Bruins Run Over Simon Fraser, 97-48

"The Clan" didn't have much, and once UCLA shook off the early jitters, they showed off their improved shooting ability as a team and overall improved feel for the game from last season, beating Simon Fraser in an exhibition, 97-48...

Even though it was something to be excited about, seeing the 2004-005 edition of the UCLA Bruins for the first time was also bittersweet.

For the game, Dijon Thompson wore a wrist band with the #21 on it, which was a reminder.

Maybe because the team was a bit in mourning, they played like they were dead for the first four minutes, but then ran off one of the worst exhibition opponents in years, Simon Fraser, 97-48. 

As Head Coach Ben Howland said at his press conference after the game, it was impressive that the team scored 97 points in 36 minutes.

The starters were Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo, Dijon Thompson, Ryan Hollins and Michael Fey.

And those five starters were completely out of sync, nervous and just plain awkward for those first four minutes. Arron Afflalo missed his first two three-point attempts, and his first two free-throw attempts, and picked up two quick fouls. Both post players didn't touch the ball much, and when the did, it wasn't pretty.  It wasn't until about the 14-minute mark that Howland subbed in Matt McKinney, Lorenzo Mata and Brian Morrison, and those three jump-started the rout. 

But even after those first four hapless minutes, it was obvious that if UCLA allowed Simon Fraser to score more than 50 points in this game, defense would be the most critical worry for this team.

And it still might be, specifically interior post defense.  Hollins and Fey didn't play it with much intensity, particularly in the first half, and Mata is very inexperienced, allowing the Fraser post, Aaron Christensen, to score in the block fairly easily.  Fey and Hollins picked up their defense in the second half.

The perimeter defense was decent, with Farmar applying good pressure on the opposing point guard, even though he wasn't too much of a challenge to guard. Afflalo showed how good of a defender he is, and Thompson had good intensity.  

Offensively, once the team started to feel comfortable and shook off the jitters, they started to score very easily.  Jordan Farmar, too big and quick for the opposing point guard to defend, led UCLA with 19 points.  Thompson had 13 in just 18 minutes. 

Offensively, it's obvious the new dimension that Farmar brings to the team, being able to find his shooters with smart passes, and run the offense so efficiently.  His ability to bring the ball up the court created many transition opportunities. 

With Bozeman out, Morrison looks to get the back-up point guard minutes and handled them fairly well tonight. In the first half, at off-guard, his outside shooting touch was spectacular, able to catch and shoot from anywhere on the court beyond the arc.  For the game he made some very nice - if a bit overly flashy - passes, but then had a few turnovers when he was a bit out of control. In other words, he's still the same Morrison.  And without Bozeman, UCLA will have to take the advantages he brings to the court along with the occasional mistake.  He did have a few nice alley-oop passes to McKinney. And when he and Farmar are on the court together he needs to know he has to get the ball into Farmar's hands as quick as possible.  Morrison was also all over the boards, leading the team with 8 for the night (tying McKinney).  With 11 points, 8 boards and 9 assists, he was close to a triple double.

Afflalo struggled a bit, missing some open looks, shooting 3 for 9 for the game. He did finally hit an open three in the second half. He played good defense, and it looks clear that the offense will try to get him matched up against smaller, weaker guards, many times in the post.

Thompson had the stitches removed from his shooting hand Thursday, and had his two fingers taped together so the cut wouldn't be ripped open. He said after the game that it still hindered his shooting stroke. Thompson looked aggressive rebounding, finishing with 7 boards.

McKinney is definitely going to get time, being easily one of the best rebounders on the team, finishing the game with 8.  He made some very nice plays, one on defense where he forced a five-second call, and getting a few very nice rebounds in traffic.  He had a nice up-and-under moved that he finished while he was fouled. He also shot 5 for 7 from the line, finishing with 9 points in 14 minutes. 

Easily the most relaxed among the newcomers was Josh Shipp, who came off the bench and scored 13 points and had 8 boards in just 18 minutes. Shipp shot 3 for 7 from three, calmly knocking down his open looks in the first half when others were clanging them off the rim. He also looked physical, muscling for a couple of rebounds.

Mata had 9 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes. He had a couple of nice dunks on finishes inside, and made 3 out of five from the line.  He does, though, have to improve dramatically on his post defense.

At halftime you would have said that Hollins and Fey were very disappointing, but in the first 8 minutes of the second half looked quite a bit better. Fey got a quick eight points in that time, scoring on a couple of nice short jumpers and jump hooks. In one sequence he got aggressive on the offensive boards, ripping the ball out of an opponents hand and putting it back up for a score.  Hollins also had three nice blocked shots, even though he didn't look very assertive offensively. Fey had five boards before fouling out in just 15 minutes of play, and Hollins had four rebounds.  Neither are natural rebounders and will need to get more aggressive on the boards. 

You could make a case that the team played better with Mata and McKinney on the floor - until at least Fey and Hollins had that nice stretch in the second half.

One very good offensive sequence was in the second half at about the 10-minute mark. Being almost overly unselfish, the team made five quick passes around the perimeter before finding a look inside.  Farmar, Afflalo and Shipp all have a very good feel for the game, and a feel for each other. In another good sequence, Afflalo and Farmar penetrated and dished to each other before it opened up room for a feed to Fey in the post, which he converted. 

