Hot Start Not Enough As Bruins Prevail Late

Men's Hoops Editor Ray Salloom provides the Bootleg faithful a look back at the stats and facts after Thursday night's 76-71 loss to the UCLA Bruins at Maples Pavilion. See the flow of the contest, key numbers, and final stats after the Cardinal were not able to hold onto a big lead early against the talented Bruins of Westwood.

The Stanford Cardinal came into tonight's game versus the UCLA Bruins riding a three-game losing streak that was topped off by an embarrassing 68-60 loss at the previously winless in league Oregon Ducks. While the Cardinal played much better this time around, it wasn't enough as the Bruins seized the lead midway through the second half, holding off the Cardinal down the stretch and winning by a final score of 76-71.

Stanford started the game hot, making eight of their nine shots, capped off by a Landry Fields short jumper off an inbounds play, giving the Cardinal a 19-8 edge with 14:25 remaining in the half. Stanford would extend that lead to 26-12 just nine minutes in before they cooled off and UCLA started to up the defense level and shooting percentage. Over the next 2:33, the Bruins would reel off nine in a row, capped by a fast break layup by Alfred Aboya, to cut the lead to five. A Kenny Brown three from the left wing would stop the bleeding and Stanford would hold off the Bruins for the next four minutes before UCLA would break through with another run, this time of the 8-0 variety, to take a 37-35 lead with under a minute to go. Fortunately, Stanford had the last possession and Drew Shiller, who played the final seven minutes of the half, giving starter Mitch Johnson an extended rest, launched a long ball from the left corner, watching it nearly go out, before it got the soft touch off the front rim to stay in the basket, giving the Cardinal a 38-37 lead at the break.

At the half, Stanford was shooting 54% from the field, 60% from long range, and made its only two free throws of the first half. UCLA was steady throughout, also making 54% from the field, 63% from three-point land, and all four of its shots from the charity stripe. The teams were tied on the glass, getting 12 a piece, including four on the offensive glass. Both squads had five turnovers at the break.

Fields led the Cardinal with nine points and five rebounds, followed by Anthony Goods (back in the starting lineup after a one game hiatus) with eight and Josh Owens with six. UCLA was led by Josh Shipp's 14 points on 5-6 shooting and five rebounds. Next in line for the Bruins was freshman phenom Jrue Holiday with six.

The second half started off as most second stanzas have as of late, poorly, as UCLA ran off a 9-2 run over the first 1:59, capped off by a long three-pointer by Shipp from the left corner off a nearly blown up fast break, putting the Bruins up by their biggest margin of the game, six, at 46-40. Stanford, though, would not fold up shop like they did at Pauley, putting together a 10-2 spurt, giving the Cardinal back the lead, 50-48, with 14:53 remaining. The next few minutes saw scrambling on both ends, with Stanford turning the ball over on three possessions, while UCLA took some bad shots of their own. A Nikola Dragovic three-pointer gave the Bruins back the lead at 54-52 heading into the under 12-minute media timeout. That Bruin advantage would fluctuate between two and five over the next seven of play before UCLA put together back-to-back-to-back hoops, capped off by a Shipp layup off a missed Darren Collison attempt, giving the visitors an eight-point lead, 69-61, with 4:38 remaining in the game. Stanford would answer back with a Kenny Brown layin, but Collison's free throw after the final media time out of the game pushed the lead back up to seven with 3:37 to go in the game.

The Cardinal made one more run at the Bruins, getting to within three after two Fields free throws with 1:45 to go. It quite possibly could have been closer, but another offensive rebound tip-in by Aboya before Fields' attempts thwarted that possibility. After the free throws, UCLA ran down the shot clock and got an open look for Dragovic from the right wing, but his three wouldn't fall. Another offensive rebound, however, and foul by Owens on a controversial call put the big man at the line. He missed long, giving the Cardinal a chance to close within one on a two-pointer or tie the game on a long ball. Goods drove to the lane and was fouled by Dragovic, sending him to the bench with five fouls. Anthony would miss the first, but make the second, narrowing the Bruins lead to two with 41.4 ticks remaining. Stanford decided to back off and play defense, but it nearly backfired when Aboya was found wide open under the basket. Lawrence Hill would foul the Cameroon center on his dunk attempt with 14 seconds left, sending the 67% shooter to the line. With ice water in his veins, Aboya made both free throws. Goods would miss a left wing three-pointer, but Fields was fouled on the offensive rebound attempt. However, Landry missed the first free throw, effectively ending the Cardinal's chances. Fields made the second, but Aboya would make two more with under two seconds left to end the game.

Stanford would finish the game shooting 49% from the field, including just 43% in the second half. The Cardinal made 50% of their three-pointers and 80% from the line, but missed four down the stretch, hurting their chances to pull off the win. UCLA shot 52% for the contest, 50% from three-point land, and 71% from the free throw line. The Bruins outrebounded the Cardinal 29-25, including 10-7 on the offensive glass. The advantage helped the Bruins outscore the Cardinal on 2nd chance points by a 14-6 margin. Stanford dished out 13 assists while committing 12 turnovers, while UCLA passed out 15 assists while making only nine turnovers.

Stanford was led by a dejected Anthony Goods who had 18 points on 6-10 shooting. Fields finished with a double-double as he tallied 15 points and 10 rebounds. Owens had 14 on 7-8 shooting, Brown had 10 off the bench, and Hill had eight points and a team-high six assists. UCLA was led by Shipp's 24 on 9-12 shooting, just one point off his career high set earlier this season versus Washington. Aboya was next in line with 16 points, followed by Dragovic's 10 for the Bruins.

The Cardinal will next play a USC Trojans team coming off an 81-78 overtime loss to Cal in Berkeley. Stanford will host that final regular season home game of the year versus USC at 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon.

YouTube - Stanford Postgame Press Conference Video
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