Friday, November 16, 2012

UCLA scores 100 in romp over JMU

For the first time since Dec 2009, Howland's squad has scored triple digits.  After's Tuesday's dispiriting OT win over UCI, this was a dominating win that UCLA needed to regain its confidence.  I'm glad I went, since it gave me hope once again that this season may not be as disappointing as the last few years.

Norman Powell rebounded from Tuesday's 0-7 performance and led the team in scoring with a career high 27 points (10-14).  I'm glad the hit to his confidence didn't last past the final buzzer on Tuesday.  He had two breakaway dunks - a 1st half steal resulting in a one-hander, then a resounding alley-oop from Drew in the 2nd half.  He was even 4-5 on 3 pointers.  If Shabazz one day gets to play, I wonder who's minutes will be more severely affected - Powell's or Lamb's.  (Sadly, I guess it'll be Lamb).

Its likely that it won't be Jordan Adams, who became the first freshman at UCLA to score 20 or more points in his first 3 consecutive games.  Granted Alcindor and Walton weren't allowed to play varsity then, but the fact that Jordan is the first to do so since the rule change in 1973 is very impressive.  He was 7-10 from the field including 4-6 on 3s.  He also continued the awesome FT streak with another perfect night: 7-7.  He's at 26 straight.

Josh Smith surprisingly put in a stout 17 minute showing by going 4-4 en route to 11 points while the Wears totaled just 16.  I think we're better off not depending on the Wears every night for the bulk of our scoring.  Tony Parker had a strong night with 12 points as well, but I'd be happy with half that on any given night.

I'd also be happy with Larry Drew finishing with 12 assists a night, playing his role perfectly.  I didn't realize Kyle Anderson was so terrible from the field going 1-10 until I looked at the box score, but I'm sure his wrist injury contributed to that.  Even more surprisingly, he had 12 boards on the night.  Our 4 big men only combined for 17.  But his standout play was the incredible wraparound lead pass to a Wear, resulting in a easy layup.  He's the real deal.

After seeing the Bruins push up court, time and time again and immediately launching a 3 pointer (Adams usually making it) en route to 100 points while consistently leaving open shooters around the perimeter on defense, I realized Howland has perhaps sold his basketball soul to keep his job.  Gone is the tough man to man defense and the grind-it-out offense.  Perhaps he's realized the only way to bring in today's 5 star recruits is to play this style of basketball.  And perhaps he's right.

OR ...maybe its just early and these young guys haven't learned.  Ok, maybe its both.

Anyway, we can't get too high from this win against a miserable James Madison or too low from an extremely impressive UCI squad.  The reality of who we are is somewhere in between.  So if we beat Georgetown on Monday, we get to match up with #1 Indiana.  Hopefully Bazz will be back for that.

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