Anderson and Dragovic go a combined 3-for-26, and join Roll and Lee in each missing late shots that would have staved off the 68-65 double-overtime upset, Fullerton’s first-ever win over UCLA in 10 tries
Well, it was a nice weekend while it lasted.
The trojans are still picking up the pieces after getting pummelled into College Football oblivion by perennial powerhouse (in the classroom) Stanford, and the Football Bruins are still enjoying the aftermath of winning a NON-stressful game, and reviving their hopes for a Bowl game.
And then Basketball season started.
The Bruins hosted Cal State Fullerton, who was 0-9 against UCLA, all 9 losses coming at Pauley. But this time, the Titans ran into a Titanic iceberg — The Frigid Bruin Shooting — that helped them sail on.
UCLA missed their first 12 three-pointers, and shot 31% for the game, as CSUF led for most of the game, including by 6 at Halftime. Even with the Titans’ 10 Turnovers, the Bruins couldn’t parlay their control of the Boards into a lead. In the second half, the Titans opened up a 10-point lead, with quickness and penetration on Offense, and a jumper-causing Zone on Defense. The Bruins didn’t fold, coming back with a 14-2 run to regain the lead. But coming down the stretch, they missed all three of the front ends of their one-and-one Free Throw attempts, including Michael Roll’s that could have given the Bruins the game. Roll also missed the final shot, a tough three-pointer that would have forced a third O.T. Roll scored 17 on the night, and was actually the right choice to take that shot, since he looked like he had the best feel on the perimeter. Malcolm Lee also scored 17, despite recurring leg cramps, but a lot of that was inside, and he had already missed a game-changing three-pointer, so calling Roll’s number at the end was still proper, especially since Dragovic was 2-14 and has been cold ever since the Preseason started. Drago’s slump will be the difference between the Bruins being a mediocre team or a bad team this year — If Roll and Lee are the only scoring threats, the Offense will sturggle. They need Drew Gordon or James Keefe to develop inside games, and more importantly, they need Drago to fill it up from outside like last year. At least Drago pulled down 14 Rebounds.
Gordon was hot and cold on Monday night, throwing up a couple of airballs while trying too hard, but also scoring 10 and getting 6 Rebounds (5 in the 1st half), and 2 Blocks. Keefe scored only 2, but he grabbed 9 boards, and seemed to be a calming influence to the youngsters.
But nothing can calm Bruin fans about the performance – or lack thereof – of Point Guard Jerime Anderson. Anderson seemed to regress from the Humboldt St. game, perhaps being nervous starting his first real game in Pauley? Besides going 1-for-12 (or 1-for-11, depending on which box score you believe) from the field, and missing a shot that would have ended the game in regulation, Jerime had only 3 Assists in 40 minutes. He had 2 Steals, but 3 Turnovers, went 1-for-3 from the line, and went 0-3 from behind the arc, including a late, ill-advised try.
He seemed to be fairly comfortable running the offense (he did better than Mustafa Abdul-Hamid did last week), and he was able to get some penetration, and some good dishes off his moves. He would have had more than 3 Assists if any of his teammates could hit their shots. But if tonight is at all indicative of his SCORING ability, then Lee and Roll will be handling the Point, Keefe will play moore, and Anderson will ride the pine. His near-game-winner was an in-and-out heartbreaker, but most of the rest of his misses were serious bricks. The announcer said that Anderson is obviously still getting his sea legs back after fighting injury. If she is correct, than fine, look for some marked improvement from the Bruins’ Point Guard. If she is wrong, and this is about how well he can be expected to perform, then he’ll be gone very soon, or the Bruins will be.
If Anderson fails to improve, some other players will have to step up, and not just other Guards. On Monday night, the only newcomer to contribute was Reeves Nelson. The big man scored 11, snagged 6 Caroms, and blocked a shot, in just 12 minutes. However, Coach Ben Howland did NOT utilize (“trust?”) Nelson in crunchtime, going exclusively with Keefe, Drago, and Gordon on the front line when it really mattered. And speaking of the front line, Bobo Morgan did not see the court Monday night.
ESPN made a big deal about the 37-game streak where UCLA hasn’t lost at home to an unranked, non-conference opponent. Oh, b.f.d. That’s just stretching for ratings build-up. They had to work hard to give people on the East Coast a reason to stay up extra late to watch a game that was expected to be a 16-point blowout. [BTW, all you guys who think the line-setters are SO good, keep THIS one in your memory for a while. Who in their right mind could have seen the Concordia and Humboldt games, and then expected UCLA to beat ANYONE by 16??] The Bruins haven’t been unranked for 5 years, so blowing the 5-year streak is not that much of a shock. Hopefully, the promos didn’t work, and not too many people saw the Bruins look so bad. At least they never quit, like sc did against Stanford.
Now, if you were expecting some sorry lament about how this is going to be a LOOOONNNG season, and how badly we suck, and “just like Football,” and Howland-Neuheisel comparisons, forget it. If you have been watching Howland for any amount of time, you know that his teams tend to get better and better as the season progresses, usually peaking just in time for March Madness. With all this young talent, and TWO (potentially) DEADEYE sharpshooters lighting it up, and with the Defense guaranteed to improve by leaps and bounds, the Bruins just might be a factor in yet another Big Dance. And that’s EVEN IF Anderson turns out to be another NON-SENIOR Cedric Bozeman, because Ben has just enough talent to play AROUND him.
And speaking of Bruins being a factor, there were a few great Bruins of the Past whose names got some publicity this weekend —
–Green Bay’s Spencer Havner caught yet another Touchdown pass, his 4th, as the Packers beat the Cowboys on National TV.
