Cougar Bounces: UCLA

It was too little too early for the BYU Cougars at UCLA's storied Pauley Pavillion last night. The Cougs used lights out three-point shooting to overcome an eight-point first half deficit and take a nine-point first half lead. They literally gave the game away, however, by coughing up the ball almost two dozen times. On the bright side, BYU proved that they can play with anyone in the country.

Speed kills. In the season opener between BYU and UCLA, the Bruins used their speed to victimize the Cougars.

While the game was actually closer than the final 82-69 score, the Bruins quickness forced BYU into 23 turnovers. They converted those turnovers into 35 points. They also used their speed to out-hustle BYU and grab 14 offensive rebounds.

Although it was still just a nine-point game with three minutes to go, BYU could not mount the comeback and fell off at the end.

The Cougars actually jumped out to a first half lead. Thanks in large part to 8-9 shooting from the three-point line, but the Bruins' ability to get second shots, despite giving up several inches in the post, kept the game close.

UCLA forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had career high in points (24) and had a game-high 11 rebounds. Darren Collison also proved too much for the BYU guard line as he scored 19 points. He was also able to penetrate at will and dished out 10 assists.

All in all, it was a decent showing for BYU. Coach Dave Rose would probably have laughed at the thought of committing that many turnovers and still being in the game late. While the Cougars are definitely disappointed in the outcome, it was a promising game. The Cougars should take heart in knowing that they can hang with the best in college basketball.

GRADES Point: C-. Eight assists is a nice number, but eight turnovers are way too many, especially on the road against such a quality opponent. Two for ten shooting will not get it done either. Wing: B+. The wings will probably not shoot 8 for 10 from the three-point line every night, but they did against UCLA. Their shooting built BYU's halftime lead. Jimmy Balderson also scored seven points in the second half to keep BYU in the game. Post: C-. Keena Young led the Cougars with 16 points. But there was precious little else from the post. Vuk Ivanovic and Fernando Malaman played a combined 21 minutes, but grabbed a meager two rebounds. Trent Plaisted was a non-factor due to foul trouble. Coach: B. The game plan was there. The Cougs came ready to play and were not intimidated. Coach Rose managed his players well in the first half and encouraged his team to get back in the game in the middle of the second half. He was unable to find solutions to UCLA's halftime adjustments, however. He may also have stayed with Rashaun Broadus too long in the second half. Spiff's Observations

- In the second half, BYU had 13 possessions in which they failed to get a shot off. Much of this was due to the Bruins' pressure on defense. Seven of those possessions were with Broadus at the point; six with Austin Ainge.

- With 6:30 left, the Cougs were down just two points. UCLA finished the game on an 18-7 run.

- With 4:04 left, Plaisted went to the free throw line for two shots in a six-point game. He missed both and UCLA cruised to victory.

- With about 90 seconds left, Lee Cummard was whistled for a flagrant foul. It was a weak call. He was in front of the player and made a clear play on the ball. The Bruin did fall to the floor, but it was not worthy of an intentional foul.

- The Bruin speed was on full display when they broke a full court press with one dribble and two passes. It created a two-on-one situation very quickly.

- BYU's shooting in the first half was nothing short of spectacular. Both Ainge and Mike Rose were knocking down three-pointers five feet behind the line. Sam Burgess also shot well.

- Cummard had a great block on Collison which he then saved to a teammate and created a fast break chance on the other end.

- There were far too many traveling calls on BYU. The Cougars must learn to not shuffle their feet.

- It also seemed at times that BYU was in fast-forward, or at least their minds were. Several of the turnovers were created by the Cougars just rushing things when they had time and did not have to hurry.

- Plaisted must do better at handling the double-team. He is going to see it all year. One thing that might help would be to go to a quick move, but to do that, he will need to catch the ball more cleanly. A bobble allows the double-team to develop.

- If you go back to the Houston game at the end of last year, Broadus and Ainge have combined for 21 turnovers in the last two games and the Cougars have 48.

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