For the past few months, UCLA has been committing tons of mistakes, but escaping with victories. On Sunday against Cal, their luck finally ran out.
- The Bruins tendency to turn the ball over finally caught up to them. They once again had more turnovers than the opponent (18 to 11), throwing the ball away carelessly several times. The most damaging one came in the opening minutes of overtime, when Gutierrez stole the ball from Tyler Honeycutt and made the layup at the other end to give Cal a 64-62 lead.
- Honeycutt has been showing some progress in his passing game lately. However, his passing ability seemed to regress greatly in this game. He made some horrible passes which led to turnovers, and all in all he ended up with 6 TOs and 0 assists.
- Joshua Smith got his fourth foul with about six minutes left in the second. He was still out there for most of the rest of the half and OT, however, he was playing extremely cautiously, to the point where he almost seemed like a defensive liability because he was trying so hard not to pick up that fifth foul.
- Jorge Gutierrez had a fantastic game, scoring 34 points and leading the Bears to a victory when several other teams collapsed against UCLA in similar circumstances. He was especially effective on the ball screen. That being said, he apparently graduated from the Manu Ginobili school of “violently falling to the floor whenever anyone makes the slightest bit of contact against you.” As frustrating as that strategy is for the other team, it proved effective at times in this game as it got some Bruins in foul trouble that they might not have been in without his sell, and caused the refs to send him to the line several times, where he shot 11 for 12.
- Interestingly, UCLA played zone defense for a brief period of time in the second half (for the first time this season). Howland usually abhors playing a zone defense, but it did its job in this game, helping catch Cal off guard and slowing down their offense for a period of time in the second half. After a few three pointers busted the zone, however, the Bruins switched back to man-to-man.
- Although Cal ended up getting the W, it was curious that Allen Crabbe didn’t send Malcolm Lee to the line for two when Lee hit the shot to send the game into OT. Obviously the risk is that the guy will rise up and try to make a shooting motion in the process, but there was enough time where Lee was manuevering around where Crabbe could have easily bearhugged him and prevented him from the act of shooting.
- As soon as Lee hit the buzzer beater for UCLA to send the game into OT, the Cal student section and band behind the backboard looked frustrated and exasperated. That is, except for one lone member of the Cal band, who started jumping and cheering for some reason. (He either mistakenly thought that the ball rimmed out, or he’s the brother of that USC song girl from those photos who cheered when other teams kicked field goals against USC).
- Cal fans rushed the court after the win. The unranked, March Madness bubble team Bruins should probably take this as a huge compliment.
About the Author
Written by Josh Lehmer
2009 UCLA graduate. Worked at NBC-Los Angeles from 2008-2009, then as ESPN Production Assistant. Fan of the UCLA Bruins, Lakers, Angels, Ducks.