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NO BITTER DIET ‘KOLA AFTERTASTE

This team may drive him to drinking.

Flat UCLA, down 8 with 12 minutes left, bottles up Colo. St.’s Offense, and bubbles up a 29-9 spurt — led by a re-carbonated Nikola Dragovic — to can the Rams 75-63 and sweeten the Holiday break 

One day after pleading Not Guilty to apparently bogus Assault charges, Nikola Dragovic broke out of his season-long slump to lead the Bruins to a 75-63 comeback-win over the 8-4 Colorado State Rams.  Nikola said that entering the plea lifted a psychological weight off his shoulders, and it showed.  And the Bruins NEEDED him.

Even though the Rams (unlike their NFL namesake) had lost only 3 games this season, the Bruins were still 10-point Favorites, but for the first 28 minutes of the game, you would have never known it.  Despite having superior talent, the Bruins couldn’t get any rhythm going.  Despite dominating the boards, the Bruins couldn’t hold onto the ball long enough to capitalize (12 Turnovers by Halftime).

The game went back and forth in the first half, ending tied at Intermission. 34-34.  And despite Coach Ben Howland’s emphasis on the importance of the first five minutes of the second half, the Bruins still could not get it together.   The Rams built an 8-point lead, with about 12 minutes left in the game, and that’s when the Bruins hit a turning point.

Hopefully, it will be a turning point for the entire season, as it was so dramatically positive.  And as always with a Howland team, it all started with Defense.  After 28 minutes of allowing Guard penetration and put-backs, the Bruins finally clamped down.  Howland said that they made NO adjustments, but that the players just turned it up a notch.  The pressure Defense created some easier shots for UCLA, who went on a 29-9 run to close out the game.

All five Bruin starters scored in double-figures, led by Dragovic with 17.  Drago also led the team (along with Malcom Lee!) with 7 Rebounds.  Jerime Anderson fought back from a Turnover-filled start to get 12 Points, 7 Assists, 4 Rebounds, 1 Block, and 1 Steal (along with his 5 Turnovers).  He had a few drives in the lane on which he converted, and he went 4-5 from the field, including sinking his only three-point shot.  The way announcer Don McLean put is that Jerime made a ton of poor distribution decisions, but when he had his mind made up, he executed well, especially in creating his own Offense.  The problem was with setting up teammates for Offense.  This is NOT a good problem for a POINT GUARD to have.  But if he can keep scoring in double-figures, he probably won’t lose his Starting job.

And neither will Drago, now that he considers his issues behind him.  He is done with his schoolwork right now as well, and plans to spend much more time in the gym than he has been spending, so it’s reasonable to hope that the Old Drago is back.  He was successful posting up, going 5-8 from the floor, and he hit 2 three’s, which is a remarkable feat for him lately.  He also went 5-for-5 from the line, which is a great indicator of mental stability.

The Bruins actually hit 12 of their first 13 Free Throws, which is almost a miracle for them.  They ended at 18-23, still giving hope for the rest of the season.

Malcolm Lee has raised HIS FT% by about 10% recently, going 5-6 on Tuesday night.  Lee also hit 3 three’s on the way to 16 Points and 7 Boards, with his confidence flying high.  Maybe a bit too high — He went 4-11 from the floor, with SIX Turnovers.

Reeves Nelson continued to shine, scoring 15 to go along with 6 Rebounds, and Michael Roll, despite foul trouble, completed the double-figure five-way, scoring 11 Points.

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Bruin fans who weren’t at the game got royally screwed on Tuesday night, because they missed a good game… literally.  If they logged on to uclabruins.com for the free streaming Internet feed, they got an UNWATCHABLE product.  All it did was show 10-second spurts of action, followed by 5 seconds of a frozen screen, with a “loading” icon over it.  When the action “caught up,” the actual play was inevitably over, and you got to see players standing around during a dead ball.  It might as well have been a blacked-out 70’s Boxing Match, where the News would show black & white STILLS from the bout, until the Network finally broadcast the tape.

The webcast of the CSU game was an ABSOLUTE INSULT to Bruin fans.  It’s bad enough that no TV station is willing to carry it, but for the quality of the webcast to be SO POOR is just a slap in the face.  I have been very forgiving in my critiques of the UCLA Athletic Department in the Past, but this was a DISGRACE.  The people who run the site apparently underestimated the demand caused by an untelevised game plus a free webcast.  UCLA owes its fans an apology, and a promise to keep this from happening in the future.

And speaking of crimes…  The useless Internet feed forced fans to listen to the radio… and be blinded by Chris Roberts.  And I hate to tear into a guy who seems so nice and jolly, especially right before Christmas, but the Bruins should be apologizing for HIM too.  He is just TOO SLOW in describing the action.  Things happen too quickly for him, he can’t keep up, he gets flustered, then he ASKS LISTENERS to fill him in.  “Did the ball go out of bounds off of a Ram?  If it did, then it would be UCLA ball.”  I cannot believe that he actually said something like that.  But he did.  Not sure if that was before or after he referred to Malcolm Lee as “Smith.”  That could happen to anyone, I guess, but real announcers don’t call an entire sequence without once mentioning a player’s name.  Chris managed to do it on Tuesday night, on a Bruin possession, no less, with something LIKE:  “He passes it inside, he passes it to the wing, he dribbles and dishes across, he shoots and misses, and there’s the Rebound, and he scores.”  And he never went back to tell us who scored, or missed, or anything.  He was probably too excited about his Hot Tamales Play of the Game.

Do I need to start a petition?  Could Dan Guerrero really NOT be aware of how bad CR is considered to be, by thousands of loyal Bruin fans?  And I bet Guerrero was raised on Chick Hearn too, so he MUST know better.     

"NO BITTER DIET ‘KOLA AFTERTASTE" was published on December 23rd, 2009 and is listed in Blue & Gold News.

Comments on "NO BITTER DIET ‘KOLA AFTERTASTE": 1 Comment

  1. Rick wrote,

    I totally agree with…..[loading]……your criticism of…[loading]…….the webcast, and of…….[loading]……..Chris Roberts, who Dan…….[loading]………Guerrero should be…….[loading]…UNLOADING as soon as…….[loading]………humanly possible!

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