Kansas-UCLA Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Elite 8
Posted by Mike on March 24, 2007
Tonight Kansas plays UCLA in the West Regional final in San Jose for the right to play in the Final Four. Kansas will look to keep a fast pace against the Bruin’s stifling defense.
7:06 pm: 2-0, UCLA. Aaron Afflalo rebounds his own miss, and his shot rattles in for the first basket of the game.
7:09 pm: 4-4. Collison gets a tough layup off a Kansas turnover, but on the next possession Sasha Kaun scores for the Jayhawks’ first field goal.
7:10 pm: 6-6. Let’s just admit it. I like saying “a great shot by Luc Richard Mbah A Moute” rather than “a great shot by Julian Wright.”
7:11 pm: 9-6, UCLA. Afflalo hits a three to put the Bruins back on top.
7:13 pm: 12-9, Kansas. The Jayhawks storm back to take the lead. they score three straight baskets thanks to a combination of great passing and defensive hustle. They force the Bruins into bad situations, and then their offensive passing gives players like Julian Wright great shot opportunities. The latest basket was a great putback by Russel Robinson, who had to leap over a teammate that had fallen over.
7:21 pm: Oh shoot. I think I spaced out for a while there. Good thing nothing’s happened.
7:23 pm: 12-11, Kansas. How does Sherron Collins miss that open shot? More importantly, how did Collison hit that shot with three Jayhawks around him?
7:24 pm: 14-11, Kansas. Both teams are playing solid defense so far, forcing turnovers, and challenging shots. Kansas is winning because their offensive passing puts shooters in better position to score.
7:28 pm: 18-16, Kansas. UCLA ties the game as Luc Richard Mbah A Moute is becoming a big factor inside. Kansas take the lead back with a great alley-oop to Darnell Jackson. Kansas is really passing the ball well tonight.
7:31 pm: 20-16, Kansas. Julian Wright plays the point on a fast break, and makes a great pass to Robinson for the layup. I should point out that Wright is 6-9.
The Jayhawks are getting a lot of steals tonight. Either Kansas is being really aggressive defensively or UCLA is telegraphing their passes. Or both.
7:33 pm: 21-20, UCLA. The Bruins take the lead in 10 seconds, as Afflalo hits a three followed by a steal, breakaway and dunk by Russell Westbrook. That was an insanely fast change in momentum.
7:35 pm: 22-21, Kansas. As we reach another official timeout, Sasha Kaun hits a basket inside, coming back in from the bench.
7:39 pm: 24-21, Kansas. Brandon Rush’s baseline shot bounces in off the rim.
You know whom I haven’t heard from at all tonight? Mario Chalmers. This should be his time to step up, but He has seemed to be a non-factor so far.
7:40 pm: 27-21, Kansas. Rush hits a three, the first one I think the Jayhawks have hit tonight.
Has anyone else noticed that Bill Self’s face looks like wax about to melt?
7:43 pm: Brandon Rush’s hairdo looks like something out of 1992.
7:46 pm: 29-23, Kansas. Rush misses a floater inside, but Jackson gets the put back with AUTHORITY!
7:47 pm: 29-28, Kansas. Michael roll hits a three for UCLA, and Aboya gets a tough basket inside to cut the lead to 1.
3:23 left in the first half.
7:52 pm: 30-29, UCLA. Afflalo hits the midrange jumper, and the Bruins take back the lead.
7:53 pm: 32-29, UCLA. Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas may not realize this yet, but UCLA doesn’t seem to have much of a problem playing Kansas’ uptempo style.
7:55 pm: Did you see that shot CBs had of Kansas’ band? The funniest thing I’ve seen all day.
7:56 pm: 32-31, UCLA. While they have no problem with it on offense, the Bruins seem to have issues with Kansas’ transition offense. Brandon Rush slams it in to cut the lead back to 1.
7:57 pm: Afflalo holds the ball until three seconds left, then passes it to Josh Shipp, who drains the three from the baseline at the buzzer. UCLA leads, 35-31 at halftime. Both teams have played very good defense in spite of the fast pace of the game. For either team to win, they will need to display ball control and cut down on the turnovers they had in the first half. Whoever is able to control the ball will control the game from this point on. If the second half pans out like the first half, then I have no f—— idea who will win.
