UCLA leaps for joy in big win over Colorado

Maybe it was just the shoes, but UCLA head coach Ben Howland sure did seem to have some extra pep in his step on Saturday afternoon.

Sporting sneakers to support the fight against cancer to go along with his fine suit, Howland was springier than a well-coiled slinky; still wound just as tight, but ready to let loose.

His players had a little extra bounce, too.

Playing against one of the hottest teams in the conference, it was UCLA that heated up, shooting 59.6 percent in a 77-60 win over Colorado in front of 9,253 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

“(Former UCLA head coach and current St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin) went to the sneakers and stayed in them the rest of the way last year,” Howland said with a smile. “I like it, too. Feels better on my feet.”

The Bruins were better off of them.

Their feet, that is, as UCLA converted alley-oop after alley-oop, putting on a show for what was certainly the best home crowd of the year at the Sports Arena. Already up seven but coming off a 3-pointer by Colorado’s Nate Tomlinson with just less than 14 minutes remaining, the Bruins went on an 13-3 run, capped off by a Jerime Anderson-to-Travis Wear alley-oop dunk, stretching the lead to 17 with 8 minutes, 44 seconds to play.

“Defensive stops – whenever we’re getting stops it definitely is a momentum booster,” sophomore guard Tyler Lamb said. “It gets everybody up more and then you come down and score, it all starts snowballing. We were in the huddle and we were communicating in timeouts, coach Howland was asking us what we thought would work and our senior guards stepped up a lot.”

Senior guard Lazeric Jones had a team-high 17 points and nine assists, Anderson added eight points and eight assists and Lamb added 12 points and six assists as UCLA finished with 26 on the afternoon. The sharp passing helped the Bruins erase an early deficit that was plagued by sloppiness.

The Buffaloes (14-7, 6-3) got off to a nice start in their first matchup with UCLA (12-9, 5-4) as a conference opponent, jumping ahead 12-4 as the Bruins committed four quick turnovers. UCLA climbed back, took the lead with 12:27 left and eventually went into halftime up by four, courtesy of a Norman Powell 3-pointer as the first half expired.

What changed so drastically for the Bruins in the second half?

They picked up their defensive intensity.

After letting Colorado shoot 56 percent in the first half on 15-of-27 shooting, UCLA held the Buffaloes – who came into the game winners of 9-of-11 – to 34.8-percent shooting in the second half and ran away with it.

“Our intensity picked up a little in the second half,” said David Wear, who finished with 13 points. “There’ve been a couple times where our intensity dipped off in the second half. It was good to come up with that much intensity, really talking about our defense, not allowing any second shots.”

Howland credited Lamb with a standout effort as UCLA held Colorado’s leading scorer Carlon Brown – who had been averaging 13.6 points per game – to just six points in 31 minutes, with two assists and three of the team’s 14 turnovers.

“I really thought Tyler Lamb played great defense on Brown,” Howland said. “He’s a great player, and Tyler Lamb deserves a lot of credit for how he played. Thirteen points, six assists – I thought this was one of his best games as a Bruin.”

Added Lamb: “Carlon Brown, I’ve known him since I was in middle school – I played on his AAU team a couple times. I’ve known what he was capable of. He’s a very good player. Coach stressed that I would have to stop him and I tried my best.”

What had Howland really geeked as his Bruins now prepare for a tough two-game road set in Washington against the Huskies and Washington State Cougars was the team’s passing, though.

“We were really, really making the extra pass,” Howland said. “It’s fun to watch. That’s how basketball is supposed to be played. I love that our players get joy out of making that play. The funnest thing on offense is to watch a pass that leads to a wide open shot. I love that as much as anything.”

Maybe even as much as his new shoes.

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  • Marc

    It’s a good win, for sure, but the team is going to have to win on the road. Two games coming up; Washington will be tough, no doubt. These guys can play with purpose and intensity; we’ve all seen it in flashes. They will need to be poised in what is one of the toughest gyms to play in throughout the country.

    The bruinsnation hacks are fun to watch. Even a 17 point win against a very good team is reason to complain. LOL.

  • BSKB

    Of course wins are a reason to complain. CBH is obviously only trying to win enough to keep his job. Wins never count. Loses count double. By my count, that means that UCLA is 0 and 8 in conference. It’s no wonder why Howland is trying to win the PAC-12 tournament. Like we’d want that, just to let him embarrass us in the NCAA tournament, or even worse, pull off another final four appearance and keep his job.

