Thursday, February 3, 2011

UCLA 64 - sc 50

I can't remember ever seeing this many students at a UCLA game before.  In addition to the full courtside section, students occupied the entire West sideline of the upper tier and wrapped around behind my section to halfway behind the basket.  They were worked up and loud for this game.  I think it probably has to do with the fact that Howland went to visit many frats and sororities to demand that they support the team.

I'm glad I didn't bring my son to this game.  Replacing "fight fight fight" with chants of "blank-s-c" is not my idea of a family atmosphere.  I guess that's one good thing about the 8pm start time - less kids in the building.  I wish the students would try to show a little more class.  Or at least replace the chant.  But, I love the spirit.

Having not beat sc in 4 games was embarrassing and this would've set a series record for consecutive defeats.  I cared more about winning this game than even football signing day.

I will always remember two moments from this game.

First, Josh Smith's first touch in the post just minutes in set the tone for the game.  He made one strong move through his defender and dunked it.  I leapt out of my seat.  It wasn't even just about this game.  This was about the 300 pound bull we recruited.  This is what should happen the rest of his career.  Smith had his way in this game.

Second, up by 8 with 4:30 left, a trojan guard had an easy cherrypicking layup to cut it to 6 as well as possibly generate a momentum swing.  Lazeric Jones came sprinting after him and devastatingly blocked the shot.  We managed to grab possession while the trojan fell emascalated to the ground.  Students and alumni alike jumped out of their seats to let out a gutteral yell.  Or maybe it was just me.  Had Honeycutt made the subsequent 3, Pauley might've collapsed.

The celebration by the players at final buzzer was memorable as well.  You'd think they might be overreacting but you have to remember that the freshmen, sophomores and 1 junior transfer (basically our whole team except Malcolm and Jerime) have never beaten sc before.  I say, party on.  Its wins like this that can change a season for a tourney bubble team like ours.

Please beat Lavin on Saturday.  Please.

Other observations:

- Howland's team held sc to 15 2nd half points.

- Jerime Anderson is so much better than last year.  He has developed himself into being a great option off the bench and is confidently hitting much needed jumpers at opportune times.

- Going forward, Stover might be the better option than Lane off the bench because of his ability to block shots.  Lane needs to either assert himself more offensively by taking and making jumpers, which I know he can do, or grab more rebounds.  Otherwise, at least Stover is positively contributing to one side of the court.  Sadly, with the twins coming in next year, Lane may have to consider a transfer in the offseason.

- Honeycutt is not showing the ability to dominate games as you would assume a future 1st rounder should be able to.  I still think he's leaving after this season, but his nondescript play is giving me hope.  Or maybe its just the flu.

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