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ST. BONAVENTURE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Bon and Gone — UCLA fails to execute, including team leaders Thomas Welsh, who goes 1-for-5 for only 2 Points, and Aaron Holiday, who commits THREE Turnovers in the final 30 seconds of a one-possession game, as the Bruins choke against the Bonnies, 65-58 and are exterminated from the NCAA Tournament

UCLA’s season is officially over.  One of their worst performances of the year devolved into a 65-78 elimination loss to underdog St. Bonaventure, in the “First Four” NCAA Tournament “Play-In” match-up of #11-seeds in Dayton, Ohio.  Despite the Bruins’ massive height advantage, their two twin towers were completely ineffective on Offense.  The team’s second-leading scorer, 7-footer Thomas Welsh, made one shot all night, scoring only 2 points on 5 shots.  He wasn’t looking for his shot, he wasn’t looking for the ball, and his teammates weren’t looking to feed him.  Welsh did pull down 15 Rebounds, but on the Offensive end he was a complete non-factor. Fellow big man Gyorgy Goloman didn’t help on that end either.  He had 4 Blocks on the Defensive side, but he too made only 1 bucket all night.

The only Bruin big man that could do any scoring was Alex Olesinski, who tallied 7, with 4 Boards in 15 minutes.  But when Alex O. is outscoring Welsh and Goloman combined, you know this is not going the way the Bruins had planned.  In the front court, Aaron Holiday started the game scoring UCLA’s first 8 Points, then missed 6 straight shots and didn’t score again for about an hour and a half.  He finally found some Offensive rhythm in the second half, Continue Reading »

THE KNOBS GET ROBBED

No Prob, No Sob — UCLA squeaks into the NCAA Tournament and will have to play in the (“play-in”) Round of 68, but that’s better than u$c, who shockingly gets snubbed completely

That sound you hear is whining, and lots of it, coming from just off the Harbor Freeway on Figueroa Street.  The u$c trojans have been left out of March Madness, and their fans can’t believe it.  They thought they were a shoo-in, but after losing to UCLA at home a couple of weeks ago, they — as I explained then — exchanged places with the Bruins, going from “last four in” to “first four out.”

But after that painful loss, trojan fans thought they had climbed back into the Dance by winning two games in the Pac-12 Tournament.  Sadly for sc, beating Oregon State and Oregon wasn’t enough.  In fact, sc has beaten only two NCAA Tournament teams all year (New Mexico St. and Fullerton!!), while losing to lowly (this year) Princeton, and with a super-DOWN Pac-12 this year, that was enough to leave them on the outside looking in… at UCLA.

There is, of course ANOTHER theory.  Perhaps the NCAA knows how DIRTY the Southern Cal Athletic Department is, and didn’t want to invite them, just to have any wins VACATED in the near future.  With the FBI Investigation still underway, and with a trojan Assistant Coach already indicted, and with THREE troy players allegedly fingered for taking money to play, maybe the Selection Committee decided to bump sc right off the bubble.  If that’s really the case, then Arizona is lucky they were an automatic qualifier and nowhere near the bubble anyway.

And UCLA didn’t exactly Continue Reading »

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE AARON

Aaron on the side of awesome — Aaron Holiday gets his career-high 34 Points for the second game in a row, plus 8 Assists, 7 Rebounds, and 2 Steals, leading UCLA to an 88-77 victory over Stanford that is presumed to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the Bruins

Aaron Holiday keeps getting better and better.  He has come such a long way from last season when he was possibly the best “6th Man” in the Country, but who could not always be counted on to complete the clutch drive or avoid the costly turnover in traffic.  NOW, he is Mr. Clutch, with supreme confidence and the stats to prove it.  He is deadly from 3-Point range, and unstoppable driving to the hoop.  On Thursday night, he scored 17 in each half, and pretty much dominated the game from beginning to end, as UCLA survived and advanced in the Pac-12 Tournament, vanquishing Stanford 88-77.

Holiday actually did miss a few lay-ups in this game, at the end of stellar penetrations.  It was so surprising that the announcers remarked about its rare-ness.   Maybe there was something different about the rims in Las Vegas, because the Bruins uncharacteristically botched about a dozen gimmes on the night.  It allowed Stanford to stay in the game, with the resulting win not being clinched until the final 45 seconds.

