January 31, 2010

UCLA beats Beavers

UCLA overcame a sloppy first half to take the game away from Oregon St. 62 to 52 on the road. UCLA committed 12 turnovers in the first half while making only 11 shots but still led at the half by six, 24 to 18, as they shot 53 percent from the floor to Oregon St.'s 38 percent. UCLA hit 3 of 6 of their threes while the Beavers only hit 2 for 7 from beyond the arc.

In the second half UCLA scored first but the Beavers went on a 6-0 run to tie it at 26 all at the 17:19 mark. Oregon scored twice more to UCLA's once to lead 30 to 28 but then UCLA outscored the Beavers 16 to 5 to pull away for good with 8:26 left in the game.

The Bruins led by 15 points,55 to 40 at the 1:38 mark before Oregon State made some steals and some shots to bring the margin down to 6, 58 to 52 with one half minute left in the game. It ended with the Bruins getting the last 4 points in a relatively easy win on the road for the 10 and 11 Bruins, who are now 5 and 4 in the Pac-10 Conference.

UCLA's 2-3 zone was much more effective than the Beaver's 1-3-1 zone and the shooting percentages show that. UCLA shot 65.7 percent for the game to Oregon State's 37.3 percent. UCLA also hit 44.4 percent of their threes while the Beavers could only shoot 21.7 percent UCLA hit a nice 80 percent of their free throws as well.

For the Bruins, Reeves Nelson got 14 points on 7 for 8 shooting along with 12 rebounds. Nikola Dragovic got 13 points on 5 for 9 shooting and 1 for 5 from the 3-point line. Michael Roll picked up 11 points and five boards on 4 for 8 shooting, Malcolm Lee scored 9 points shooting 3 for 4, Tyler Honeycutt added 7 points and 3 boards shooting 2 for 4, Jerime Anderson, playing for the first time in three games had 3 points shooting 3 for 4 from the free throw line, Mustafa Abdul-Hamid accounted for 3 points and James Keefe had two.
For Oregon State Calvin Haynes, the Beavers leading scorer, got 16 points, but only shot 5 for 20 from the floor and 3 for 12 from the 3-point line. Roeland Schaftenaar had 11 points, shooting 5 for 8 for the Beavers only other player in double figures.

This was a nice win, but not a dominating victory over the worst team in the Conference, UCLA's zone was more aggressive than it was in Thursday's loss as it double teamed the ball on most of the Beaver's possessions. The Bruins offense was much better as they were able to exploit Oregon State's 1-3-1 zone for back-cuts and open shots most of the game.

UCLA comes home next week to play Stanford and Cal, two very important games if the Bruins wish to get on top of the PAC-10 race. They need to bring more intensity to their zone defense all game long to win these games while finding and hitting more open shots on offense as well.

Nelson continues to grow in his role as UCLA's most reliable scorer and rebounder. His contributions have become vital to UCLA's winning games. Honeycutt has also become an important player which is why he has earned a starting spot. Lee is getting more used to playing the point and still being able to score some points. Roll is always good for scoring in double figures and Dragovic is shooting a little better and trying to play tougher defense.

This team does exhibit the potential to win the conference if it continues to improve. But as we have seen, it also can play pretty bad and lose games to inferior opponents. How they finish will depend on the intensity they bring to their remaining games.

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