After the Buzzer: UCLA’s Fab Five DebutPosted by rtmsf on November 12th, 2008
Story of the Night. UCLA’s freshman class. Last year’s freshman class arguably boasted the best player in the country in Kevin Love, but this year’s version, while lacking in equivalent star power, may more than compensate for Love’s loss with its depth and diversity of skills. Jrue Holiday was the only rookie starter tonight in UCLA’s win against Prairie View A&M, but his four classmates (Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson and J’Mison Morgan) each came off the bench and contributed aplenty. The quintet accounted for 41% of the minutes, 44% of the points, 44% of the rebounds and 43% of the assists tonight in the 82-58 win. Ok, and 54% of the turnovers, but still, not a bad start for this freshman class of Bruins. As for the game itself, it appears that UCLA still knows how to rebound (41-18) and the defense is still stingy – Prairie View was held to a mere 23% shooting in the first half; the fact that they shot 42% for the game indicates that either UCLA lost focus in the second half or Prairie View settled down – we’re leaning toward the former as an explanation. Darren Collison led the way as he hit five threes en route to a 19/3/4 asst night. The Bruins will play Miami (OH) tomorrow night in the second round of the CvC in a game that should combine for about 50 total pts. Once again, ESPN isn’t allowing embedded videos so we’ll have to settle for linked highlights.
Other Games. S. Illinois 80, UMass 73. We thought this would be the best game of the night, and it looks like we were right, as S. Illinois got themselves down nine at halftime to UMass before storming back behind nine threes in the second half to pull away in the last few minutes to win another home game. Bryan Mullins had a huge night for SIU, going for 16/13/4 stls for the home team, but Kevin Dillard’s four threes in the second half didn’t hurt. UMass was led by Ricky Harris with 24/5, but the stat that jumped off the Minutemen’s page was starting PG Chris Lowe’s TEN turnovers (with zero assists). Michigan 76, Northeastern 56. Gotta admit that we thought this game had upset potential, and we couldn’t have been more wrong. Michigan’s Manny Harris followed up his impressive season debut with nearly a trip-dub (26/10/8 assts), as UM held Northeastern to 29% shooting (17% from three) for the game. UM Hoops points out that, if Michigan is going to threaten this year, they’ll need to shore up their work on the boards. Northeastern grabbed twenty offensive rebounds tonight (amazingly, they only had 29 total boards), and with UCLA looming on the horizon next week in MSG (probably), the Wolverines will need to repair that deficiency. Miami (OH) 70, Weber St. 66. So in the other half of the Westwood bracket, Miami (OH) won a game on a three by Kenny Hayes (24 pts) with 1.7 seconds left on the clock, despite losing nearly every major statistical category in the game. The Redhawks were outshot (by 10% FG), outrebounded (by 7), outassisted (by 3), and yet they still prevailed. How? Turnovers, kids. Seven additional TOs by Weber St. gave Miami just enough extra possessions to sneak by. Miami will play UCLA tomorrow night for the right to play at MSG, and we expect Charlie Coles to have something up his sleeve to make this game interesting for a while.
On Tap Thursday (all times EST).
UCLA (-15) v. Miami (OH) on ESPNU- 11pm