Curses! I swear I’ve never seen so many f-ing second-chance points in one game — St. John’s capitalizes on UCLA’s sloppy play and lack of boxing out, scoring 28 second-chance points on their way to a 66-63 victory in New York City
The Bruins just can’t seem to get it together on the Road. Is it a curse? On Saturday, they played erratically, allowing a bad St. John’s team to escape with a 66-63 win, when UCLA’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short. The game was close throughout, never being more than a two-possession game, with St. John’s holding a 35-30 lead at Halftime. But the Bruins came back, behind 18 Points from Tyler Lamb and a Double-Double by Travis Wear who turned it up late in the game, to get on top after the Intermission.
The Bruins’ lead didn’t last long though, as they were constantly bothered by St. John’s Zone and PRESSURE Defense. The Bruins shot a high percentage for most of the game (until a major dry spell in the last 6 minutes), but didn’t get nearly as many shots as St. John’s, or make as many Free Throws. The main difference though was St. John’s controlling their their Offensive glass and cashing in, by scoring 28 second-chance Points.
It came down to the final minute, with St. John’s up by 2 with the ball. They missed their shot, but one last Offensive Rebound/Put-back put them up by 4 with seconds left. They inexplicably fouled Jerime Anderson, who made one and missed one, with that Rebound being grabbed away from UCLA by the more-aggressive Johnnies. They then missed the Free Throw, but with only 3 seconds left and no time outs remaining, a Wear 70-footer fell a foot or two short.
St. John’s outplayed the Bruins, overcoming their height disadvantage with superior athleticism, better leaping ability, better timing, and more heart and desire. Playing hard for their Coach Steve Lavin — who was watching from the Press Box while recovering from Prostate Cancer surgery — was apparently all the extra oomph they needed, to beat a team that never plays its best outside of California. The Bruins have won only once all season outside of their home state, and playing 3000 miles away was obviously too much to overcome.
If you woke up early to try to catch a glimpse of the UCLA Dance Team (as I had recommended) you would have been severely disappointed (like all Bruin fans on this day), as it appears that despite what it said on their website, they were not evident at the game. Either CBS refused to show them, or they weren’t able to make the trip. Sorry for getting your hopes up.