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January 22, 2010

Bruin Buzzer Beater Puts the Hurt on the Huskies

UCLA beat the Washington Huskies on a last second shoot tonight when Mustafa Abdul-Hamid’s 20 foot shot hit nothing but net with 1/10 of a second left in the game. The ball was closer to his hand than the basket when the buzzer went off to end the game with a one point victory 62 to 61.

It looked like Washington would win the game when Venoy Overton went coast to coast to put the Huskies up by one with three seconds left after Michael Roll’s two free throws put the Bruins up by one with seven seconds left in the game.

This was a must win for the Bruins after two dismal performances against Stanford and USC. The Bruin effort was strong and a complete turnaround from those previous games. UCLA played a zone the whole game and it was very effective against Washington, especially in the second half.

The Huskies like to penetrate the key with their quick guards but UCLA’s 2-3 zone stopped Washington most of the game. This was a very pleasing victory for the fans and the team and takes UCLA out of the Pac-10 cellar. The Bruins are now 3 and 3 in the conference and in the middle of the race to win the regular season title.

Leading the Bruins with a fine game in spite of fighting off the flu was Reeves Nelson with 16 points and 6 rebounds. He shot 6 for 11 and could have had at least 4 more baskets but his jumping was subpar and he fell short on those attempts.

Malcolm Lee got 13 points on 3 for 6 shooting and 1 for 2 from the 3 point line. Next was Nikola Dragovic with 11 points on 4 for 8 shooting and 0 for 2 from the 3 point line.

Tyler Honeycutt scored 10 points and got 8 boards in a great game for the young freshman. He shot 4 for 4 from the floor and 2 for 2 from the 3-point line in a game that shows how good he is becoming with more playing time.

Roll had 8 points on 2 for 7 shooting and 0 for 2 from 3-land. Abdul-Hamid added 4 points including the game winner in a fine game for him that will earn him more playing time in coming games.

UCLA shot 53.8% for the game and the Huskies shot 43.1%. Washington out rebounded the Bruins by one, 27 to 26 and had one less turnover with 15 to UCLA’s 16. This game was a 180 degree reversal from UCLA’s last two games and Coach Ben Howland was almost overcome with emotion with the win.

Howland said in the post game press conference that he and his family prayed for the team before the game. He praised Abdul-Hamid for being the hardest worker on the team and that “no one works harder than Mustafa”. He also praised Honeycutt for a great game. Abdul-Hamid said that “we are learning to care” in talking about the win. Nelson said that “coach has been on us to work hard in practice”. Honeycutt said that “they (Washington) are better than SC”.

The students rushed the court after the game in their excitement and the team ran off the court high fiving everyone close to them. This was a very exciting and satisfying win for a team that is struggling for victories in a down season.

Washington State comes in on Saturday after thrashing the Trojans tonight at the Galen Center. They are having a good season so far and it will be a tough game for the Bruins to win. But with the kind of effort UCLA displayed tonight the Bruins can win their second in a row and get near the top of the PAC-10 in just three days.


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