment.  The Bruins have finally seized control of the City, with a thorough 102-70 thrashing of “just sc.”  After 4 straight lopsided losses to their crosstown rivals, the Bruins broke the curse.  UCLA played ultimate TEAM ball, with all 8 rotation players having decent-to spectacular games.  In most of their games this year, especially in their three losses, at least one or two key players had OFF nights.  Bryce Alford has had a few really cold shooting nights, Isaac Hamilton had a prolonged shooting slump, Aaron Holiday hit a rough patch, and big men T.J. Leaf and Thomas Welsh have both had a couple of game performances they would like to forget.  Even Frosh phenom Lonzo Ball has been plagued with the Turnover bug a few times.  But on this night, none of them struggled very much.  Add to that a solid few minutes from Gyorgy Goloman which included 4 Points and a big slam dunk, and 6 OFFENSIVE Rebounds from Ike Anigbogu, and there you have it:  A complete TEAM EFFORT.

Ike was a force to be reckoned with underneath, refusing to let the trojans manhandle the Bruins.  Although Ike went 0-5 from the floor, it was his Defense and Rebounding that he contributed to add to this victory.  Everyone else shot pretty well and played a part in the Offensive explosion.  Bryce Alford led all scorers with 26 Points, and he also dished out 6 Assists and grabbed 4 Rebounds.  Thomas Welsh had a monster game, showing more aggressiveness and assertiveness and toughness than ever before.  Welsh went 8-for-10 from the field for 16 Points, and he matched that intensity on the glass, grabbing 16 caroms.  He also had 2 Assists and a Blocked shot in his most complete game ever.  I thought it would be Ike who would have to dominate the Paint in order for the Bruins to triumph over Chimeze “Day Tripper” Metu and athletic sc, but it was actually Welsh who filled that bill.

Also instrumental in the assault was Welsh’s fellow big man T.J. Leaf, who was hot on Offense, going 8-for-13 and 2-for-3 from behind the arc, for 19 Points.  He also grabbed 8 Boards, and on Defense, Blocked THREE trojan shots!  Hamilton added 13 Points on 50% shooting, and Holiday chipped in with 7 Points, 4 Assists, and 2 Steals.  The Bruins out-Assisted sc 23-10.

With all these efficient stats and a final margin of 32, you would think it was a total cakewalk, but you would be wrong.  The Bruins started out slowly, Continue Reading »

OOPS, I FORGOT THE LAST 69 BEAVER PICS!

Sorry about that, Chief — With all the excitement of the upcoming trojan revenge game, and my stress over finding tickets for it, I totally forgot to post the last 69 photos from the Oregon State game!

First time in my dozen years of doing this that I totally screwed up and promised pics and failed to deliver.  So without any further ado, here are the final 68 pics from Continue Reading »

IT’S A BALL WORLD AFTER ALL

Ball of Presidents — For the second time this season, Bruin Freshman Lonzo Ball is named Pac-12 Player of the Week, after he leads UCLA to Fantasyland, with Jungle Cruises over the (Donald) Ducks and the Goofy Beavers

It’s not exactly scaling the Matterhorn, but UCLA turned Pauley Pavilion from a Haunted Mansion to the Happiest Place on Earth last week when Lonzo Ball pulled the Bruins up from a 19-point deficit to beat highly-ranked Oregon.  Then Ball led the Bruins on a Wild Ride past the pesky Oregon State Beavers to give them a Splashy weekend sweep that saw the Bruins ascend to #5 & #6 in the National Polls.  Ball and the Bruins were worth waiting in line, to ride this E-Ticket ride that is the UCLA Basketball Star Tour.

You’d have to be a Pirate in the Caribbean to not be aware of how good Lonzo Ball is.  He is now considered to be one of the best players in the Country, and possibly even the first pick in the next NBA Draft.   To win the Player of the Week Award last week for the second time this year, Lonzo averaged 18.5 Points, 8.5 Rebounds, and 5 Assists per game.  But it’s the intangibles behind the numbers that make him so valuable.  His unselfishness, his leadership, and his positive attitude carry his teammates.  And lately, Lonzo has turned it up a notch in terms of Offensive firepower.  Now when the Bruins really need a bucket, Continue Reading »

BALL OF VOODOO

Chicks dig the Lon Ball — You don’t need a Mexican Radio to tune in to the fact that Lonzo is making (B)all The Right Moves, leading the Bruins out of their flat funk like That Ol’ Black Magic, to finally wall off the dam Beavers and make them pay for it, 78-60

Lonzo Ball gets better, and better, and better.  For the first half of the season, he was just feeling things out, concentrating on distributing the ball, involving his teammates, and making them better.  His unselfishness permeated the whole team, and made the Bruins a National Contender.  Comparisons to Jason Kidd were proliferating.  And that was “tentative” Lonzo, just getting his feet wet as a college Freshman.

