Bruin fans are spared having to rev up for sc, as UCLA hogs 3rd straight Pac-10 Title with 77-67 come-from-behind-late Overtime victory
Now you don’t have to worry about rooting for usc to beat Stanford in order to give the Bruins the Conference Title. UCLA took care of that on Thursday night, when they clinched their third consecutive Pac-10 Title with a 77-67 O.T. win over Stanford at Pauley Pavilion. Surprisingly, that is the first time that a Bruin Coach has accomplished a Threepeat since John Wooden. Speaking of Wooden, he is expected to be returning home (from the hospital) in a few short days. He is just changing his medication due to an irregular heartbeat. Of course, if he watched this game, his heartbeat might have been jolted back into a regular beat, because the Bruins were the Cardiac Kids in their late comeback against the Cardinal.
The Arena was really sold out this time (not like with Oregon, where there was still a block of open seats despite being declared a sellout), but the Cardinal kept the crowd quiet for most of the night. After Kevin Love got a dunk to start the game, Stanford reeled off 12 straight points, and controlled the game… until the end.
Love had the Bruins’ first 6 points, but he struggled to get good shots off against Stanford’s Twin Towers, and the rest of the Bruins weren’t hitting their shots, including Josh Shipp again. The Cardinal built a 28-14 lead, and took a 30-18 lead into the locker room, as the Bruins shot only 32% before Intermission.
The Bruins made some runs in the second half, spurred by their excellent Defensive Double-Teams down low, but the Cardinal always had an answer. The margin was down to four, but they built it back up to 11 with about 5 minutes to go, and still led by 5 with 2 minutes to go.
But the Bruins REFUSED TO QUIT, and got some put-backs and made some free throws to even it up. Russell Westbrook made two (the first one bounced two feet above the rim before falling through), and Darren Collison made the two with 2.5 seconds left to force O.T.
Every Stanford fan in the World will tell you that Collison did not deserve those last two free throws. The Television announcers agree with them. The defender Lawrence Hill made what looked like a clean block of Collison’s short baseline jumper. Announcer Michael Eaves was very upset on the air and off. There is no doubt that Hill got “all ball,” HOWEVER, there was clearly contact with the body. If you look closely, Collison jumps into Hill, but since Hill is bigger, when HE jumps up, he knocks Collison back just a little, and that must have been what the Referee called.
The point is that the announcers all completely missed the body contact, not even discussing if it was caused by Darren, and, that if it WAS a bad call at that juncture of the game, it wasn’t a horrible call that single-handedly cost Stanford the game. However, that didn’t stop Michael Eaves from going around after the game and consoling the Stanford players, Coaches, fans, and staff by telling them that they were robbed, and that the Refs CHOKED.
Give it a rest, Michael. We told him that that ONE CALL did not win the game for UCLA, but he ignored the comment.
Collison himself doesn’t seem to think that he got fouled, but that it was a make-up call. That could be true, considering that 8 seconds earlier, Hill crashed into Love while making the go-ahead bucket, and there was no call. The Announcer called him off-balance, as in “out-of-control,” and Love looked set, so maybe the Refs felt that they didn’t want their non-call to decide the game.
But what is the Stanford fans’ excuse for their team completely folding in O.T.? Their Offense lost its zeal, and the Bruins shut them down, covering the 8.5 spread in O.T., which is just NOT FAIR to the bettors. As we have said before, in gambling, an O.T. win should be counted as a win by one-half point. No way did Bruin bettors deserve to win that wager, as the final margin wasn’t close to being indicative of that game (these aren’t “sour grapes,” as WE no longer gamble). Also sad for many bettors, was that the UNDER was a lock… until the game went into Overtime.
The Bruin Stars were Collison, for the two game-tying free throws, for lots of penetration, and for his game-high 24 Points. Despite Love having trouble getting out from under the Twin Coverage, he still scored 17, grabbed 10 Boards, and dished out 5 Assists. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute also snared a Double-Double, with 10 Points and 11 Boards, and only 1 Turnover. Luc got one of those huge Put-backs, and on his ensuing missed free throw, Westbrook, got the other one.
Lorenzo Mata-Real and Alfred Aboya were huge contributors, especially on the Defensive end. Saturday will be Mata-Real’s final Home game, and Ben Howland REQUESTS that he be given the most gigantic cheer of the season, for all the hard work and effort that Lo has put in. Lorenzo is Ben’s first Four Year Player, who IS on track to graduate (a fact which Ben is the MOST proud of). So if you can come out on Saturday, please give Mata-Real his due.
And Saturday will be your last chance to meet the Spirit Squad in person. The Cheer Squad unveiled new uniforms last night. They are bare-midriff, really showing off the Girls’ incredible tone. They also have long sleeves, which does mean less skin, but which give them a unique, colorful touch. You can judge for yourself below and in the near future. Our job will be to make sure that we don’t post any pics that – due to an awkward bend or bad lighting – show a “muffintop” that absolutely does not exist. We were just wondering if the girls felt any extra scrutiny, and hope they are comfortable — They SHOULD be, because in real time, in real life, they look simply awesome.
Speaking of comfortable, we met a few people yesterday who made us feel more than comfortable to be Bruin Spirit Fans. One was a friend of the Spirit Family for many years, who shared fun stories about the days of yore, about all sorts of fun stuff, including about “Mother Mollie!” And speaking of Mothers, we also met a most charming woman who just happens to be a UCLA Spirit MOM. And no, she didn’t want to kill us for exploiting her Child — She actually THANKED us for posting the pics, saying that they download them all the time, and are even making a Photo Album with OUR photos. You have no idea how touched we were. NOW do you understand why we don’t post certain Cheer shots? So that we can have a moment like we had last night with this sweet person, who actually asked to meet us (we think).
And a special thanks to the person who introduced us. We don’t want to embarrass him or anything, but did you know that the UCLA Spirit Squad has someone who Harvard Law wants, but probably won’t get?! How cool is that? Congratulations and many thanks go out to this person, who has aided our transition into being friends with everyone, instead of some mysterious enemy. Speaking of which, the (secret) person that we met with briefly after the game looked SO good, even up close, after that three-hour, highly-emotional ordeal, and, COULDN’T HAVE BEEN ANY MORE PLEASANT AND NICE. So, thank you, and “we” hope everything works out okay.
Two more things before we unleash the photos: Ex-trOJan Todd Marijuanovich’s little brother was arrested for breaking and entering a weight equipment room. He’s a Freshman at Syracuse, where apparently, they keep their Steroids in the Weight Equipment Room. Papa must be proud. Well, relatively speaking, he probably IS proud — At least this one wasn’t injecting Meth… as far as we know.
And finally, on a lighter note (not a BIC lighter), the Stanford Commercial aired on Prime during the game, with the cat and the laser pointer, is now our favorite college commercial of all time. We are the most biased people in the World, but UCLA has never shown this kind of sense of humor – while delivering a valid promo. It’s even funnier than that “Hot! Hot! Hot!” Appalachian State film that was making the rounds last year. Nice work, Trees! Now go beat sc.
Below are 23 mouse-over captioned photos from Thursday night, with more to come all week. And they enlarge when you click on them.