See postgame recap: No Hollywood ending: St. John's loses 66-59 to UCLA Bruins
A Bruins fan in Pauley Pavilion stitched together video of UCLA center Joshua Smith's 8 field goals - all on deep position, mostly dunks. There are some obvious "missed assignment" moments... but what do you think the Red Storm need to change to address strong big men in the paint, especially when the other team breaks the press?
The Red Storm did a good deal right yesterday - getting the turnovers - but could they have been better at limiting UCLA inside? What I see:
- The Red Storm needed to stop Reeves Nelson more effectively, or at least deflect his passes.
- On a pair of plays in the compilation, Hardy's defense on Malcolm Lee seemed to involve Hardy chasing Lee while Lee draws one of Smith's defenders.
With Connecticut coming in, and the difference between winning and losing for the Huskies landing on the shoulders of their inconsistent big men, this is an issue the Red Storm need to address. Unless they like being part of some mediocre big guy's dunk highlight reel.
News links + Josh Smith video below the fold - for size reasons. Smith is a really big guy!
SB Nation: St. John's Basketball Score And Reaction: Dwight Hardy's Coming Out Party
I don't know what it is about the St. John's basketball program and it's flair for the dramatics, but Steve Lavin and Co. seem to be really good at it. Despite losing, 66-59, Saturday afternoon at the UCLA Bruins, the Red Storm, again, found themselves in a last-minute battle on nation television that showed college basketball in NYC has returned.
How do you look the losing coach in the face and congratulate him on what a terrific game his team played when the home squad went to the foul line 41 times and visitors got there seven times?
"They were in the penalty with 16 minutes left," St. John's guard Dwight Hardy said. "It's tough to defend without fouling when you're in the penalty like that."
Lavin, who was an assistant and head coach at UCLA from 1991-2003, would not discuss the officiating on the record, which tells you all you need to know. Hardy said the refs (from the Pac-10) didn't decide the game, St. John's did by committing some late fundamental blunders -- like not boxing out on the free throw line. Fair enough.
NY Daily News: St. John's falls to UCLA in Steve Lavin's first return to Pauley Pavilion since his dismissal
IN HIS FINAL season as UCLA's basketball coach, Steve Lavin was badly criticized by Bruins fans for losing games at the team's iconic Pauley Pavilion. When his team lost there Saturday, there were cheers.
UCLA, 16-7 and winners of 13 of its past 16, made up for its porous late-game foul shooting - the Bruins made just 3 of 10 free throws in the final four minutes - with crucial offensive rebounding. Nelson and sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt teamed for three big boards following missed free throw attempts down the stretch that chewed up clock and let UCLA control the tempo.
"As a coach - and I'm thinking about Steve - that just kills you as a coach when they have inside positioning," Howland said. "That happened to us against ASU twice, down the stretch, and it allowed them to get back into the game. ... That was great, I was so pleased to be on the other side of that."
An early-morning start once again appeared to affect UCLA, which trailed 13-4 early against an aggressive St. John’s team that applied a variety of full-court presses.
But the Red Storm didn’t have an answer for Smith, who scored 12 first-half points to help turn a nine-point deficit into a three-point halftime lead for the Bruins. He also pulled down eight rebounds and blocked three shots.
I didn't know I'd have to attend a high school basketball game with amateur referees and kill off a perfectly nice Saturday morning to do so.
UCLA and St. John's are so awful, I don't think anyone in Los Angeles would have to worry about the Lakers losing to them. And you know how well the Lakers do against crummy teams.
Throw in Pac-10 officials, who made no secret of their desire to make sure UCLA won on its home court, and that explains why the Bruins had 41 free throws while Lavin's team had seven. Welcome home, Lav.
"Any time an East Coast team comes to the West Coast, they try to bully you around,’’ UCLA forward Reeves Nelson said. "We don’t have any little sissies on this team. The term we used was they were going to try to punk us and we weren’t having that a little bit.’’
This game won’t kill the Red Storm in the selection committee’s eyes. How many teams are willing to hopscotch the country in the middle of the arduous conference season? Not many. But a win would have been a huge boost to the St. John dossier.