January 17, 2010

Trojans trample the Bruins

UCLA lost to USC tonight 67 to 46 in a game that was not that close, and to quote UCLA head coach Ben Howland "I am embarrassed". USC led from start to finish and outplayed the Bruins in every category. The Trojans started off scoring the first seven points and never looked back as the Bruins showed very little effort and no heart playing their cross town rivals.

The lack of effort against a team that has self-imposed sanctions that include no post season play was surprising and disappointing. This was the worst loss to USC since the 1946/47 season (pre-Wooden) and happened in front of UCLA's home crowd.

USC led the Bruins at the half by 11, 33 to 21, but had a 17 point lead at the 6:02 mark of the half. UCLA went on an eight to three run to bring the margin down to 11 in the last 4:47 minutes of the half. The Bruins shot a horrible 32 percent, 8 for 25, and 11 percent, 1 for 11 from the three point line. USC shot 48 percent, 12 for 25, from the floor and 33.3 percent, 3 for 9, from the 3 point line. Dwight Lewis led the Trojans with 17 points at the half, shooting 7 for 13 and hitting all three of their 3 pointers. Reeves Nelson and Malcolm Lee, both had 6 points for the Bruins. SC got 21 boards to UCLA's 11.

For the game, SC shot 52 percent from the floor to UCLA's 33.3 percent. The Trojans also hit.42.9 percent of their 3s to UCLA's 15 percent (3 for 20). SC out-rebounded the Bruins 37 to 22. Lewis ended up with 24 points while Nikola Vucevic got 19 and 6 boards for the Trojans.

Marcus Johnson chipped in with 10 points while Alex Stepheson got 9. For the Bruins, Michael Roll and Malcolm Lee each scored 12 points, Reeves Nelson got 9, James Keefe got 5 points, Tyler Honeycutt scored 4, Mustafa Abdul-Hamid got 2 as did Nikola Dragovic who shot 0 for 6 from the floor. Jerime Anderson did not score and sat out the entire second half with some kind of injury not explained by the coach. Honeycutt led the Bruins with 5 rebounds and Keefe got 4.

This was a game where the Bruins lack of both athletic ability and desire exposed them against a team with plenty of both. UCLA was out jumped, out quicked, out hustled and totally out played on both ends of the court. SC went out to a 23 point lead with 11:52 left in the game and the Bruins could get no closer than 16 points in the second half after that.

Coach Howland was discouraged after the game, saying that "SC dominated from the beginning" and "they were more physical, beat us to loose balls". He said that "we struggled on offense, we haven't had a charge in three games, we are not athletic, the players were not well prepared, we need more patience and we were out rebounded because we missed so many shots". Starter Dragovic did not take a shot in the second half after shooting zero percent in the first half. Anderson did not practice for two days with his injury.

UCLA is a team that is going in the wrong direction with these two embarrassing losses to Stanford and USC. The rest of the season looks to be more of the same as the coaches do not seem to be able to fix what is wrong with the team.

Players going pro early, poor recruiting choices and lack of player improvement are killing the Bruins this season. It is telling how bad UCLA played this afternoon and it does not look to get any better for the rest of the year.

Thursday the Washington schools show up and UCLA is looking at two more losses if they play them as poorly as they played USC. UCLA is now 7 and 10 for the season. They will suffer a losing Pac-10 season and a losing overall season unless Coach Howland finds a way to reverse the team's momentum.

UCLA's collapse has been very quick, it has been a very long time since any UCLA team collapsed the way this team has in such a short time. Two years ago they were in the Final Four.

Now the Bruins are at the bottom of the Pac-10, which has no team in the top 25. It is shocking how bad this team is right now.


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