Monday, November 26, 2012

UCLA gets embarrassed by Cal Poly SLO

The only thing memorable about this night was that we finally got to see John Wooden's statue, now that he has been unboxed after sc week.  It is well done.

And also Shabazz in UCLA home whites.  Otherwise, we've now lost twice to unranked teams in our first 6 games.  Howland's team is playing with an alarming lack of intensity.  After having a 51-33 lead with nearly 12 minutes left in the game, UCLA was outscored 37-17 the rest of the way to lose 70-68.  True, Cal Poly made 6 three pointers in that last 12 min stretch (they only made 9 on the night), but our defensive effort was missing.  To make things even more frustrating, Norman Powell still didn't realize the score (even though we had just had a timeout) and fouled them with 12 seconds left WHEN WE WERE TIED.  Their subsequent FTs and a Adams missed 3 finished us off.

Shabazz managed to score 15 points and grabbed 10 big rebounds but looked still out of rhythm to me.  He shot a poor 4-13 on the night.  Even so, in the last 4 minutes, he didn't even attempt a shot.  I would have liked to see us run a play or five for the best prep player in the nation in crunch time.

Kyle Anderson was relegated to the bench as Howland still prefers to start both Wear brothers when he can.  He continued his poor shooting and didn't manage a basket in the game.  As for Travis Wear, I don't understand how he can play 34 minutes, most of which at center, and only have 4 rebounds.

Big picture, our main problem is our defense.  Clearly none of our 4 bigs can defend one-on-one.  Kyle and Jordan Adams are poor perimeter defenders.  Drew and Norman are not exceptional either.  Our most experienced defender was Tyler Lamb, who announced before the game that he intends to transfer.  As I mentioned before, he had likely dropped below Powell, Adams and Shabazz for minutes.  But he and Shabazz were clearly the best options when we need a stop.  It was a bad day all around.

As low as things seem now, it is still extremely early.  If Howland can get this team to gel offensively and play hard defensively, we have the talent to turn things around by the time Pac12 play starts in late December.  After all, of our 9 man rotation, 5 players are new.  I think Howland will.  If not, he won't be around past this season, let alone hope to have his own statue erected one day.

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