UCLA: The rebound effect

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Center Lorenzo Mata checked into the game during a timeout, but as he neared UCLA’s huddle, he detoured to the end of the bench and dipped his head into a magenta bag. Out came Mata’s lunch. Less than three minutes later Mata returned to the court and scored on a dunk, providing a symbol for the type of grit and fortitude that has become UCLA basketball. Weber State found out what it is like to be grounded like peanuts into a wooden floor, wilting under UCLA’s stifling defense before looking up at the scoreboard and trying to figure out how the Bruins blew open a big game without many style points. But UCLA’s real pleasure from the decimation of the Big Sky champion Wildcats (20-12) came from its trademark defense, which was suspect in losses to Washington and California. Weber State scored a season-low, made just 13 field goals (on 38 attempts), were out-rebounded 35-25 and looked hopelessly overmatched as guards Dezmon Harris (team-high 10 points) and Juan Pablo Silveira found very little open space. “I definitely think (the defense) was a lot better,” Shipp said. “I haven’t looked at the stats yet, but it showed in the outcome. We were happy with it. I just think the effort was there. It’s all about the effort.” Big Sky Player of the Year David Patten, a transfer from Pepperdine, went 1 for 6 from the field and scored nine points in his final game for WeberState. UCLA’s defense and rebounding led to 10 fastbreak points, but aided the offense in a greater way by allowing it to set up quickly and work for open jumpers. “We pride ourselves on playing good defense, and we create a lot of turnovers and finish on the other end,” Bruins power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said. “When we start doing that, it’s really hard to stop us because we have guys that can run out on the wing and shoot the three or whatever.” UCLA’s low-flash, grind-it-out style shined best during the deciding run bridging the halves. Silveira’s 3-pointer pulled Weber State within 15-14 with 7:56 remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats could not register another field goal for nine minutes and 10 seconds, as they shied from contact near the basket and found very little operating room on the perimeter. UCLA reserve wing Michael Roll got his first points in four games and kick-started a 25-5 run with a pair of 3-pointers, and the Bruins’ defense became lethal. Weber State shot 1 of 5 and committed six of its 17 turnovers during the span. “They were bigger than what I imagined,” Weber State forward Dan Henry said. “They’re quick. The bigs are big, their guards are quick and their wings are shooters. They have it all. They’re very well coached and very aggressive, and probably caught us off guard a little bit.” Collison had a couple of layups and Afflalo scored the final eight points in the half, making two 3-pointers and converting a length-of-the-court passing clinic in the final 5.6 seconds to score on an alley-oop layup as the Bruins took a 37-19 lead into the half. “It was intensity to help us get off to a better start,” Collison said. “Anytime we get off to a slow start it’s because you don’t have intensity on the ball, and it starts with me. We’re really a defensive team, and that’s where we make our points off of in transition.” Collison finished the run with a 3-pointer less than a minute into the second half, as the Bruins coasted into the second round. brian.dohn@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! No. 2-seed UCLA’s 70-42 pounding of 15th-seeded Weber State isn’t necessarily the panacea the Bruins needed to recover from two straight losses, but Thursday’s first-round win in the West region of the NCAA Tournament at Arco Arena did calm some nerves. The Bruins (27-5) play No. 7-seed Indiana on Saturday with tip-off set for 5:10 p.m. The Hoosiers advanced by defeating No. 10-seed Gonzaga 70-57. “To be honest, it does kind of feel good because we haven’t got a win (in two weeks),” UCLA point guard Darren Collison said. “That’s a good thing because you have to feed off that. It’s definitely a boost of confidence, so you have to feed off this win.” Bruins All-American guard Arron Afflalo rebounded from a sub-par performance in his last game to score a game-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. His eight rebounds were one off his season-high. Collison added 14 points and eight assists, and showed little discomfort from the left ankle he sprained earlier in the week. Josh Shipp added 12 points. last_img

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