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PAIN AT THE HUMP

What Hump? — UCLA can’t get over the hump, failing in all THIRTEEN of their Second Half attempts to take the lead, as they fall to Stanford, 60-59

UCLA went NINE AND A HALF MINUTES without a Field Goal in the First Half, falling behind Stanford by 11 points.  Then Lazeric Jones carried the Bruins back.  Jones scored a career-high 26 Points, and while the rest of the Bruins couldn’t shoot straight, Jones’ heroics and the Bruins’ Zone Defense were enough to keep the game close.  Stanford was also shooting poorly for most of the game, until they hit three straight three-pointers to build a 5-point lead late in the game.

Late in the 2nd half, Jerime Anderson hit two consecutive clutch shots, Joshua Smith fought off foul trouble to hit two consecutive shots, and in the final minutes, Tyler Lamb also hit two straight shots to keep the game tight all the way to the end.  But for the entire 2nd Half, every time the Bruins had a chance to take the lead, they faltered.  They tied it up a few times, but they had 13 opportunities to take the lead, and couldn’t get it done.

In the final possession, down by just one point at 60-59, Anderson got a clean look, but missed the shot.  The Bruins kept the ball after a tie-up, so they had one last chance with 9 seconds left.  They were out of time outs though, so they couldn’t draw up a good play.  Instead, they just gave the ball to their best scorer on this night, but Jones got double-teamed, and had his shot cleanly blocked to end the game.

Sure, he should have passed the ball, but it’s hard to blame the loss on Jones, who was a warrior all night long, and who was the only Bruin playing worth a damn for the majority of the game.  The Wears struggled mightily in their first Pac-12 Conference game, Lamb was horrible in the 1st Half, Anderson was cold for most of the game, and Smith was in Foul Trouble.  Norman Powell hit only 1 shot, and Anthony Stover didn’t score, so without any Offense from the Twins, the Bruins couldn’t do enough to get the win.

The Bruins were 6 and a half point Underdogs, so they beat the spread, and proved that they can play with the League’s elite teams, even on the Road.  Even though it was a painful loss, Bruin fans should be happy to see that the Bruins will be able to compete for the Conference Title this year, because they have now proven that they are a much-improved team since Nelson was dismissed.  With the reasonable expectation of a better performance from either of the Wears in future games, the Bruins will win plenty of games, and be a contender for a berth in the NCAA Tourney come March.

"PAIN AT THE HUMP" was published on December 30th, 2011 and is listed in Blue & Gold News.

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