Bruins yo-yo themselves to win over OSU

After UCLA’s 10-point win over Oregon on Thursday – a game in which the Bruins went down big only to storm back just as quick – head coach Ben Howland said he wanted one breather this season, a season that has been filled with more yo-yos than a novelty store.

Ten minutes into the Bruins’ matchup with Oregon State on Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion it looked like Howland could finally relax during a game.

And then the string dropped once more, Howland started sweating it out once more, and UCLA needed to gather itself once more, before winning its fifth straight with a 69-61 victory at Pauley Pavilion in front of 8,534.

But after a 14-18 record last year, Howland’s more than happy to dip down if the Bruins ultimately come back up, and they have, picking up their 15th win out of the last 18 games.

“We’re 17-0 when we have a ten-point lead,” Howland said. “The bottom line, at the end here, we’re trying to win the game.”

The Bruins jumped to a scorching start on Saturday, holding Oregon State to 2-of-16 shooting to open the game, and it looked like UCLA was finally turning over a new leaf.
They were choking out the Beavers, overpowering them with a frustrating perimeter defense that forced poor shot selection and drained the shot clock.

A Joshua Smith slam dunk and one on a beautiful Tyler Honeycutt bounce pass staked UCLA the 24-6 lead with just over eight minutes left in the first half.
They turned over a new leaf alright. Then again, what didn’t the Bruins turn over?

UCLA let the Beavers climb back with poor decision-making and even worse execution, finishing the first half with eight turnovers in the last eight minutes as Oregon State cut the lead to five at halftime.

“It would be nice if we could keep adding on to the lead,” said junior shooting guard Malcolm Lee, who scored a game-high 19 points. “Nobody wants to be scared at the end. We just gotta stay mentally tough, and just keep trying to hold them off. When we play more athletic teams, it’s gonna be harder, so we just gotta keep it going.”

With Tyler Honeycutt looking like a human fly-swatter, Lee was eventually able to breathe easy.

Honeycutt had eight blocks, the most for the Bruins since Jelani McCoy had 11 in Dec. 1995, to go along with nine points, five rebounds, five assists but seven turnovers. UCLA tied a school-record with 16 blocks for the game, simply denying the Beavers time after time.

But Oregon State killed the Bruins on the offensive glass, grabbing 24 of its 37 total rebounds on the offensive end, and attempted 31 more shots than UCLA.

“They had 24 offensive rebounds; that’s an area that we need to work on,” Howland said. “We’re not going to advance very far unless we do a better job blocking out.”

Blocking out, and closing out.

The Bruins rediscovered their momentum early in the second half, turning a 29-25 lead into a 22-point lead with just less than seven minutes left. But Oregon State would not simply fade away, a suffocating full-court press flustering the Bruins into a season-high 26 turnovers.

Even after Howland inserted UCLA’s walk-on reserves with a minute left, the Beavers kept up their pressure, forcing two immediate turnovers before Howland beckoned his starters back from their seats.

“I was glad that we could get them in,” Honeycutt said. “I was excited for them. It was almost kinda funny. They weren’t really prepared, and I’m sure they will be next time.”

That is, if there is a next time.
That is, if the yo-yo comes all the way back up again.

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  • black manta

    who is this corner UCLA is bringing in? there is a news item at a french canadian website. after translating from the french…

    Anthony Thompson will evolve over the UCLA Bruins next season.

    Landed in Los Angeles on Thursday night, the star cornerback of Vanier Cheetahs was offered a scholarship. “Since I began playing football, I always wanted to evolve in the NCAA,” said Thompson. It’s a dream come true and I’m really proud. ”

    Thompson has experienced ups and downs in recent weeks. He had to wait before getting the green light by the Clearing House and American Bearcarts Cincinnati dangled him a visit before changing his mind.

    “I’m relieved, he has expressed. Despite all the twists and turns, I always believed in my chances of getting a scholarship. Over the years, there have been several players who have signed Vanier in the NCAA, but I’m the first to go to UCLA. I’m really happy. ”

    “I could have signed with Akron, but they had no stock for January to pursue Thompson. I find myself in a much better situation. Everything happens for a reason. ”

    Thompson eager to return to Montreal to share his happiness with his mother. “As soon as I confirmed that I’d have my purse, I contacted my mother,” he said. I will sign the documents with him when I return. Everything should be completed by Tuesday. ”

    Unlike many Quebecers who are not dressed in their first season in the NCAA, Thompson expects to see action. “I’ll be on the ground,” he assured. We want to use me as a cornerback and as a nickel (fifth defensive back) in a position to pass. ”

    Only downside, Thompson will not evolve further with his buddy Matthew Norzil. “It’s the only downside, he said. Matthew is still a little confused about where he will play next year. ”

    The Cheetahs star receiver hesitates between the Red and Gold of the University Laval with Montreal. He dismissed the Dinos in Calgary where he was offered a visit. He will visit both Quebec programs very soon with his mother before making his choice.

    Norzill is very happy for her boyfriend. “I’m really happy for Anthony, he said. That something big has just acomplir. ”

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    I’m very pleased the team is taking care of business by winning, but at the same time somewhat concerned by the rash of turnovers. Hopefully playing against full and half-court pressure these last few games will prepare them when it counts as it is painfully obvious that ballhandling particularly by Nelson when breaking the press is a weakness. Definitely need to tighten this up, but otherwise am very pleased at the team’s continued growth. The trip to the bay area will be telling as it is always tough to play Cal and Stanford on the road.