Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


The Phew, the Proud…

Label it an Instant Classic:  Bruins record Blue & Gold Record 33rd win, as Texas A&M can’t stop the groovin’ Love – Collison Duo from spinning and scoring in 53-49 comeback thriller

Finally — Some good news for O.J. Mayo:  His “good friend” Kevin Love is going to the Sweet Sixteen.

Thanks to a Resurrection worthy of Easter Eve, the UCLA Bruins have now THOROUGHLY outlasted Mayo’s band of concussion-carriers, by advancing TWO Rounds past where the expired trojans called it quits.  And that’s a pretty good term for it, since the effort that they expended in their loss was less than what they were capable of.  At that point, we said that the Bruins might go down to the Aggies, but that they would go down fighting.

Well, thanks to the PERSONAL-WORST Offensive Performances of THREE Bruin Starters, the Bruins found themselves DOWN BY TEN in the 2nd Half.  And those three, Josh Shipp, Russell Westbrook, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, almost cancelled UCLA’s tickets to Phoenix, as they continued to struggle after the Break.  But all three of them MADE UP FOR IT with intense Defense in the last ten minutes of the game.  They never lost their heart, or their FIGHT. 

Luc pulled down 8 Rebounds and created some unbreakable double-team traps, but most people will remember his SIX Turnovers, including two Charging Fouls, and his 1-for-4 shooting instead of his positive contributions.  In his Defense, he was RUSTY, and coming off an ankle sprain vacation.  However, he didn’t look GIMPY, he just looked bad.  He made poor decisions, and missed easy shots.  There NEEDS to be a way for Ben Howland to reign him in when he isn’t “in the zone.”  He can’t take him out for too long, as the Defense suffers without him.

Russell Westbrook also missed almost everything he took, including an absolute gimme, until the last few minutes of the game.  After laughing in disgust after missing a free throw while being 0-fer from the field, he finally lossened up and showed some of his trademarked explosiveness.  Meanwhile, Josh NEVER snapped out of his SHOOTING slump, going 0-4 on the night and missing the most wide-open Three that he’ll ever see.   And that was after passing up several other open looks.  But Josh never hung his head, and never stopped working his butt off on Defense.  In fact, it was Shipp who got credited with the Game-Winning Blocked Shot.

With the Bruins up by two, the Aggie Star drove the lane on Collison, and Shipp and DC converged on him.  Shipp hit the ball, and according to AP photos, some arm, but a foul is NOT readily visible in TV Replays.  That usually means that it was a pretty tough play to call in real time, and with the recent admonitions to “let the players decide the game,” it’s no surprise that this one went uncalled.  The Aggie fans will be up in arms all year, but  that call would have only sent a guy to the line, with a CHANCE to force Overtime.  It would have been the biggest moment of his life, in HOSTILE territory.  It is ANYTHING but a foregone conclusion that he would have made two out of two.  Furthermore, what IS a foregone conclusion is that if the game somehow DID manage to go into O.T., the Bruins would have won going away.  They had all the momentum, and they had – BY FAR – the two best players on the West Coast.

Kevin Love and Darren Collsion absolutely CARRIED the Bruins to this win.  After the game, Howland prasied his team for refusing to quit, and it was the KL-DC Duo supplying virtually all the firepower, and most of the Never Say Die attitude.  Kevin even turned to the crowd, firing THEM up to help his team.

KLove got 19 Points and 11 Rebounds, but his most impressive stat was his SEVEN BLOCKS.  He was relentless on Interior Defense against the husky Aggies, continuously blocking and altering shots.  The Bruins had 11 Blocks in all, and held A&M to 43% Shooting on the night.

And it was two “low-percentage” shots by Love that just convinced the Country that he’s ready for the NBA, and that kept the Bruins in the Driver’s Seat in the final moments.  With the score tied, Love made consecutive FALLAWAY JUMPERS to give the Bruins the lead.  But the Aggies kept pace, so Collison — who hit his first FIVE Three’s of the game — took over.  In the final two Bruin possessions, Collison drove to his right and got close enough to the hoop for one-handed scoop-shots that dropped in.  The last one was with 9 seconds left, and set up Shipp’s controversial block that ended the Aggies’ Season.

Darren’s 21 Points led the Bruins, but it was the consecutive clutch shots — with the Season on the line — that will probably have Collison joining his teammate in the Pro’s next year.  Hopefully, Love will take his other friend — O.J. — with him too.

But first — hopefully — the 33-3 Bruins (the most wins EVER for UCLA) will go from TAMU to SHAMU, as the University of San Diego plays Western Kentucky today for the right to be UCLA’s next opponent.  Today’s Cinderella match-up should be a whale of a game.  But no matter who wins, the Bruins will be EXPECTED to wail on them in Phoenix, a City which is, coincidentally, named for a resurrection, like the one the Bruins just experienced against Texas A&M, arising from the ashes to soar to the Round of 16. Was gonna have a headline about “Texas S&M,” since the first 30 minutes were so painful (but learned that that pun has already been used [and abused])

"A&M WRECKERS" was published on March 23rd, 2008 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Sports Photos.

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