Overall, it's difficult to take much from this game, as it is with most exhibitions. Westchester High School would have given UCLA a better game than Simon Fraser. But, like we've asserted before, the team is vastly improved in its outside shooting and collective feel for the game.  Farmar brings such an invaluable true point guard's feel to the floor.

The biggest worry you'd come away with would be what we had also asserted before - consistent post play, particularly on the defensive side of the court.

Howland emphasized after the game what a shock it was to lose Bozeman for the season.  He said that Morrison is first in line to get the back-up point guard minutes, and that Afflalo would probably be the guy after Morrison. Howland thought that Shipp could possibly benefit the most from the loss of Bozeman in terms of playing time.

Bozeman said the injury was freakish - that he twisted his left ankle when stepping on a teammate's foot in practice, and then compensated for it with his right leg, which tweaked his knee. No one thought it was as serious an injury as it was.

Bozeman said he intended to redshirt this year and return next year as a fifth-year senior.  He had been informed that it's a 6-8 month recovery process, and that he expected to be able to play in a limited capacity six months after the surgery.  Howland said the surgery would take place once the swelling on the knee went down, either by the end of next week or the week after that. Howland thought Bozeman wouldn't be able to play in full contact until next July. 

Recruits at the Game: For an exhibition game, there was probably the biggest turnout of recruits in recent years. The list included committed senior point guard Darren Collison from Etiwanda; 6-9 junior James Keefe from Santa Margarita; 6-9 junior Alex Stepheson from Harvard-Westlake; 6-9 Taylor Harrison from San Clemente; 6-8 junior Andreas Schreiber from Brentwood, wearing his UCLA camp jersey; 6-10 sophomore Alex Jacobson from Mater Dei; junior point guard Curtis Eatmon from Los Osos; and 6-7 freshman Jin Soo Kim from Montclair Prep.

Official Box Score SFU vs UCLA 11/05/04 7:30 PM
at Pauley Pavilion

VISITORS: SFU
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 Brent Charleton..... f  5-19   2-7    4-6    3  2  5   4  16  0  3  0  1  34
30 Emmy Unaegbu........ f  0-5    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   3   0  0  1  0  0  25
34 Aaron Christensen... f  7-11   0-2    5-6    0  5  5   4  19  2  3  0  2  35
20 Melvyn Mayott....... g  1-5    0-2    0-1    0  3  3   1   2  2  2  0  0  28
22 Raj Mander.......... g  1-8    1-7    0-0    0  0  0   2   3  1  3  0  0  34
11 John MacIver........    0-1    0-1    1-2    0  1  1   0   1  0  0  0  0  19
14 Mike McKay..........    1-5    0-1    0-0    2  0  2   2   2  0  1  0  0  12
32 Vahid Shababi.......    1-2    0-0    3-5    1  2  3   3   5  0  0  0  1  10
33 Paul Zwierzewicz....    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  2  0  0   3
   TEAM................                         3  1  4
   Totals..............   16-57   3-21  13-20   9 16 25  21  48  5 15  0  4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  8-26 30.8%   2nd Half:  8-31 25.8%   Game: 28.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-11 18.2%   2nd Half:  1-10 10.0%   Game: 14.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-9  55.6%   2nd Half:  8-11 72.7%   Game: 65.0%   2,1

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HOME TEAM: UCLA
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Thompson, Dijon..... f  6-8    1-2    0-0    1  6  7   3  13  2  1  2  1  18
15 Hollins, Ryan....... f  1-1    0-0    1-1    0  4  4   2   3  0  1  3  0  22
45 Fey, Michael........ c  4-5    0-0    0-0    1  4  5   5   8  0  2  1  0  15
04 Afflalo, Arron...... g  3-9    1-6    2-4    0  1  1   3   9  1  0  1  0  21
11 Farmar, Jordan...... g  8-11   1-4    2-2    0  1  1   2  19  7  3  0  1  28
02 Rubin, Janou........    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  1   9
03 Morrison, Brian.....    4-7    3-4    0-0    1  7  8   1  11  9  4  0  1  21
12 Shipp, Josh.........    5-11   3-7    0-0    3  2  5   1  13  0  0  0  1  18
14 Mata, Lorenzo.......    3-5    0-0    3-5    2  2  4   1   9  1  0  1  0  21
25 McKinney, Matt......    2-4    0-0    5-7    3  5  8   2   9  1  2  0  0  14
54 Johnson, Josiah.....    0-2    0-0    0-0    2  1  3   0   0  1  1  0  0   9
55 Hawking, Quinn......    1-1    1-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   3  1  1  0  0   4
   TEAM................                         4  2  6
   Totals..............   37-66  10-25  13-19  17 36 53  20  97 23 15  8  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 17-31 54.8%   2nd Half: 20-35 57.1%   Game: 56.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-15 40.0%   2nd Half:  4-10 40.0%   Game: 40.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-8  62.5%   2nd Half:  8-11 72.7%   Game: 68.4%   1,1

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officials: Don McAllister, Martin Cota, Frank Harvey
Technical fouls: SFU-None. UCLA-None.
Attendance: 5096
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
SFU...........................   23   25  -   48
UCLA..........................   45   52  -   97
Exhibition Game

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