Eric Vierneisel missed the game after joining Cal's lengthy injury list when he rolled his ankle at the end of Wednesday's practice.
Arron Afflalo dominated the game with 25 points, 20 in the second half. Cal coach Ben Braun said, "He's an extraordinary player. He is so good at stepping back and creating space off his dribble." Perhaps as important as his offensive contribution, Afflalo and teammates held an under-the-weather Ayinde Ubaka scoreless for the game. Following the game, Coach Braun revealed that Ubaka had missed Tuesday practice with an intestinal virus, and was in and out of the Wednesday session.
|GoldenBearSports.com, Michael Pimentel
Ubaka's Missed Layup
UCLA shot 50% from the field for the game, and held Cal to 22 second half points on 31% shooting. UCLA ratcheted up their outstanding half court defense, and on the occasions when Cal got good looks after half time, they frequently missed. Theo Robertson had a superb game with 16 points. Robertson said, "You have to play pretty much a near-perfect game to play with a team like UCLA. We've got to stick to our game plan for 40 minutes." For the game, the Bears made just 37% of their shots.
The first half did not foretell the final result. Cal came out with great intensity, and built an early 16-8 lead. Their defense was superb in the first 10 minutes.
UCLA coach Ben Howland said, "We got a slow start on offense tonight. You have to credit them (Cal) for part of that."
Offensively, the highlights for the Bears were a long three-pointer from Ryan Anderson with 1 second on the shot clock and dunks by Anderson and Robertson. However, Anderson picked up his second foul with 9:54 left in the half and went to the bench. That was really the turning point of this game.
For the rest of the half, the Bears were in a holding pattern, trying to keep it close with their star freshman on the bench. UCLA immediately went on a 7-0 run to erase the Cal advantage, and gradually took control of the game. Afflalo's three-pointer off an inbounds play with just under 4 minutes left in the half gave UCLA the lead for good, 22-20. The half ended with the Bruins in front 28-24. UCLA won the rebounding battle 17-11, with 7 offensive boards.
|GoldenBearSports.com, Michael Pimentel
The Bench vs. UCLA Jan 2007
As was the case in Eugene last Saturday night, the first five minutes of the second half decided the game. Cal made just 1 of their first 6 shots, and the Bruins took control. Initially Afflalo and Anderson traded baskets, but then the Bruins scored the next five points to take a 35-26 lead. The Bruins opened the lead to 10 on a tip-in by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute with just over 14 minutes to play. Afflalo's three with 9:15 left made it 52-38, and basically it was over. Cal was out of gas, and the Bruins cruised to a decisive victory.
The shorthanded Bears were simply not good enough. Except for Robertson, who played a brilliant 37 minutes, the physical Bruin defense broke the Bears down. Braun was impressed with the Bruins: "They've got guys that can really rebound the ball, they've got guys that are committed to defending. They're not making a lot of mistakes. They defend well. They really have a lot of poise and confidence."
Anderson Rebound vs.UCLA Jan 2007
UCLA executed their defensive game plan against Cal's ball screens. Said Braun, "Their game plan was to not let Ayinde turn the corner and make a play for our team."
With their length and quickness, UCLA disrupted the staple of Cal's offense. They controlled Ubaka and did a good job taking away Ryan Anderson's step back jumper off the screen. To be fair, Anderson missed some open looks from outside the arc.
Cal will need to play 40 solid minutes against USC on Saturday. Coming off a loss to Stanford, the Trojans figure to be highly motivated. Vierneisel will not play Saturday, and the thin and undersized Cal team will be tested. Game time on Saturday is 3:00 p.m.
- Jerome Randle really struggled, surrendering 4 turnovers in just 11 minutes.
- Mbah a Moute also struggled offensively but had 11 rebounds. Lorenzo Mata pulled in 8 boards in just 15 minutes on the floor.
- Josh Shipp was the only Bruin besides Afflalo to reach double figures with 12 points.
- UCLA was only 3-14 on three-pointers, but Cal was not much better, draining just 4-15 threes.
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