UCLA started strong, going up 20-10 early, building the lead to 13 soon thereafter.  But then Stanford’s Coach begged his team to show some passion, and they responded with a 15-2 run to tie the game.  The Bruins stayed ahead most of the game, but Continue Reading »

REGALIN’ IN GALEN

Holiday’s Sweep Number is 34 — With Starting Guard Jaylen Hands out injured, Point Guard Aaron Holiday drops a career-high 34 Points and Shooting Guard Kris Wilkes adds a career-high 22 as UCLA comes back from 10 down to complete a season sweep of u$c with an 83-72 Hands-Down Sweeping Beauty at the Galen Center

The odds were against them, but that’s when the Bruins play their best.  UCLA went to u$c as a 5-point underdog, and then lost Starting Shooting Guard Jaylen Hands to a sprained ankle in practice.  UCLA is already short on team DEPTH, and now a walk-on player will get minutes.  Add to that the trojan revenge factor, with troy having lost to the Bruins 3 straight times, including just 4 weeks ago, AND, a sold out Galen Center hostile environment, AND the trojan motivation that they still need to win to hold onto their “last four in” bubble position for the NCAA Tournament — and it’s hard for Bruin fans to be confident about this game.

But when you least expect it, the Bruins rise above.  Just like the last game against sc, and the game against Kentucky, and the game AT Arizona, UCLA surprised everyone and stepped up to the challenge.  In Superstar Junior Aaron Holiday’s (probable) final regular season game as a Bruin, he exceeded expectations by dominating the game when it mattered most.  He sank 2 of his SIX made three-pointers in the opening minutes, and he scored the Bruins’ last NINE Points, on his way to a stunning 34 — the most he has ever scored.

Aaron did it all.  Besides sinking 6 treys, he frequently drove to the hoop and finished with remarkably athletic baskets.  He also dished out 7 Assists, grabbed 5 Rebounds, and Continue Reading »

TORONTO TROJAN TRIPLE TRIP-UP TRASHES TEAM IN ALL-STAR TILT

DeRoze and Fall of Troy — In the final minute of the 2018 NBA All-Star game, Toronto Raptor and ex-trojan DeMar DeRozan misses a Free Throw, throws the ball away for a Turnover, and fails to get the final, potentially game-tying shot off before the buzzer (it was a brick anyway) in a 148-145 loss

Remember when the term “goat” DIDN’T make people think “Greatest Of All Time?”  Forget Tom Brady and Michael Jordan — “goat” used to mean the guy who choked away a game.  And in tonight’s 2018 NBA All-Star game, the undisputed goat for “Team Curry” was u$c’s own DeMar DeRozan.

With the score tied at 144 with 40 seconds left, the Raptor Guard missed the first of two Free Throws, which opened the door for “Team LeBron,” as LeBron James promptly made a lay-up to put his team up 146-145.  But DeRozan had a chance for redemption.  With 16 seconds left he drove the lane, but he had no shot, PANICKED, and threw a wild pass that no teammate had a chance at, and the ball went soaring out of bounds for a costly Turnover.

Team LeBron knew they were going to be intentionally fouled, so they passed the ball quickly up court, and BRUIN Russell Westbrook grabbed the ball on the run and took it to the hoop himself, expecting the foul.  But unlike his ex-trojan counterpart, Westbrook FINISHED successfully, dropping the ball into the basket for two points, and no foul was committed.

That gave the LeBrons a 3-point lead with 10 seconds left — plenty of time for the Currys to tie it up.  The LeBrons did not foul intentionally to keep the Currys from attempting a game-tying three.  But what they DID do is double-team Stephen Curry, forcing him to pass the ball to DeRozan in the corner.  Unfortunately for Curry, DeRozan did NOT have the awareness to KNOW how many ticks were left on the clock.  Instead, DeRozan hesitated too long, then heaved up a tightly-guarded prayer, just AFTER the final horn sounded.  But it wouldn’t have mattered if he had beaten the clock — the desperation attempt never had a chance, and clanked off the rim.  So DeRozan’s SECOND chance to redeem himself Continue Reading »

HOLIDAY WIN EXPRESS(LY)

Bluish Holiday — Bruin star Aaron Holiday is the concierge of UCLA’s thrilling 86-78 overtime victory, sending the Quacks packing with 29 Points, 6 Assists, and 5 Rebounds, as he starts his probable permanent vacation from Pauley Pavilion

Aaron Holiday is only a Junior, but Senior Day at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday was most likely his last home game as a Bruin.  Seniors Thomas Welsh and Gyorgy Goloman won’t be back for sure, and Holiday is as good as gone.  He leads the Pac-12 in Scoring and 3-Point Shooting, and is one of the Assist leaders as well.  Qualifications like that usually lead to a high NBA Draft projection, and an early exit.  If this was Holiday’s last game in front of a Pauley crowd, he certainly made it one to remember.