8:19 pm: As we enter the second half, an interesting stat: Kansas has only attempted one 3-pointer. That will likely have to change.
8:20 pm: Lorenzo Mata is having a really bad game. He has no points and just picked up his third foul.
8:22 pm: 37-31, UCLA. A great block at the top of the key leads to an easy layup by Afflalo in transition.
8:23 pm: 37-33, UCLA. Chalmers finally scores tonight, getting a basket inside.
8:24 pm: 40-33, UCLA. Afflalo hits another three to extend the lead to seven. As we hit the first official timeout of the second half, UCLA has been able to gain control the game in spite of already committing more turnovers (14) than their season average (12).
8:28 pm: 42-35, UCLA. What the hell is Mata doing in the game with three fouls and sixteen minutes left?
Wright needs to keep getting the ball inside. He’s their driving force in the paint. Chaka Khan is more useful for Kansas tonight than Sasha Kaun.
8:35 pm: 46-35, UCLA. Afflalo continues to hit his shots, while Kansas has gone completely cold on offense. They’re 12 of 26 on layups and dunks, which is unacceptable. Then again, the fact that the Jayhawks haven’t shot any threes means that the Bruins defense doesn’t need to stay honest. They can just clamp down in the paint.
8:37 pm: 46-38, UCLA. Brandon Rush finally hits a three for the Jayhawks.
8:39 pm: Official timeout. “Luc Richard Mbah a Moute” should not be attempting threes like that.
8:43 pm: 46-40, UCLA. I think I’ve figured out why Kansas is struggling right now. In the first half they were succeeding on offense because of great passing. I haven’t seen great passing on their part in the last 8 minutes or so. No good passes means UCLA can get in better defensive position, and the Bruins can affect more shots.
8:45 pm: 49-43, UCLA. Afflalo beats the shot clock to put the Bruins up 9, but Robinson responds immediately with a three of his own.
8:46 pm: 51-43, UCLA. Aaron Afflalo is on fire.
8:48 pm: 51-45, UCLA. Kansas hits two free throws, but what a play by Mario Chalmers! he forces the ball loose, retrieves it before going out of bounds, throws it off of a Bruin, and manages to avoid hitting the ball himself. That’s just great awareness.
8:52 pm: 53-45, UCLA. Wow. There have been 24 steals in 33 minutes. That’s either really good defense, really bad passing, or both. Kansas has 14 steals, and UCLA has 10.
8:56 pm: 53-47, UCLA, 6:00 left. Darrell Arthur hits a tough basket inside.
For all the great defense in this game, it’s remarkable that neither team has had to foul very much.
8:58 pm: 55-50, UCLA, 5:10 left. Chalmers makes a great pass to Robinson, who drills a three for the left wing. You see what happens when Kansas passes the ball well.
8:59 pm: 58-50, UCLA, 4:30 left. Darren Collison shoots a desperate three, at the shot clock buzzer, while double teamed. And he drains it. Unbelievable.
Final TV timeout. 3:11 left.
9:07 pm: The Bruins have really clamped down on defense. In particular, “Luc Richard Mbah A Moute” has shut the door completely on the Jayhawks who have only scored 20 points in the second half. For such a low scoring game, this is extremely exciting.
9:10 pm: 60-53, UCLA, 1:26 left. Brandon Rush finally scores for the Jayhawks. He has 18. Bill Self quickly calls a timeout.
9:14 pm: 63-55, UCLA, :45 left. Russell Robinson gets inside and has an opportunity to score from point blank range, but UCLA does enough to make him miss. Wright scores on the next possession, but this game appears sealed.
9:18 pm: “Luc Richard Mbah A Moute” delivers the exclamation dunk, the clock runs out, and UCLA wins 68-55. With this win the Bruins return to the Final Four, and whomever they face, Oregon or Florida would be a familiar opponent. As Kansas loses, My bracket officially has no chance of winning. Still, this has been some very exciting basketball this week.
I’m returning tomorrow for live blogs of Florida-Oregon here and UNC-Georgetown on Tar Heel Mania.