UCLA vs. Villanova

By Chris Fujimoto with contributions by Matthew Crawford             
Photos courtesy of Pat DiLoreto (Check back for many more photos later)

0:00- Good morning, America. The lineups are announced and the ‘Cats are running their same lineups as against American. The UCLA bruins have a lot of size on their lineup, but nothing too much that it’ll make a big difference.

20:00-The Bruins are in their away powder blue and the ‘Cats in the their home whites. UCLA wins the tip and it looks like Anderson has the early D assignment on Collison, then Reynolds goes up for a foul 110against Collison and gets knocked down. There is an aura of cockiness about Collison. Collison knocks down 2 free throws to make it 2-0 UCLA.

19:00-Dragovic loses Redding and he goes in for an uncontested layup. An alleyoop Redding to Dante gets this place on its feet. Shipp is fouled. It looks like the Bruins aren’t going to take jumpshots..and will settle for driving to the lane and taking foul shots. The highly touted freshman Jrue Holiday is on Redding and a jump ball is called. Gotta love the scrappy play by the ‘Cats early. Dante gets an offensive rebound and is called for a travel. The fans don’t like that one.

17:39The bruins are visual learners. Howland’s assistants are calling plays by writing numbers on a big white board.

17:17-Two early fouls on Aboya. The speed of the Villanova bigs is definitely messing with him. Shipp seems to be the problem early on for Villanova. He is driving to the hoop every possession and drawing fouls.

16:01-Fisher splits the two UCLA bigs and goes in for a layup. Howland is forced to call a TO and the UCLA cheerleaders come to seduce the crowd. I’ve already got my transfer papers ready.

15:35-Contact by Shipp on Anderson leaves Dragovic for a wide open three. A quick shot by Cunningham puts the ‘Cats up two again. Media Timeout.

14:20-Shots by Dante and Fish extend the lead. The Bigs of UCLA cant seem to matchup with Dante and they look like they’re just watching Dante go in for easy shots.

13:40-This place is ALIVEEE!!! Everyone is on their feet here at the Wachovia Center. The lead extends 17-9 and a Turnover by Shipp has the Bruins reeling and a 3 BY STOKES!!! This place is going wild and Howland is forced to call another time out.

12:30-A suspect offensive foul on Dante puts him on the bench. Pena is in and immediately UCLA’s Keefe goes in for a dunk. Pena might not have the same defensive prescense as Dante. Another Stokes 3, however, brings nova’s lead to 12.

11:19- REDDING 3!! the ‘Cats are in danger of blowing this one wide open. Howland uses his 3rd timeout and the ‘Cats lead by 15.

Since its a timeout on a lighter note..about an hour before the game the UCLA band was coming out on the floor, and one of their tuba players took a huge spill. What was even better was that the camermen were filming it and replayed it several times on the TV next to our press seats.

11:00-What is noticeably missing, while Dwayne dunks the ball, is Scottie Reynolds. Scottie has yet to score but his defensive pressure..especially on the UCLA guards is keeping htem scoreless.

9:08-UCLA scores four quick points and the ‘Cats look like they might be getting a little lazy. Scottie goes in for a layup and misses, but the miss is picked up by Dwayne. Aboya travels and the ‘Cats hold a 15 point lead.

7:35-Not much action recently. The ‘Cats are still up by 13 and it seems that the Bruins really don’t have an answer for Villanova. Dante is still on the bench and Reynolds finally gets his scoring going with a 3.

5:15- My bad..forgot about the blog for a bit. Clark goes for a dunk and the Cats lead ballons up to 19. A collison 3 makes it slightly closer.

4:00-Free throws are keeping UCLa relatively close, Scottie takes a deep 3 and airballs it.

3:30 – UCLA has closed to within 12 at 38 – 26. Villanova has not been making the baskets at the rate they were in the opening 15 minutes, but after 3 offensive rebounds, Reynolds finally just hit a wide open three, making the score 41 – 26.