Aaron hit FOUR early three-point shots, as the Bruins were on fire from outside, allowing them to take a 40-35 lead into Halftime.  They bumped the lead up to 11 in the Second Half, and it looked like they were going to cruise to an easy revenge win against Oregon.  But that’s when Holiday got in foul trouble and it became apparent just how valuable he is to the team.  Oregon went on a Continue Reading »

CAN’T SPELL “DOMESTIC ABUSE” WITHOUT U-S-C

J.L. to ja-il? — Trojan Joseph Lewis, the Nation’s #1 High School Wide Receiver of 2016, is arrested for FELONY Domestic Violence with bail set at $50,000

Well, at least he didn’t murder two people.  Yet another trojan athlete has run afoul of the law in a very serious way.  This time it is Wide Receiver Joseph Lewis, who was booked on Felony Domestic Violence charges yesterday at 2pm.  He is suspected of inflicting “corporal injury” on a spouse or cohabitant.  “Corporal??”  Isn’t that what they used to call it when a parent spanks a kid, as in “corporal punishment?”  Was this just a misunderstanding of a sex game?  Since when is spanking your woman a felony?  Some people really like being spanked.

Or… maybe it’s a little more serious than a slap on the fanny.  “Corporal” in this instance means he inflicted BODILY injury (as opposed to just emotional injury). So maybe he was more than just a pain in the ass.  Lewis is only 18 years old, and barely played for the trojans as a Freshman.  Despite his elite National #1 recruit status, he caught only 4 passes all season long.  He was expected to have a breakout year this coming campaign, but that may be in doubt, as his court date falls on the first day of Spring Practice.  As of now, he has been suspended from Continue Reading »

EMBRACING UNIVERSITY

Embracing Doughversity — The rampant proliferation of recreational hugs, Vodka, and tasty appetizers keep a dispiriting announcement from putting a damper on a hugely successful fundrai$er for the illustrious UCLA Spirit Squad

Pork Dumplings can fix almost anything.  Combine them with a mashed potato bar, grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in tomato bisque, and sweet & sour meatballs, and you might not even notice the apocalypse.  Throw in Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Vodka Lemonade, and you may feel like you are in Heaven — especially when you are surrounded by angels.

And that’s what I experienced on Saturday at the Pavilion Club in iconic Pauley Pavilion:  Pure Heaven.  All that great food, those refreshing libations, and of course, the wall-to-wall beauty.  Not to mention the fun of silent auctions and opportunity drawings, and the engaging COMPANY of families like the Continue Reading »

SATURDAY IN THE PAUL’ WITH GORGE(OUS)

Greet is Good — This coming Saturday at 1:00pm in Pauley Pavilion is the annual UCLA Spirit Squad All-Access Reception.  Come eat hors d’oeuvres, drink cocktails, win prizes, and meet Bruin Athletes, Coaches, National Champions, and of course, the best Cheerleaders in the Country

It’s that time of year again — One of the best events of the whole calendar year:  The UCLA Spirit Squad All-Access Reception.  Held this Saturday at 1:00pm in the Pavilion Club inside iconic Pauley Pavilion, this Meet n’ Greet features the opportunity to speak with the members of the legendary UCLA Dance Team, Cheer Squad, and Yell Crew.

That would be enough right there to justify attendance, but there’s a lot more.  Great food, including fancy appetizers, beer, wine, and alcoholic lemonade-type drinks are all included in your admission, the cost of which goes entirely to SUPPORT the squad.

