LUC-ING FOR MR. GOODBAR, FONDA THE LOVE-LY PAYDAY: Don’t Snicker — M&Mbah (don’t call him “Butterfinger”) a Moute and Love are Good n’ Plenty in 76-57 binge over Xavier, that fattens UCLA’s resume for being the best in the Milky Way, Bar None, with 3rd straight Final Four appearance
Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. And sometimes, you feel like a National Champion.
UCLA played like the #1 Seed that they are, scarfing down the Musketeers 76-57, and actually driving Xavier’s star player to Musket-tears. As usual, Kevin Love was the Dove Bar of Bruins, scoring 19, grabbing 10 Rebounds, dishing 4 Assists, and Blocking 2 shots. He took over the game in the Second Half, and his second Three of the game was the “dagger,” putting the Bruins up by 20 with 7 minutes left.
But because of Kevin’s unerring consistency, it was Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who gets the Game Ball. Perhaps motivated by James Keefe having a caerer game against Western Kentucky, Luc came out with the “Freshman Luc” nose for the ball, and he displayed that superior instinct that made him a media darling two years ago. He led the team at Halftime, with 9 Points and 8 Boards, while Love and the rest of the Bruins were concentrating on defense. The Bruins used a late spurt to take a 9-point lead to Intermission, with Luc scoring 5 straight.
Luc finished with 13 Points, 13 Rebounds, 3 Assists, THREE STEALS, and a Blocked Shot. His Defense, especially closing out on other players’ guys, was fantastic, and caused several X-Men to alter or abandon their shots. But it was on the Offensive Boards where Luc made all the difference, pulling down 7 Offensive Rebounds that gave the Bruins second-chance possessions, usually ending in points.
The whole team played great Defense for 40 minutes. Xavier looked well-coached at first, running sharp plays, and actually beating Bruin defenders to the basket for easy looks. Luc and Josh Shipp each got lost on backdoor plays. But, like Luc, Shipp more than made up for that one lapse. Shipp couldn’t find the basket on Offense, going 1-7, but he did block 2 Musketeer shots, on great Defensive plays. His Offense wasn’t really necessary in this game, since Russell Westbrook scored 17 and Darren Collison scored 19, leaving Shipp as the only Starter NOT in double-figures, with 5. And Westbrook and Collison did a lot more than score — DC handed out 5 Assists, and Westbrook snatched 3 Steals and turned them into fast breaks.
The Bruin bench did not score until a Chace Stanback Three in the final minute, as Keefe had more Turnovers (2) than Points (0) in his encore performance to his career game. Keefe will be fine, but it’s time to APPRECIATE Luc Richard, and realize that he is about to START in his third consecutive Final Four, a distinction not held by very many Players in History. Luc could be in even more-rarified air if the Bruins make it 4 in a Row next year. It’s not a given, but with Ben Howland’s mastery of “FOURensic Science,” CSI:Detroit won’t have to “dust for Prince” to find Prince Luc in the 2009 Final Four.
But THAT is NEXT Year. Next WEEK, the Bruins get the winner of Texas-Memphis, with North Carolina waiting for the Kansas-Davidson winner. None of those opponents will go down like Xavier did when the Bruins Clubbed the Mouseketeers, but the Bruins know how to win CLOSE games, too.
Here are FOUR photos, in honor of Luc, Kevin, and the Spirit Squad, and the fact that the Bruins are now a Permanent Fixture in the Final Four.