Eagles lead throughout second half (until Abdul-Hamid lobs in long bomb with 16 seconds left), but miss two potentially game-winning shots in the paint to let UCLA avoid the Sportscenter ridicule that Syracuse got the night before, and that the Football team has been getting all year
The Le Moyne Dolphins got on the map two nights ago, by shocking Syracuse in an Exhibition game and taking “The Lead” on ESPN’s SportsCenter. The Concordia Eagles must have been inspired by the Dolphins’ sudden fame, as they came out on fire, and almost made it happen two nights in a row.
The Eagles faced a UCLA team decimated by graduation, early departure, and injuries. You already know who left, and you know that there’s not much left, but on top of that, the Bruins were without sharpshooter Michael Roll, and Starting Point Guard Jerime Anderson. And with Nikola Dragovic suffering through an off-shooting night, the 2009-10 Bruins were not the better team in Pauley. The Eagles outhustled UCLA, and one of their players was in the zone in the 1st half, giving Concordia a 31-28 lead at the break. Another Eagle got hot and hit two clutch three’s as the Bruins were trying to come back in the late stages of the game.
The Bruins out-rebounded the Eagles 41-21, but thanks to losing the Turnover battle 20-10, UCLA could never sustain a run. The Eagles’ D was more tenacious than UCLA’s. Malcom Lee hit 5 straight points that brought the Bruins close, but then he fouled out, setting the stage for Mustafa Abdul-Hamid’s heroics. It looked like the Bruins wanted Dragovic to take the crucial shot, but he couldn’t get open, so Abdul-Hamid let fly from a few feet beyond the arc… Nothing but net.
The final frantic seconds saw the Eagles get off a couple of short-range shots, but the Defensive pressure forced the shots to go astray, and the Bruins escaped with their dignity. Apparently, Concordia is a National Championship-caliber Program in their division, but Ben Howland still has some work to do… injuries or not. If he’s not careful, his rebuilding year could be as bad as Neuheisel’s two.
Drew Gordon might be the most improved Bruin, scoring 17 and pulling down 11 rebounds, and a couple of Freshmen saw some action (and contributed), but I don’t want to analyze too much of that. It was just 1 Exhibition game, with difficult-to-follow video coverage, so let’s hold off on lasting first impressions of guys that we will be following for several years.
And speaking of following Bruins for years, some Bruins from the Past have been in the news lately, with a varying degree of success:
— Chase Utley tied the All-Time Major League Record by hitting FIVE Home Runs in the World Series, three of them off of the feared CC Sabathia. Unfortunately for Utley, his teammates didn’t back him up, as the Defending World Champs lost the Series to the Yankees, 4-2. Actually, Utley had a couple of chances to prevent the 7-3, Game 6 loss, but did not come through. But matching Reggie Jackson’s classic 1977 effort against the Dodgers is still worthy of great acclaim.
— Spencer Havner showed that his TD catch for Green Bay against Cleveland was no fluke, when he caught TWO MORE, the following week against Minnesota. Unfortunately for Havner, like for Utley, his heroics came in a losing effort, as Bret Favre, Chris Kluwe, and the Vikings were just too much for the Cheeseheads. But that won’t stop Havner from getting picked up in a few Fantasy Football leagues. And I guarantee you that NO Fantasy League had Havner’s name pre-printed on a Tight End card before their Draft.
— Maurice Jones-Drew complained in the Media a few weeks ago that his (ex-trojan) Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio and staff were not using him correctly, Then on this past Sunday Jones-Drew ran for TD’s of 80 and 79 yards, as the Jags rolled over Kansas City. M J-D ended with 177 yards on the ground… on only EIGHT carries. That’s more than 20 yards a carry. I know they won easily, but if you had a Running Back gaining 20+ yards a pop, wouldn’t you give him the ball more than eight times? Maybe Mo was injured, or tired, or the sub needed more experience. All I know is that Jones-Drew leads the League in Touchdowns, and that’s despite playing on a bad team, with a badly-Coached Offense, led by a bad QB. If only Maurice could be traded straight up for Reggie Bush — Jones-Drew would be setting All-Time Records right now if he were playing with Drew Brees in that explosive Saints attack (while Bush is just now starting to see the field, and the End Zone).
— Meb Keflezighi became the first American since 1982 to win the New York Marathon. This UCLA grad (Comm. Studies) was an All-American Track star as a Bruin, and also won a Silver Medal at the Olympics. I just think it’s nice to know that they allow Americans in these big U.S. city Marathons.
— Trevor Ariza has suddenly become the Star of the Houston Rockets. He is avering a startling 21 points a game, which leads his team. The Rockets are missing Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady with injuries, which has left a void that Ariza has filled admirably. The Rockets were doing well behind Ariza, until the Lakers came to town Wednesday night. After Ron Artest — who was on the Rockets last season — made a three to put the Lakers on top in the final seconds, Ariza hit one of his own to send the game into O.T. But at the end of Overtime, with the Lakers up by 1, Ariza was stripped of the ball and time expired. Houston fans, however, should be encouraged — If and when they ever get their two stars back, they know that Ariza can deliver the Artest-caliber Offensive numbers that allowed them to come very close to knocking out the Lakers last season, and maybe a less-hungry Laker team this year would be more ripe for the upset.
— Russell Westbrook, another one of the unsurpassed FOURTEEN Bruins on NBA rosters right now, is the Starting Point Guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and THEY took the Lakers into O.T. the night before. And as usual, Westbrook showed some explosive moves to the hoop. But with time running out, Westbrook was forced to heave up a long shot that clanked off the rim for a Thunder loss. Still, Westbrook looked solid, like someone who could be around for a nice, long Baron Davis-like NBA career… but hopefully HE won’t get marooned on the Clippers. Actually, Davis was instrumental in getting the Clips their first win the other night, and maybe he and Blake Griffin could have the franchise turned around by the time Westbrook’s contract is up.
That’s it for tonight. ESPNU is re-showing Oregon’s demolition of usc, and I have to make sure that Carroll and his ESPN cronies don’t re-edit the footage into an sc win.