November 14, 2008

UCLA moves onto New York

The Bruins advance to New York to play a tough Michigan team after earning a hard fought victory over a veteran and determined Miami of Ohio team. It was the Bruin defense and their veterans that carried the day.

The Bruins started the game slowly when Bruin junior forward James Keefe blew a layup after receiving an outstanding feed from Bruin freshman guard Jrue Holiday.

It was Holiday who scored the game's first hoop with a strong move to the hole for a deuce. Unfortunately for the Bruin frosh, he wasn't meant for the game long as he found himself into foul trouble trying to guard Miami's savvy senior Michael Bramos, who ended up leading the game in points with 22.

UCLA just couldn't shake Miami of Ohio who stuck around in this game like a bad cold.

"It was a very tough game, we really had to grind it out," Howland said. "Miami couldn't care less about how the game was played. They just wanted to win."

"They did a lot of things well like hedging on screens," Howland said. "We got off to a slow start and had to fight back."

This was a learning experience for the five freshmen as Howland relied on his experienced players when the game was still in doubt late in the second half.

Senior swing man Josh Shipp tied for a team best 16 points and played the type of game that was reminiscent of earlier in his career before his hip injuries. He played good defense and blocked two shots, while adding four boards to the cause.

Senior big Alfred Aboya also had a good night doing the things that don't show up in the box score, but were very important in the team's victory. Aboya calmly hit two free throws in crunch time that gave the Bruins much needed breathing room. Remember this is the same guy who is only 52.5 percent shooter from the line during his career at UCLA.

Junior guard Michael Roll had a good game chipping nine points, all of them from beyond three and all it seemed, when the team needed it most.

Senior point guard, Darren Collison had another outstanding game on both ends of the floor. He tied for the team lead in scoring with 16 points. He also led the team in assists with three and steals with two.

Collison's two-game performances saw him earn the Los Angeles Region MVP award.

The Bruins won because of their veterans and because they didn't turn the ball over. Unlike last evening when UCLA had over 20 turnovers, against Miami they only had seven and UCLA also out rebounded Miami 29-23.

All in all it was a good victory over a stubborn foe and a tremendous learning experience for the youngsters on the team.

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