Saturday, February 16, 2013

UCLA Outruns Stanford

From the opening tip, both Stanford and UCLA were looking to push the tempo and get out on the break. The fast and loose style of play cut both ways for UCLA. It forced them into sloppy mistakes early, but enabled them to hit 53% of their shots.

In contrast, Stanford shot just 40% in the first half which led to fastbreaks for UCLA. As a result, the Bruins were able to find quality looks.

SnapCall Question
While UCLA used the tempo to their advantage, they only managed a 5 point lead at the half. So the interesting SnapCall seemed to be, would head coach Ben Howland slow his team down in the second half in order to nurse their slim lead, or would he continue to let his boys run and gun? 

As the SnapCall answer indicates, the Bruins stayed the course and continued to get the ball up the court quickly, which allowed their dominant one-on-one players, namely Shabazz Muhammed and Jordan Adams, to get mismatches and open shots.

In this particular five play stretch, the Bruins tallied 15 total passes and on two of the possessions they passed the ball only twice.

Of course, it's not all about pace. It's about finishing plays and making shots, and that is exactly what UCLA did. After hitting 53% in the first half, UCLA finished the game shooting a highly respectable 54.4% from the floor.

Stanford kept things close, but that was largely due to the volume of shots they were able to get off due to their 15 offensive rebounds. Still, when it was all said and done, UCLA's frenetic pace and dead-eye shooting proved too much for Stanford to handle.

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