December 14, 2008
UCLA wins Wooden Classic
It was a good day to be a Bruin as UCLA triumphed over DePaul 72-54 in front of 98 year old John Wooden, still pretty much the face of UCLA basketball even after all these years. The Bruin basketball team coming off finals week had one more test that they passed with flying colors and in turn gave their coach Ben Howland victory number 300 coaching D-I basketball.
The Bruins may have played their best game of the season . Their defense was stifling as DePaul only hit at 41.3 from the field and caused 13 turnovers. The Bruins never let DePaul feel comfortable on the offensive end as the Blue Demons forced a lot of shots.
UCLA would like to get that shooting percentage even farther down, but they will take it for now as with each game played, the Bruins are getting closer to Pac 10 play.
Bruin freshman guard Jrue Holiday had an outstanding game from the jump as he started off the Bruins right by hitting a three-pointer. He quickly followed that up with a two-point jumper.
Holiday played another well-rounded game on the heels of a solid game against CSUN. Holiday tied for the game high in points with 14. He led the Bruins in assists with six and in rebounds with five. Holiday also tied for the game high in steals with two.
Senior swing man Josh Shipp was the other player with 14 points and he also mirrored Holiday in steals with two. Shipp was 5-9 from the field, but 0-4 from beyond the stripe.
Senior point guard Darren Collison had another solid outing scoring 10 points, had five assists and four boards. Perhaps most significant is he didn't have a single turnover.
There is a good case for senior center Alfred Aboya being named the team's most improved player. He does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score that helps the team win. His box score numbers showed him with eight points and four rebounds.
Junior forward Nikola Dragovic had 10 points off the bench and freshman forward/center Drew Gordon had four rebounds in only 11 minutes of play.
It was heartwarming to see Bruin freshman guard Tyler Trapani, the great grandson of John Wooden, the man this classic is named for, come into the game and launch a three that looked true, but went off the heel of the rim.
UCLA's next game is Wednesday Evening at Pauley Pavilion against Loyola.
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