Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sports: UCLA 50 Memphis 45

Was that a football score?

No, it was a basketball score!

The game ball has to go to Ryan Hollins.

If, at the beginning of the season, you had said, Hollins would be one of the key reasons why UCLA will make a run in the NCAA, me and every other Bruin fan would have laughed and said you are crazy.

But a crazy thing happened, he stepped up a few notches in his intensity level and skill (I don't know how many passes he fumbled in his first three years!) and has been a key piece to the UCLA team since mid-season.

Tonight, he was providing offense, rebounds and an inside intimidation factor UCLA was not expected to have when they were picked to finish third in the Pac10 in pre-season polls. One really big play took place in the final minute when he got back on defense on a Memphis fast break that would have cut the lead to 44-41. Instead, Hollins got the steal and Bozeman got fouled and it was a four-point switch with the Bruins having a 46-39 lead.

In post-game Bruin Talk, the host said, we'll talk about LSU tomorrow; tonight, let's just celebrate this win and this team and this coach!

Mighty Bruins
lyric by Barbara Lamb and Don Holley
music by Bill Conte
We are the Mighty Bruins,
The best team in the West.
We’re marching on to victory,
To conquer all the rest.

We are the Mighty Bruins,
Triumphant evermore.
You can hear from far and near,
The Mighty Bruin roar!

U! - C! - LLLLLLLLLLLLL! A!

U - C - L - A! Fight! Fight! Fight!
UPDATE: Plaschke of the LA Times picked up on the football theme in his column in the Sunday paper. Excerpts:
It was ugly, it was unbelievable, but it was pure UCLA, the Bruins bullying their way to Indiana on Sunday with a team that is less "Hoosiers" than "Pulp Fiction."

For the first time in 11 years, the Bruins are going to the Final Four, this time with cartons of film, cases of bandages and one question.

Are you ready for some football?

In an Arena filled to the rafters with Bruin fans leaping on their muffler-missing, smoke-belching bandwagon, UCLA defeated Memphis, 50-45, in a regional final that should have been played outside in the Raider parking lot.

[snip]

The idea that these Bruins suddenly seem capable of winning a national title is no more farfetched than the idea that they could hold an 81-point-per-game Memphis team to 45 points.

Twice last fall, the UCLA football team allowed more points.
Since the Bruins are in Los Angeles, Plaschke reached for a movie analogy, an automobile metaphor and a beach word-picture to finish off his column:
"It was all crazy," Farmar said. "But I was like, man, we'll take it."

So will their town and their tradition, both of which will embrace this unlikeliest of L.A. teams, the gritty little independent movie on the verge of winning the Oscar, the clunky little Pinto passing everyone in the carpool lane.

During the postgame celebration Sunday, guess who was the last Bruin to cut down the first net?

When Bozeman climbed the ladder, he was the only starter who did not yet have a piece. But then he stopped, looked down and motioned toward Janou Rubin, a senior and former walk-on.

Bozeman stepped down. Rubin stepped up. The benchwarmer made the last snip, gestured to the crowd, then disappeared into a swirling, murky, dazzling sea of gold and blue, crashing toward the suddenly visible shores of a national championship.
I WANT TO BELIEVE.

Go Bruins!

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