–Baron Davis hit a huge three, and led the Clippers to a much-needed win while they still await the return of Blake Griffin.
–Trevor Ariza came to Staples to play the Lakers, and was presented with his World Championship Ring. His Rockets then proceeded to kick the (Gasol-less) Lakers’ asses.
–Darren Collison starting for New Orleans (while they await the return of injured Starter Chris Paul), and impressing, with 12 Points in his starting debut, and a career-high 18 Friday night.
–Russell Westbrook, quickly gaining a solid reputation as the Starting Point Guard for Oklahoma City, scored 33 against Houston last week, then had 19 Points and 11 Assists with NO Turnovers in a victory over the Spurs, and followed it up with a near Triple-Double (17, 9, and 7) against the Clippers.
–And the Bruin who got the most pub was Maurice Jones-Drew. Mo, who leads the NFL in Touchdowns, failed to score his second one on Sunday, on purpose. With his Jaguars DOWN by 1 point and about 2 minutes to go, Jones-Drew got the ball, approached the Jets’ goalline, and then, instead of scoring to take the lead, he slid down at the one. Then the Jags took two knees, and then kicked the game-winning Field Goal as time expired. Jones-Drew got a lot of credit for this “smart” play, but really, he was just following the directions of Head Coach Jack Del Rio, an ex-trojan. Although the strategy was lauded, and it WORKED, I don’t agree with it. It was correct when Brian Westbrook did it a couple of years ago, since his Eagles were winning at the time. But the Jags were losing, so I would have instructed MJD to score. Too many things can go wrong before the FG sails through the uprights. There could be a Personal Foul penalty, or a bad snap. You have GOT to take the points when you can.
On top of that, the opposing Quarterback was Marc Sanchez, who actually complimented Jones-Drew after the game for the smart move. Knowing that Sanchez has been struggling like the underaged, underprepared Rookie that he is, Del Rio didn’t need to worry about the Jets driving down the field for a last-second, go-ahead score. It’s not like Sanchez is Peyton Manning…
…which brings us to the most controversial call of the Weekend. On Sunday night, up by 6 with 2 minutes to go the Patriots’ Bill Belichick decided to go for it on a 4th and 2 from THEIR OWN 28. Tom Brady threw a short pass that was bobbled and caught, but after the bobble, it was short of the first down. The Colts took over at the 27, and Manning threw the game-winning Touchdown Pass with 13 seconds left. It’s easy to say in hindsight that the call was stupid… so I will. Belichick thought that they could win the game with one simple, easily-executed play. At least, that’s what he said. What he really was thinking, was that his Defense had no hope of stopping Manning from driving the length of the field for a TD. Maybe so, but you owe it to your Defense, and your fans to find out. Giving it to Manning at the 27 was nothing short of assisted suicide, care of Peyton Kevorkian. And no, this doesn’t really have anything to do with UCLA or sc, except that Belichick has a trojan attitude, including his proclivity for cheating (remember them getting fined for videotaping opposing teams’ signs on the sidelines?), and also, Belichick was an a-hole to Bruin Freddie Mitchell around the Pat-Eagles Super Bowl. Belichick talked some crap in the Press, falsely accusing Freddie.
And speaking of Head Coaches who DON’T tell it like it is: According to T.J. Simers, Pete Carroll said that he didn’t confront Jim Harbaugh after the game about the 2-point conversion. Video and eyewitness accounts laters prove that Carroll did INDEED call out Harbaugh, asking him: “What’s your deal? What’s your deal?” to which Harbaugh replied, “What’s YOUR deal?” Perfect. Harbaugh finally spoonfeeding it back to Carroll. What exactly has Carroll’s deal been for the past 7 years, with leaving his starters in too long, passing with 4-TD leads, breeding headhunters and hot dogs, not shaking hands with Dorrell and others, and cussing out opposing Coaches on YouTube?
Why would Carroll lie to Simers? Is he ashamed of calling out Harbaugh for Harbaugh being Carroll? Didn’t he realize that one of the many people within earshot would expose his lie?
In the same article, Simers also sort of exposes another “lying” trojan, Anthony Davis. Davis was selling autographs last year, telling Simers the money went to some underprivileged kids. But Simers called him out on it, and no kids could be produced. Now Davis said that there were no kids, but that he himself had no idea. He says that the Anthony Davis Foundation was a fraud, but not HIS fraud. Now he’s signing autographs for free, while promoting his upcoming book. And Simers is wondering where the proceeds from the book are going. A better question might be: Is anyone going to buy it? A lot of his biggest fans probably can’t even read it, even if it is written in red and yellow crayon. And just to summarize: Trojan God O.J. Simpson was allegedly using his daughter’s Foundation to hide money illegally, trojan Hero O.J. Mayo was allegedly using a credit card of a bogus charitable Foundation to buy luxury items, and now another trojan hero Anthony Davis is involved in a phony Foundation — admittedly, not allegedly — that takes money from children for autographs, and instead of sharing the money with less fortunate children as promised, keeps it for “itself.” Charity starts at Home, but apparently, around Heritage Hall, giving money to Charity occurs only at the “Foundation” known as The Spearmint Rhino, where “Charity” appears on the brass pole twice nightly.
Okay, enough text, time for some more photos. No, no poles. Well actually, I don’t know if any of these girls are Polish. By the way, be sure to go back and check out the comments that came in, on yesterday’s article. I’d like to hear your opinions about the “creepy” comment.