Now that he is getting more comfortable, he has decided to kick it up a notch in the scoring department.  Forget Kidd — this kid is MAGIC (as in Johnson).  On Sunday afternoon, the Bruins found themselves down 27-24 to the 27-point underdog Oregon State Beavers, who came into the game 0-12 in the Pac-12, on a 12-game losing streak.  This was indeed a trap game, with the Bruins apparently looking ahead to their upcoming revenge match against their crosstown rivals next week.  The Bruins came out flat, and their sharpshooters were anything but sharp, hence the 27-24 deficit.

When the Bruins need a pick-me-up, it is usually Lonzo who supplies it, and that was the case again on Sunday.  Ball lifted UCLA on his shoulders, as they surged ahead by 5 at the half, and went on to blow out the Beavs 78-60, behind 22 Points from their prolific Frosh Point Guard.  The next-closest to that 22 was fellow Freshman T.J. Leaf, who had 13.  Leaf had another bad first half, scoring only 2, but he woke up after Intermission and was a big part of the turnaround.  No one else on the team hit double figures, in any category.  No one else shot better than 50% except Continue Reading »

“PROSEED” WITH CAUTION

Be vewy, vewy quiet, we’re hunting Beavers — There are no conference cupcakes, and with the sc revenge match looming, today’s contest against Oregon State is a classic TRAP game;  The Bruins must be careful, because a loss, or even an unexpectedly close win, could hurt UCLA’s NCAA Tournament Seeding, which was already projected as a disappointing 4, in the first-ever in-season Selection Committee bracket-unveiling preview

 A month or so ago, UCLA fans were certain that the Bruins would go into March Madness as the #1 Seed in the West bracket.  That dream is on life-support, as the unprecedented in-season unveiling of seedings places UCLA as a #4 Seed in the East.  UCLA is considered to be the 15th strongest team in the Country at the moment (I don’t know if this was their determination before or after we beat Oregon, who incidentally got a 2 seed!).  To make matters worse, the East bracket looks the toughest, with UCLA looking up at #1 Seed Villanova, #2 Louisville, and #3 Kentucky

Perhaps the next unveiling will have the Bruins ascend the charts, moving up to a 3 or a 2, and moving out of the East, … but not if they don’t destroy the Beavs on Sunday afternoon in Pauley.  Hopefully, their insulting seeding position will fire up the Bruins to give 100% effort against a team that is 0-12 in the Pac-12.  The 27-point favorite Bruins are bound to be looking ahead to u$c, because they have lost to them 4 straight times, including earlier this year.  So the Beavers might feast on a flat opponent, if Steve Alford can’t keep his team focused on the task at hand.  Bruins beware:  A team that relies on perimeter shooting is always vulnerable to a cold shooting night and an upset.  The Bruins can concentrate on sc starting Sunday night.  Hopefully, Continue Reading »

BIDNESS AS USUAL

Taking care, taking care of business, and taking care of “BID-ness” — Thursday was scary, eventful, and exciting, but life goes on, and the Bruin Basketball Team will have to stay focused on the business at hand in 2 days (OSU before u$c), and the UCLA Spirit Squad and its supporters will start focusing on the Charity Fundraising Auction, which opens for bid-ness in 5 days

“I get knocked down, but I get up again; You’re never gonna keep me down…”

So says Chumbawamba, and so do Bruins.  UCLA Basketball had a down season last year, but bounced back this year.  Then this season they hit a rough patch, but they got on a roll again.  Then on Thursday night, they fell down by 19 points, but got up off the deck, and charged back to victory.  You can’t keep a good man down, or a good Bruin down, man or woman, as the Spirit Squad will prove.  With a big revenge game coming up on the 18th against sc, it will be hard to “get up” for lowly Oregon State on Sunday.  That will be the task at hand for Steve Alford, to keep his team from coming out flat.  Luckily for Alford, even a pancake-flat Bruin team should be able to beat the Beavers in Pauley, considering that OSU is winless in Pac-12 play at 0-12.  And just in case the Bruins need some extra spirit, the UCLA Spirit Squad is expected to be there in full force to spur them along.

Supporters of that illustrious Spirit Squad should also prepare to show up in full force, in 5 days, when their online fundraiser auction opens for bids.  Every Spring, the squad hosts an All-Access Reception, with a super-fun drawing for prizes, and an auction for amazing items like vacations, dinners, autographed Bruin memorabilia, and even a chance to be a judge for the Cheerleader Tryouts.  The reception is also the best chance of the year to mingle with the Squad members, to get to see how pleasant, down-to-earth, beautiful up close, and highly intelligent they are.  You will simply be amazed at the high quality of human being that this prestigious selection committee approves for inclusion on the squad.

