Random thoughts from a fan who has waited 25+ years for a win at Pauley Pavilion.
The game was sloppy, and expected, considering you have two teams who have not played together much. Does this take away from a win at Pauley Pavilion? Absolutely not. You will never be able to take this win anyway, just like you won't be able to take away the Big West Championship, our recent NCAA bid, the NIT wins and all the winning seasons since Bob Burton was hired.
Huge, HUGE confidence builder for a team just coming together. I expect to see more players contributing as the season progresses. I think there were only 11 players (5 for us and 6 for UCLA) who were on the floor during the last 20 minutes (excluding the 5-second count when we brought in Orane Chin and Devon Peltier for free-throw shooting when up by four).
Bob Burton: "We just know how far we have to go offensively and defensively. This was a typical first game, except for the fact that it was at Pauley Pavilion and it was on national TV."
Jacques Streeter may not have had his best game but he was the only guy who I wanted with the ball at the end. While he did miss the free throw, he did make a clutch three and also turned the ball over once in 45 minutes. Great composure for a sophomore, or anyone for that matter.
Aaron Thompson had a break-through game. He was tired at the end but can't fault him for that. He is so good defensively but it was his take-over attitude on offense which help the Titans settle in early on. Definitely the Player of the Game for the Titans.
Gerard Anderson also came up huge. Who could have predicted he would have only two turnovers in 40+ minutes? I think both were very early on when the Titans started off with close to 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
Call it Titan pessimism or physic ability but you knew UCLA was going to take the lead once we built that 10 point advantage. The Titans were the better team and I'm just ecstatic it all worked out.
Did I mention that dunk by Gerard? Can't wait to watch the replay.
Just a note to all the The Beach/Dirtbag/49er/or-whatever-you-are-calling-yourselves-these-days fans: Moral victories are nice but the real ones are even better.
Give an assist to ESPN. No, not because of all the well wishes from senior writer and famous alum Marc Stein, but because the televised broadcast moved the game to 9:00pm which no doubt left a significant amount of their bandwagon fans at home. Also may have helped keep the referees in check.
Thank-you coaching staff. My (Titan) life feels complete now.