Is there nuttin’ Honeycutt can’t do? Tyler’s near triple-double leads UCLA past Stanford 77-73, and into a tie for First Place in the Pac-10
A Bit o’ Honeycutt was all the Bruins needed this year to turn it around.
UCLA is suddenly in 1st Place in the Conference, after many fans had left them for dead a month into the season. And the difference is definitely Tyler Honeycutt, who was injured and missed the first part of the season. But now he is healthy, and on Thursday night in Pauley Pavilion, he turned in the best performance of his career, again.
In a tough, see-saw battle that was close for the entire 40 minutes, Honeycutt DID IT ALL. The Freshman scored 12, grabbed 11 Boards (6 on the Offensive glass), dished out 8 Assists, Blocked 3 shots, and got 2 Steals. That means that he came within 2 Assists of a triple-double , a feat accomplished only twice in UCLA History (by Jelani McCoy and Toby Bailey both in the Championship year of 1995). And Tyler is just getting started. “Magic” Honeycutt is a shoo-in to become the Bruins’ first multiple triple-double man. He may even be their first quadruple-double man.
In addition to being everywhere, all game long, Tyler also had the Highlight Reel Play of the Game, as well as the Game-Changing Play of the Game. The Highlight play came when Malcolm Lee caught a pass in the air, and got it out of his hands to Honeycutt JUST before hitting the ground, and Honeycutt got hacked, but still managed to execute a reverse lay-up for the score. The Game-Changer came with 38 seconds left and the Bruins up 71-70, when, on a second straight missed Free Throw by Reeves Nelson — who otherwise had a whale of a game — Tyler snagged the Offensive Rebound, forcing the Cardinal to foul.
Besides those two missed Free Throws, the Bruins actually came through in the clutch at the Free Throw Line. In the final minutes, Lee hit 4 straight, as did Nikola Dragovic, and Michael Roll’s 2 of 2 with 3 seconds left were the final nails in Stanford’s coffin. And you could say that Roll’s 4 three-pointers (in 5 attempts) LINED the coffin.
The Bruins were able to bury the Trees despite a career-high 35 Points from Landry Fields. Fields’ performance is even more death-defying when you consider that Ben Howland has made a habit of de-fusing his opponent’s best Offensive weapon. Howland DID, however, make a clever Defensive adjustment that helped seal the win: He shifted the team out of their Zone Defense, into Man-to-Man, because Stanford shot a higher percentage from behind the arc than in front of it. So the Bruins’ Man-to-Man extended their Defending, and cut down on Stanford’s open outside looks. But Stanford is also clever, so they adjusted, and started to drive, exploiting the Bruins’ weakness. So Howland moved his Rook to Bishop 4, by shifting in and out of the Zone, and as a Bruin player mentioned after the game, it really kept Stanford’s Offense off- balance, and out of rhythm. They were in a Man-to-Man at the end, when phenom Jeremy Green got off a three-pointer that could have tied it, but it was not a wide-open shot over a Zone, and the ball clanked off the rim to Roll, who calmly sank the Charity Stripe daggers. Check and Check Mate.
Freshman Honeycutt got the most help from fellow Freshman Nelson, who came off the bench to score 18. Nelson also Blocked 2 shots, Stole a ball, collected 5 Caroms, and even got 2 (rare) Assists. He was easily the roughest, toughest, guy on the court for either team. With these two Frosh, the Bruins have a solid core to build on for years to come.
Besides Nelson, the Bruins also got help off the bench from Jerime Anderson. JA scored a couple of buckets in the Paint, by moving well without the ball, and on the second one, by following his own miss. He also tallied 2 Assists without turning the ball over. Speaking of Turnovers, which KILLED the Bruins in their game AT Stanford, the Bruins played the first 18 minutes of this game without committing a single Turnover, and they committed only 5 for the whole game.
You would think that with only 2 Turnovers in the 1st Half, the Bruins would have been whipping the Cardinal, who happen to be winless on the Road this season. But due to Fields and some smooth perimeter shooting, Stanford actually took a 32-29 lead into Intermission. And they scored first after the break to grab a 6-point lead. No team ever led by more, and Stanford again led by 6 with 7:40 left. But then the Bruins closed out the game on a 23-13 run, rewarding a Pauley crowd that was on their feet for the last minute of the game (not a guaranteed occurrence), with the very-satisfying 77-73 victory.
With that victory, and losses by Cal and Arizona, the Bruins now miraculously own a piece of 1st Place in the Pac-10. Credit goes sqaurely to Howland, who has taken a team with no direction and no known personality, and turned them into a fairly-cohesive unit, with young leaders, toughness, and heart, who make most of their clutch Free Throws!
You’re probably wondering why this is the only sports site in cyberspace that doesn’t make a big deal out of National Signing Day, and Recruiting in general. I don’t know, why don’t you ask Jerime Anderson, Ben Olson, Aundre Dean, Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, and Bobo Morgan? Great recruiting classes are lovely, but I don’t have enough patience to think that far in advance. I get more excited about what is happening on the court and on the field “now.” Also, it makes me sick to see a “school” facing sanctions still be able to reel in such a highly-regarded class.
There can be only two reasons why sc pulls it off: Lots of money, and lack of brains. The latter was CONFIRMED when one of usc’s most-prized recruits posted “Go Trogans!” on his Twitter page. It wasn’t just a typo, as it appeared like that in two different places on his page. He later simply added a “Go Trojans,” to show that he NOW knows that you can’t spell “trojans” without “oj.”
The former you’ll just have to infer, based on this question: If not for MONEY, why else would anyone want to come to South Central Los Angeles, to play for a cheating loser, for a team on probation, who can’t go to Bowls or play on TV? Is it for the edgukashun?
Apparently, sc’s #1 recruit (not the trogan guy) is refusing to officially sign with the trogans, until after the NCAA meets regarding sc’s punishment for Bushgate, et al. And he may not be the only one who is thinking about bailing — Another prospect is also holding off on officially pulling the trigger. If sc loses these two guys, their class would no longer be considered one of the best. Either way, there are going to be a lot of blinged-out trogans, wondering why they aren’t on Sportscenter.
Finally: Rick Neuheisel apparently stole two recruits from sc, but of course Lame Kitten claims that they weren’t trojan material. Why? Because they can spell it? The next day, Kitten offereded a scholarship to a 13-year old Quarterback in Delaware, and the 7th grader “committed.” You know how Kitten KNEW that the middle schooler was trogan material? Because, just like all of Kitten’s current players, the kid currrently has a 7th grade education.
Below are 4 more UCLA Dance Team photos, and it doesn’t take a college education to see what those trogan recruits will be missing over the next 3 years.