1:10 – Scottie and the offense are taking their time with the half drawing to a close. They have a solid 15 point lead. Pena drew the foul under the basket (without walking this time around) and made 1 of his 2 free throws.

00:30 – Dwayne makes a short jumper to get the lead back to 16. This place is loud with all Villanova fans on their feet. In the middle of the celebration, Shipp was fouled and made the basket and free throw. 13 point lead going into the half. Hopefully Villanova can maintain this lead and their aggressive, physical play in the second half.

Here’s the halftime stat that jumps out at me. Villanova has a big advantage on the boards with a 19-11 advantage. Also, Villanova is beating the Bruins 8-3 on the offensive boards..which is strange because UCLA has good size down low to matchup with Villanova. Villlanova just is more committed to crashing the boards.

As the 2nd half begins Balance has been the key to Villanova’s success in the first. No player has more than seven points but eight players have scored with six players scoring at least six points. UCLA shot better in the latter part of the half but Villanova has been playing great defense against the Bruins.

19:15- Both teams have gone cold for a little and the only points have come off of free throws for Villanova.

17:53-Clark offensive rebound turns into a Cunningham layup. Looking back at the stats, the Wildcats with a committee of Redding and Fisher have completely shut down Jrue Holiday. Holiday was the best player in the nation last season and its amazing to see him shut down so easily by seasoned veterans.

17:06-Dragovic hits an open 3. Hes been the only reliable shooter for UCLA

16:30- AND THATS WHY THEY CALL HIM FISHER PRICE!!!! Corey Fisher hits a 3 and gets the layup and1…he literally is toying with the UCLA defenders right now.

16:06-Noted by my roommate Kenney, it Villanova is running a five guard lineup right now, and their defensive pressure is killing the Bruins. During the points by Fisher the whole WAchovia Center went crazy, notably Taylor King who is sitting in the fifth or sixth row behind the Villanova bench. It is amazing to think how scary this team will be with King in the lineup.

15:55-All the UCLA bigs: Shipp, Aboya and Dragovic have 3 fouls.If they get in foul trouble it might be over for the Bruins.

15:09-Shane Clark does a little shake n’ bake on Aboya. Roll for UCLA hits a quick 3 and it seems that the perimeter defense is still a little shaky.

14:04-An easy layup for Collison turns into a block for Cunningham. UCLA seems to be double teaming Dante down low, forcing him to kcik it out. Dwayne shows off a lot of athleticism by getting 3 rebounds off his own misses.

13:00-Redding goes into double figures with a nice layup.

12:35-Dante goes to the foul line after a Dwayne anderson steal. Dante is putting in another solid game against probably one of the best defensive teams in the nation. This should surely turn the eyes of some scouts toward him.

11:42-Villanova has four players in double figures…thats balance at its best.

9:57-Fisher leaves to a standing ovation by the fans. The players are fired up, they can feel it even though there is still 9:30 left in the game.

8:02-Gotta love that i’m still getting face time on CBS.

7:30-Dragovic and Shipp both have four fouls. The Wildcats need to attack inside from now on to beat the Bruins and put them away.

6:33-The lead balloons to 23 when Scottie gets two easy layups in transition.

5:30-This game is getting out of hand..Villanova is getting shots off way too easily and now have six players in double figures!

4:13-These ‘Cats are looking unbeatable right now. After looking vulnerable in the first round against American Villanova is firing on all cylinders.

3:27-Looking over at Jay and Pat Chambers on the bench it is refreshing to see them still coaching with intensity and fire even though the game appears well in hand.

2:10-Its great to see the fans appreciate Clark and Cunningham and Anderson. This is the last time the Philly fans will see the three seniors play on this court and it has to be a good feeling to see them go out with a big win.

1:17-Colenda! Tsuschi! Will Colenda finally score?

27.5-FREE THROWS FOR COLENDA! this is history. Colenda might possibly score the first points of his Villanova career. The first shot goes up, Good!! Second, Good!

0:00-Final Score Villanova 89-UCLA 69. The Wildcats will return to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. The ‘Cats had a flawless performance against a great team.

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