    Call Gene Block now and demand he fire the cleaning staff and concessions team before they negatively influence the replacement of Howland. Also, call Jerry Brown and have him fire Gene Block before he does something boneheaded and fire the cleaning staff when the blame clearly lies elsewhere. I am so tired of all these Howland Howlers supporting a team that needs to be taken to the woodshed and beaten with a tire iron. They are terrible fail to win every game despite it being so obvious how terrible they are. I hope everybody who roots for them dies of consumption.


  • BSKB

    Also, I forgot, we no longer call him Gene Block. He’s Gene Gene the Dancing Machine Block because BN has discovered that he once watched an episode of the Gong Show. Look at that smug bastard’s face as he sits back and mocks the hallowed Bruin tradition of never losing EVER, a tradition that goes back as far as I could remember before these idiots took charge.

    I’m so mad, just to prove it, I will post an image of a check for one hundred thousand dollars to the UCLA fund for widows and orphans. BUT I VOIDED IT because of Gene Gene the Dancin Machine and Chianti Dan. Screw them and screw the orphans, because I was like totally going to give them that money, I promise. But now, I’m going to go make even more of them by killing any member of Howland’s howlers that I encounter. That’s right, I’m murdering all of those supposed UCLA “fans” who keep rooting for this team’s success despite the lack of any conceivable reason. I will then present my offering to the basketball gods to prove my fealty. Only in the cleansing blood of my dark lord Mammoth will UCLA find the AD we truly deserve.


  • futurebruin13

    lol. Not a bad impression…

  • Bruin Die Hard

    BSKB: Awesome post …. definitely cracked me up. Amazing to me that BN cannot see what a joke they have made themselves. Talk about a bunch of kool-aid-drinking control freaks who live only for the sound of their own voices …. imagine they all have matching “Wholesale Regime Change” tattoos. Boggles my mind that they call themselves fans, yet honestly wish to see Bruins sports go down in flames just to prove their point.

    As much as I was disappointed by CRN’s and his team’s performance, my brain did flip-flops when they came out after the Arizona game and stated flatly, that it did not matter whether CRN won out the rest of the season, trounced SUC, won the Pac-12 championship game and won the Rose Bowl … even then CRN would need to be fired for everything wrong he has done in the past! Are you freakin’ kidding me? I am not the biggest Dan G fan by any means, but despite the fact that CJM has just about everyone in and out of UCLA impressed with his attitude and recruiting thus far (although we obviously can’t render judgement until after Wed and see on-the-field results) DG is a incompetent loser based on lack of style points … CJM was not our or their first choice, and Peterson turned us down like he turns everyone else down. Wonder what they would have said about the AD who hired that loser Wooden … after all, he had a long string of poor/mediocre seasons prior to that 1st championship??

    Laughed out loud when win over Colorado assessed as meaningless and CBH is now “the embattled lame-duck coach” who needs to be run out of town. The only non-joke content on that site is the material that they constantly crib from Jon Gold and this blog …

  • Brock
  • Nestor

    Either agree with me and my cronies or I shall ban you from ever posting here again. Oh, wait…. never mind.

  • BN Sucks

    BN!!! They have a poll on their “website” asking if Coach Howland should be fired and got something like 800 votes over a few weeks!!!!!!!! 800!!!! I think I have more friends on facebook than those fools. I think it shows how irrelevant they are and what little influence they actually have outside of their little circle of friends. 800 votes!!! Give me a break.

  • Nestor deserves to die of ghonorrea – too bad he can’t get laid

    I love how Buinsnation claims to be the voice of the fans, but the comments are full of the same losers agreeing with each other. They erase comments that don’t fall in line with their moronic thinking, then claim everyone’s in agreement. Those guys are the biggest tools on the planet.

    I saw the “lame duck” comment about Howland also. These jerk offs are so delusional it’s pathetic. It wouldn’t bother me except they claim to be the voice of Ucla fans (like me) and they’re a total embarrassment. They’re NOT the voice of the fans. They’re dorks. And their site is damaging to Ucla.

    Since they all live far away from campus (yet act like they live in the Morgan Center) I doubt they regularly attend games. But does anyone know If they have a tent or something at the Rose Bowl? I propose we bum rush those punks. I wanna see if Tydides is as tough in person as he is behind his keyboard.

  • Anonymous

    No way there were 9k fans Saturday. This season is a true low point for Ucla hoops. The team is awful, and no one even cares.

