Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


Howland, We Have a Problem — With the Bruins up by 11 with 4 minutes to go in the 1st Half, a power surge knocks out the Arena lights, then Texas outscores UCLA by 21 in the next 21 minutes to rocket to a 69-59 victory

Everything started out great and all systems were GO:  UCLA hit their first six shots, and built a quick 9-point lead over Texas right off the launchpad.  They upped the lead to 11, with Lazeric Jones scoring 9 of his season-high 21 Points in the 1st Half.  Both Wear Twins were contributing, and the Defense was causing Texas fits.  Then, with 3:59 to go before Halftime, the lights suddenly went out, due to a power surge.  The game was delayed for 11 minutes, and soon after that, the Longhorns surged.

The Bruins still led by 11 with 1 minute to go until Intermission, but Texas went on a 5-0 run to trim the margin to 6 at the Break…  And the Bruins never regained momentum.  In the 2nd Half, the Bruin Defense lost its tenacity, and the Bruin shooters lost their touch.  UCLA went stone cold from outside AND inside — In fact, they missed enough bunnies to start their own Bunny Ranch.  The Wears and Josh Smith kept getting the ball in deep, or in put-back situations, and couldn’t put the ball in the hoop.  On one possession, they missed 4 staight one-footers.

Texas methodically built up the lead to about 7, and the Bruins couldn’t counter.  Jones was the only threat, and his occasional Three’s would cut the lead to 3 or 4, but then Texas would come right back with a Three of their own, or with a backdoor cut for an easy bucket.  The Bruins’ WEAKSIDE HELP DEFENSE was not effective at all.

The fans were chanting for Reeves Nelson to be put back in the game, but because RN had played such a totally ineffective and scoreless 1st Half, Coach Ben Howland did not put him into the game at all in the 2nd Half.  Without Nelson, the Bruins were just too soft, and too tentative inside.  Smith is still too un-aggressive, repeatedly refusing to dunk balls that he instead bricked from point-blank range.  The Wears also were just too “finesse-y” in the paint.  All that pussy-footing around gave Texas the edge.  Even on Defense, the Bruins were not intimidating at all, blocking only 1 shot all day.  Without Nelson’s former FIRE, the team is lacking passion.  His anger used to pump the team up.  Now they play like a  schizophrenic on debilitating medication — In Trance, like Zombies.  It’s like Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” AFTER the electroshock therapy.  In the 2nd Half, Texas clearly outhustled the Bruins, beating them to all the long rebounds and loose balls.

Without that emotion and desire, the Bruin Defense doesn’t work.  The players are too slow and plodding to get back in position after hedging, and can’t stay in front of quick penetrators.  Sure the Bruin D looked fine against Pepperdine, but it was exposed by the unranked (and very young) Longhorns, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Howland break down and go to a ZONE very soon.

The depressing loss ties a bow on a tough week to be a Bruin fan, along with the last two Football games and with the apparent strike outs on the Coaching Search.  A few other Sports are competing for National Titles this week, but until they bring home UCLA’s next Championship, the only thing we can hang our hat on is the brilliance of the UCLA Spirit Squad.  Thank God they all flew back from Oregon in time to grace us with their presence on Saturday.  And as a Texas Treat surprise, the Dance Team did a special performance to Jessica Simpson’s version of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” complete with denim cut-off shorts and cowboy boots!!  Choreographed by Nicolette, the Captian of the Dance Team herself, the routine was BY FAR, the highlight of the afternoon.  You can see stills of it below, in a 40-photo pictorial of Game and Cheer shots from Saturday.  Click on the pics to ZOOM in.

"DARK SIDE OF THE SWOON" was published on December 4th, 2011 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos, UCLA/usc/Sports Photos.

Comments on "DARK SIDE OF THE SWOON": 1 Comment

  1. dswenson wrote,

    Ben Howland’s stubborn attitude toward his players is beginning to show its ugly head (actually for at least 2 years now). He sits Nelson down now, instead of starting him, after Nelson has apologized to his team. It has been said that once you get on Ben’s s— list, you never get off. I believe it now. Nelson is a spark plug for our team and always is in there fighting for the ball. We need him on the court – not watching. Ben has turned many good players away from UCLA only to play at other schools and do well. Howland, not Neuheisel, is the one that should go!!!

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