But even if you can’t make the Reception in person on Sunday February 26th at 3pm, Continue Reading »

DUCKS BE A FADE-Y TONIGHT

Hey Guys and Dolls — We got the horses right here and their names are Lonzo, Aaron, and Ike, who lead UCLA to an unbelievable comeback from NINETEEN points down against #5 Oregon for an exhilirating 82-79 victory

Sit down, sit down, sit down you’re rockin’ the Pauley!

Sold out Pauley Pavilion reached unprecedented decibel levels on Thursday night, as the #10 UCLA Bruins roared back from a 19-point deficit to beat the #5 Oregon Ducks 82-79.  Before I tell you about this truly unforgettable night, I must give my most profound thanks to the person whose overwhelming generosity and kindness of spirit ALLOWED me to be in attendance in the first place.  I don’t want to embarrass anyone or her relatives, so I won’t say her name, but she knows who she is, and I am sincerely grateful and appreciative.  It was possibly the greatest game I’ve ever witnessed in person, and I have been going to games since Hector was a pup, and that includes seeing the Bruins win in a Final Four.  I also thoroughly enjoyed a special pre-game “tailgate” session in Luskin Center.  Again, I cannot say thanks enough to express my deepest gratitude.

It was a special night for longtime Bruin fans regardless of the outcome, because it was Dick Enberg Night.  UCLA was honoring the Multiple Hall of Fame Broadcaster, who was the Bruins’ play-by-play man for most of their Wooden Championships, and who I personally grew up listening to as the voice of the Bruins (and Angels).  I was not a Dodger fan, so to ME, it was Dick and Chick (Hearn) as the two sportscasters that brought sports to life for me.  At Halftime of this game, Dick “Oh my!” Enberg was honored with a framed Bruin Jersey, presented by Bruins Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes.  As if that presentation wasn’t worth the price of admission all by itself, the current Bruins teams had a little something to add.

The game started out pretty ugly for UCLA, with Oregon immediately jumping out to a 5-0 lead, building the margin up to 10 before all the fans had even found their seats.  Two early fouls on T.J. Leaf put him on the bench, where he watched the Ducks catch fire, hitting 3’s with ease, doubling up the Bruins 30-15.  The Oregon Defense found a way to neutralize Lonzo Ball, who leads the free world in Assists, but had none at all during this Duck Domination.  The Ducks went up by 19 with about 6 and a half minutes to go in the first half.

A lesser team would have quit, but not this year’s Bruins.  Senior Guard Bryce Alford took over the game, leading the Bruins on a 14-0 run to cut the lead to 5, and at the half, the lead was 9, at 48-39.  At that point, Bryce was UCLA’s leading scorer, with 12.  And if you would have told me then that the Ducks would hold Bryce to a Goose Egg in the second half, I would have said no way do the Bruins survive.  But — Continue Reading »

A MASSACRE THAT ACTUALLY OCCURRED

Incompetence in Washington — Unlike Bowling Green, Seattle DID actually see some carnage, as the inept Lorenzo Romar fails to motivate his Huskies to put up any resistance, allowing the resurgent Bruins to march to a 41-point landslide victory, 107-66, despite a [previous] inauguration-like record crowd

It was billed as a marquee match-up of the two best Freshmen — and two Best Point Guards — in the Country:  UCLA’s Lonzo Ball vs. Washington’s Markelle Fultz.  Despite UCLA being favored by 11, the Huskies attracted their first sell-out crowd in FIVE YEARS, and based on the Bruins’ weak performances against Arizona and u$c about a week ago, many people expected a good, hard-fought game.  Not only did UW have the crowd on their side, they also had a little confidence, having given sc a better battle this week than the Bruins did the week before.

But right from the opening tipoff, it was ALL UCLA, all night long.  The Huskies came out shockingly FLAT, and the Bruins capitalized.  UCLA exploded out to an 18-4 lead, and never looked back.  Freshmen T.J. Leaf and Ball led the early attack, and several others came on to carry the momentum.  Dominating the Boards helped UCLA to lead by 18 at the half, and they built the lead up to the high 20’s early in the second half.  Midway through the second half, it was above 30, and finally over 40 in the final minutes, with the final score 107-66.

Fultz led all scorers with 25, but Ball won the Battle of the Bests, with 22 Points, 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 4 Steals, and a Block.  Fultz actually had nearly-identical numbers to Ball across the board, IN THE BOX SCORE, but the difference was clear ON THE COURT.  It was about running the Offense, and facilitating easy, open shots.  Ball made all his teammates better, leading to three other guys (Leaf, Bryce Alford, and Aaron Holiday) also scoring 20 or more.

The game was truly never in doubt, leaving Bruin fans wondering what happened to these guys against the ‘Cats and Continue Reading »

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