In attendance will be certain Bruin Coaches and Athletes (Josh Rosen came last year), all usually willing to take selfies with you, talk Sports, sign autographs, etc.  There will also be opportunity drawings where you can win all sorts of great prizes, many of which are Bruin-related.  I have won things in the past, including the honor of being a judge for the Cheerleader Tryouts.  I have also won a basketball autographed by the whole Bruin team.  My point is, Continue Reading »

WELSH CARRIER

Trojans shot down like dogs — UCLA’s Aircraft Carrier Thomas Welsh carries the Bruins to victory over u$c 82-79, scoring 21 Points including UCLA’s last 5 — a 3-pointer to give them the lead, and 2 Free Throws to go up by 3 with 11 seconds left;  Aaron Holiday (23 Points, 9 Assists, 6 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 1 Block) was Aar-Craft Carrier #2, with crafty play that helped carry UCLA back from deficits of 11 in the first half and 9 in the second, because these Bruins Never Surrender!

The Welsh Terrier is a breed of dog that was originally bred to hunt rodents, and today, UCLA’s Welshie exterminated the trojan vermin with his Senior Leadership and last-minute clutch shooting in a dramatic, come-from-behind (twice) 82-79 triumph at Pauley Pavilion.

With the score tied at 77 with 54 seconds left, Bruin Point Guard Aaron Holiday notched his game-high NINTH Assist by feeding Welsh at the 3-Point line, where Thomas calmly swished the trey.  Sc hit a couple of Free Throws to cut the deficit to one, and got the ball back after a missed Bruin Free Throw, but missed a wild shot and Welsh secured the rebound.  They fouled him, and with 11 seconds left in the game, Welsh — who was celebrating his 22nd Birthday — came through in the clutch, draining both Free Throws.  Troy still had a chance, but, down by 3 — even though UCLA chose not to foul them to prevent a potentially game-tying three — Continue Reading »

BRUINS BURN DOWN TREE BILLBOARDS INSIDE WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA

Ebbing away from Misery — UCLA gets revenge on Stanford 89-73 with Award-Winning Shooting, including 52% from Distant Location and 92% from the line (23 straight Golden Globes after 2 Rotten Tomatoes), as Lead Actor Aaron Holiday (21 Points, 8 Assists) and Supporting Cast Kris Wilkes, Prince Ali, Jaylen Hands, and Thomas Welsh Direct the no longer SAG-ging Bruins to an Epic 16-Point Tour de Force with lots of Action but little Drama

Cut, print, moving on!  New Deal!  That’s a Wrap on a weekend sweep of the Bay Area schools for UCLA.  Following up a depressing tear-jerker of a three-game losing streak flop, the Bruins are back on track after beating Cal on Thursday and Stanford on Saturday.  UCLA avenged their earlier overtime loss to the Cardinal with tonight’s 89-73 slashing.

Led by Senior Team Leader Aaron Holiday (once again), the Bruins went on a 14-0 spurt in the first half, took a 13-Point lead into Halftime, and never looked back.  Stanford got the first bucket of the Second Half to cut the deficit to 11, but they never got closer.  Behind Holiday’s 21 Points and 8 Assists, the Bruins pulled away and cruised to victory.  The Bruins won for two main reasons:  They shot well, and they hustled.  The Bruins made 4 three-pointers in the first few minutes of the game, and ended up 10-19 for the game.  But even more impressive was their Free Throw shooting.  After Thomas Welsh missed two early, UCLA sank 23 straight.

In addition to this sharpshooting, the Bruins moved well (making the Cardinal players look like stationary billboards), and moved the ball well.  The Bruins tallied NINETEEN Assists, including a career-high TEN from Jaylen Hands, Continue Reading »

SPRAIN OF TERROR

Knee High After Skirting Disaster, Twice — UCLA survives a Thomas Welsh knee sprain and a very slow start against lowly Cal, as the Bruins come back from 13 down and Welsh comes back from injury for a 70-57 victory;  Losing that game — or losing Welsh permanently — would have probably knocked UCLA out of NCAA Tour-Knee consideration

Do the Bruins play better when facing adversity and the expectations are low?  They beat Kentucky when few expected them to, they played great last week after falling way behind in Oregon and no one expected them to make a game of it, and on Thursday night in Pauley, down by double-digits when Star Center and Senior Leader Thomas Welsh went down with what looked like a serious knee injury, they really stepped up.

The spurt that mostly occurred right after Welsh was helped to the locker room ended up as an 18-0 run against Cal, turning a 13-point deficit into a 5 point lead.  UCLA held Cal scoreless for over Continue Reading »

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