  • Marc

    @anonymous 11:24am-

    There are many reasons for the low attendance this year. Quit with the “dire circumstances” drama. Apathy amongst fans probably accounts for 10-20% drop in attendance. I’d put that number closer to 10 than 20, though. Location affects another 20% or so; the sports arena is obviously not a prime location. Of course, that is reason amongst those of your ilk to get rid of Dan Guerrero.

    You strike me as a very sad person. Sad and lonely, perhaps; so you seek people with common ideology. Hence the lock-step dramatic overtures directed towards UCLA athletics. You are in the minority; believe me. If you don’t believe me, come out to a game and stand with a sign near the main entrance with a quote similar to your statement above and see how many fans agree with you.

    Sad and lonely; that is what I see.

  • Anonymous

    The people showing up won’t agree; they’re the suckers who keep the faith. Trust me, NO ONE is going to show up to Pauley next year. It’s outrageously expensive, and not worth it to see a boring, lackluster team. The only solution is to replace Howland with an energetic coach who brings an enjoyable style of basketball to town. We’re all tired of that crumudgeon Howland and his cynical approach. I’m a season ticket holder but have only attended 3 games so far. I won’t be renewing next year if Howland is still around.

  • Anonymous

    I have to disagree. The point of being a fan of any team is that you stick with them even when final four trips are no longer the norm. Easy to root for a team who is always successful. Also I’m sure a lot of folks did not have a problem with Howland’s curmudgeon demeanor when we were winning in March.

  • MPP Bruin

    I’m definitely going to go to games next year at Pauley. Trekking downtown is a big disincentive. It took me an hour to get from the west side to my seat at the game yesterday. I can take the bus or ride my bike to get to Pauley.

    Howland should stay if for no other reason than it keeps next year’s recruits in place. We’ll know more if Shabazz winds up coming to Westwood, but every time I’ve heard him talk about what he likes about UCLA the first thing he says is Howland.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry but incoming recruits are the last reason to keep a coach. There’s plenty of talent in place, but it can’t be unleashed under Howand.

    Bottom line is, Mike Moser is a legitimate candidate for NATIONAL player of the year. However Howland let him go is all you need to know about Benny.

  • BSKB

    Give an 8-Clap to Devon Fuller!

  • RBdude

    Great game, best of the year, seems like the team is finally coming together, hope they can keep rolling on the road, that’s the test. Love the job Howland has done this year, losing Lee and Honeycutt, would have been difficult enough to do deal with, but then add the Reeves dismissal and Smith coming in at 350 plus pounds, that’s a lot to have to deal with, but it seems he has the guys playing together.

    As to the Bruins Nations site, instead of calling them out, join the group, and post positive comments about the team and Bruins sports. Agree the negativity on the site is very striking, don’t know if the managers of the site really think they are helping their team by posting such venom, or do they just not understand, there are consequences for posting such negative comments.

    Seems to be a problem with sites like that in general, there really isn’t an editor or anyone in charge.

    Go Bruins!

  • MPP Bruin

    I’d generally agree that recruits shouldn’t be prioritized over a coach, but in the case that the potential for this particular recruiting class is huge it could wind up being a disservice to disband them. I’m still touch and go on Howland, but if I feel good about where the team is heading in the last half of the season and we also get top recruits, then I’d want him to stay.

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    BSKB: Great post! Had me laughing out loud! Loved your use of the words “consumption” and “fealty.”

    The team is making strides, now it’s time to take the show on the road and make that next step by demonstrating maturity and mental toughness.

    Go Bruins!

  • Amillennialist

    BSKB, you nearly gave me a heart attack.

    RBdude, you don’t understand; you can’t post comments that disagree with the GREAT and TERRIBLE NESTOR. (That’s why so many here have noted their having been banned at bruinsnation.)

    I am optimistic about the future of the football and basketball programs; Mora seems to possess what Neu lacked, and Howland is willing to make drastic changes in order to improve the team, which he’s doing.

    Go Bruins!

  • bibs

    It’s really embarrassing to read so many negative posts about our team and coaches written by morons who know very little about sports.Please go back to jerking off in private.Which annonomouse is a SUC moron?

  • t

    The Bruins Nation site is an embarrassment to UCLA and the negativity is beyond the pale.

    AKA “Nestor’s” real name is, Murshed Zaheed, he’s a junior staffer at a political firm, called, New Partners inc. in DC. His boss, Paul Tewes, should be contacted and told what this idiot is doing on his dime.