Black Sabbath: SC coming Back in Black uni’s on Sunday can’t Blackout Mayo’s most Rancid game ever, as Bruins’ TENacious D throws out the old, moldy Mayo’s streak of TEN-point games, separates Mayo from the ball TEN times, leads to a TEN-point avenging victory that calms our Suicidal TENdencies, exTENds UCLA’s Mettalic(a) command of the Pac-TEN, and might eliminate Mayo from the NCAA’s diet come March, as the Bruins KISS trOJans goodbye, 56-46
It’s a fact: In South Central, the Mayo doesn’t always get through.
The usc trOJans broke out BLACK uniforms for the FIRST time in their History, during Black History Month, and O.J. Mayo responded by turning in his worst performance in History. Instead of thriving on Black Power, Mayo fell into a Black Hole. If you assume that Mayo wasn’t paying off some old drug or gambling debt, and didn’t DIVE into that hole by himself, then the credit for PUSHING him in goes to Russell Westbrook.
The Bruins were struggling to score, making only about a third of their shots all game, so it was up to the Defense to keep the Bruins from the most painful sweep in years. And the Defense came through, forcing the trojans into several scoring droughts. Mayo averages 20 Points a game, and had NEVER scored less than 10 Points in a Game. But on Sunday, Westbrook made an anything-but-Hot Mayo nothing more than a stain on the used trojans, as Mayo could muster only a career-low FOUR points. But even more impressive was Russell forcing O.J. into TEN turnovers (despite O.J. classlessly claiming that Mayo played pretty good defense on himself!). The trojans committed 22 Turnovers as a unit (or “as units?”) compared to only TEN for the Bruins, as the number TEN continues to pop up off the Box Score. The Bruins’ execution might not have been a perfect TEN, but their EFFORT was, and that Spirit is embodied by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who returned from a two-week injury absence and battled his Rust (which Never Sleeps) to score TEN Points and, guess how many Rebounds. That’s right — Another TEN.
Kevin Love also topped TEN in two categories, with a HARD-fought 13 Points and 11 Rebounds. As usual, the Refs allowed Love to get waterboarded underneath, so Love stepped out and drained two Three’s.
AC/DC Darren Collison also played Hell’s Bell’s for troy. He led UCLA in scoring with 14, coming off the worst game of HIS career up in Washington. While DC was Shaking them All Night Long, the Return of Luc disturbed The Force for the trojan Darkside. Luc missed six shots — some poorly-selected — but made up for them with some good moves to the hoop for scores, great Defense, and alert Rebounding.
But it was Russell Westbrook who takes home the Hero moniker this day, as his smothering and truly UNPRECEDENTED Defense on O.J. made the difference in the game. O.J.’s misfortunes, along with the Bruins’ 19-5 edge in Offensive Rebounds had the Bruins in front for almost the entire game, usually by about 6-8 points. But the Bruins couldn’t shake them, making it scarily apparent that even when Mayo wears his Sunday Worst to Sunday Night Mass, the trojans were only one Daniel Hackett away from marring this Bruin season for eternity. They finally opened a double-digit lead, but the Black-wrapped trojans mounted a COMEBACK, cutting the lead to just four.
It seemed like every single Bruin who played made at least ONE big contribution to this victory down the stretch. All three subs made huge plays: James Keefe got a Rebound of a missed Kevin Love Free Throw (easing the sting of a rare off-night from the line for the Bruins by giving them an extra possession); Lorenzo Mata cleanly Blocked a trojan shot in the Paint (to swiftly change Momentum to UCLA’s side); and Alfed Aboya got clear on a back-door, without-the-ball cut, and received the pass cleanly to go right up for the lay-up. All three of these plays were necessary for the Bruins to prevail.
The only participating Bruin that we haven’t mentioned yet is Josh Shipp, and that is due to no fault of his. Shipp played well, and possibly set the tone for the game when he executed the Highlight Reel Play of the Night, with a follow Put-back of a miss in the first few minutes of the game. Shipp showed amazing discipline on D, and his consistent overall effort resulted in 8 Points, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists, and 2 Steals.
The “Ninth Bruin” for this game was usc’s Davon Jefferson, who, despite warnings from Coach Floyd to avoid spewing any bulletin board material, couldn’t resist but to spew some bulletin board material. And Darren Collison made that a LITERAL statement, when he wore a shirt to the game that had Jefferson’s quote posted on it for the whole team to read. Jefferson said that the trojans’ big men were superior to UCLA’s, and that the Bruins better “bring it” to Galen. You want to know what JEFFERSON BROUGHT to the game? A whopping FOUR Points and FOUR Rebounds, and FOUR Turnovers, and FOUR Fouls. And that’s after scoring 25 Points in a beakout game in the last meeting.
After the game, Love said that the Bruins did a good job of executing their game plan, which centered on shutting down Mayo. But it is obvious that Coach Howland also made the proper adjustment to neutralize Jefferson as well. Of course, one adjustment was obvious: The BRUINS were the team that was outhustling the opposition this time. They were all diving for loose balls, including Love, who dived for a ball and tipped it successfully to a teammate while sprawled out on the floor. Love also refused to be bullied, fighting his way through hack after hack to get to the Boards.
This time, the Bruins played like The Rivalry made the Game mean more than any other regular season game, and that’s the way it should be.
[Final Note of the Day: Congratulations to Bruin Star Jason Kapono, who on Sunday won his 2nd straight All-Star 3-Point Shootout, tying a 22-year old Record in the process. In addition to being the two-time Shootout Title Holder, Kapono is also the NBA’s reigning 3-Point Shooting Champion for the regular season as well. One thing is for sure — Jason’s Saturday’s victory, just like the one by his alma mater on Sunday, was no fluke]