Even without injured starting Center Travis Wear, the Bruins still dominate u$c, building a 25-point lead and sending the DIRTY trojans down to a demoralizing defeat, 75-59 – the way it SHOULD be
The trojans were up to their usual dirty tricks, breaking every rule, climbing on the backs of Bruins, trying to snatch balls away from Bruins after the whistle, and committing flagrant fouls that could have easily injured Bruins severely. But since the trojans can’t make point-blank lay-ups, and can’t take care of the ball, none of their cheating mattered, as UCLA triumphed 75-59.
It didn’t look very promising before the game, when it was announced that the Bruins’ best big man, Travis Wear, had sprained an ankle and would not play on Sunday. The Bruins were favored by only a point and a half BEFORE the injury was known, so beating sc on their home court without Travis could easily be considered an UPSET. And completely running them off the court should be considered satisfying REVENGE, for this season’s earlier Overtime loss at Pauley.
That previous loss was due to usc winning the battle on the front line, so the loss of Wear seemed to be a sign of impending doom for UCLA. And the Bruins have been SWEPT in this series only 6 times in history, and only twice after beating sc at Football, as UCLA did this season. So someone would have to step up big time to avoid another humiliating epic fail.
In the first half, it was Larry Drew II who fueled the fire, hitting two early three’s and dishing out five early Assists. The Bruins jumped out to a 17-4 lead, but then got into a little foul trouble. But seldom-used Center Freshman Tony Parker came up with the biggest contribution of his career, scoring 8 first half points to help the Bruins take a 21-point lead into Intermission. Suddenly, Parker doesn’t look lost on the floor, and he was not a liability. If the light has finally clicked on for Parker, he will see more opportunities, and will be a factor in the post-season. That being said, Ben Howland did NOT turn to Parker in the second half, when the trojans made their run.
After the Halftime break, there were four Turnovers – two by each team, before the Bruins settled down first, and got the lead up to 25. But they must have gotten a little complacent at that point, because they allowed sc to go on a 7-0 run to make it a game again. As the Bruin Offense lost its incredible efficiency from the first half, sc chiseled away at the lead, until finally whittling it down to 9.
But the Bruins did not lose their composure. Despite an out-of-character 5 second half Turnovers by the usually sure-handed Drew, the Bruins got to the Line, and made just enough baskets to keep the trojans at bay. Led by Jordan Adams’ 20 points — on a day where Shabazz Muhammad couldn’t score much (possibly due to his pink eye) — it was Adams, Kyle Anderson and David Wear who scored the points that kept the Bruins in command. It also didn’t hurt that the trojans were so sloppy with the ball, and missed several uncontested lay-ins as well.
It would have been a disgusting and unbearable situation, if the Bruins had blown their 25-point second half lead, especially with the Bush League trojans employing their cheap-shot tactics, one of which resulted in a double-technical (when Norman Powell defended himself after getting assaulted by two trojans), and another in a Flagrant-One (when Muhammad was neck-tackled on the way to a breakaway dunk, crash-landing on a cameraman next to the Song Girls).
So Justice was served, as the dirty trojans get spanked, and the Bruins survive another trip into the war zone that is South Central, even without their biggest CLUTCH player. And maybe the coming-out party for a now-possibly-more-confident Parker will make Wear’s injury a blessing in disguise.
Speaking of confidence, I am confident that you will enjoy these 36 photos of the “warranted-ly confident” UCLA Spirit Squad.