Thursday, February 28, 2013
UCLA downs ASU in OT, my sons meet 'Bazz
This was my family's last visit to Pauley this year (and perhaps for many years) so an 8:30pm start time didn't deter us at all. By the way, what is up with so many strange start times this season? Back when we were almost exclusively on FSN, 7:30pm every games was the norm. Anyway, all I hoped for was a W so that our last night of new Pauley would live on in our minds just as our last night at old Pauley did (when we upset a ranked Arizona, Trapani scored the last basket of classic Pauley and we took pictures on the old court).
Our 3 freshmen starters certainly carried the scoring load as they each individually outscored the combined output of the other 4 players. Shabazz started the night strong and finished with 21 points (3-4 from 3-point land) and 7 boards. Kyle Anderson had a career high 21 points (8-8 on FTs!) as well and grabbed 15 boards, which was more than twice the number of any other Bruin. Jordan Adams scored a game-high 22 points, his 3rd consecutive game with 20 points or more, including 9 of our last 12 points (6 in OT).
It was also a big statistical night for Larry Drew, whose 13 assists catapulted him from 6th place (205) to 2nd place on UCLA's all-time single season assists list with 218. Pooh Richardson's 1989 mark of 236 is definitely in danger since Drew has somewhere between 4 to 12 (championship!) games left this year. He also posted a season high of 7 turnovers (never even getting to 6 previously) - being haphazard with the ball is certainly uncharacteristic of his year.
Much has been said of Howland, but you cannot deny that his freshmen class has lived up to the enormous expectations placed on them. He recruited them and they are producing. They are not the issue. Our biggest problem is and will continue to be our interior defense and rebounding. The blame rests with Josh Smith's lack of discipline, the Wears lack of athleticism and Tony Parker's lack of experience. A Sweet 16 appearance at this point would be an achievement.
The best part of the night however was that we were able to get down to court level after the game. True, we stayed another 30 minutes after an already late game, but it was worth it. Joe Bruin took my boys on the court and posed for a picture. Kyle, Norman, Jordan and Shabazz were all nice enough to take pics with the boys too. A friend of ours had made my eldest son a shirt which has Shabazz's face on Buzz Lightyear's body - a perfect gift considering my son's twin loves for Disneyland and UCLA bball. My boy couldn't wait to show it to Bazz, who said he liked it and made my son's day. Up to this point, I think his favorite player was Josh Smith. It was one last memorable night at Pauley for one and all.