YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Score-Wise, Not Your Parents' Bruins

April 03, 2006|Mike Hiserman | Times Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — UCLA has won a record 11 national championships in men's basketball, but if the Bruins get a 12th tonight it will have used an unprecedented method.

The lowest scoring of the program's previous champions averaged 81.3 points a game. These Bruins come into the title game averaging 68.0.

So if they win, they'll need to have scored 586 points to not be the lowest-scoring, title-winning team in UCLA history.

The previous low was established by the 1973 Bruins, who averaged 81.3 points a game in a 30-0 season. They were led by Bill Walton, who averaged 20.4 points, and Jamaal Wilkes, who averaged 14.8.

So are these Bruins bothered by their win-ugly reputation as compared with other UCLA champions?

"I think our fans and supporters, they enjoy winning more than just showtime," guard Arron Afflalo told reporters Sunday.

Added Cedric Bozeman: "Basically it's substance over style. All we care about is the W."

However, Coach Ben Howland got a little defensive when his players were asked to compare this team with high-scoring UCLA teams of the past.

"We were doing a good job of pushing the ball last night," he said. "... We were at 39 in the first half, right?

"We scored 86 points against Arizona at home. We can play any way you want to play."


With a victory tonight, UCLA also is likely to establish a record for the best scoring defense by a national champion in its six NCAA tournament games.

The Bruins have given up an average of 52.8 points in five games.

The record since the shot clock was instituted in 1986 is 56.3 points by Michigan State in 2000. Villanova owns the overall record, having allowed an average of 50.0 points in 1985.

The 59-45 UCLA-Louisiana State semifinal on Saturday was the second-lowest Final Four score since 1986. The lowest was Michigan State defeating Wisconsin, 53-41, in a 2000 semifinal.


Florida is 3-1 and UCLA is 3-0 against common opponents.

Both teams beat Albany (N.Y.) early in the season. Louisiana State, who UCLA routed in Saturday's national semifinal, also lost twice to Florida.

The difference is that UCLA defeated Alabama, 62-59, in a second-round NCAA game at San Diego, and Florida lost at Alabama, 82-77, in a Southeastern Conference game.


UCLA has its Cameroon connection -- freshmen Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya both are from the capital city of Yaounde -- and Florida has its.

Yoakim Noah is the son of tennis star Yannick Noah, who was born in France but spent much of his youth in Cameroon.

Yoakim told reporters Sunday that he has never faced either UCLA player.

"I have a lot of love for people from Cameroon, especially guys that are playing basketball and doing well," he said.

Of his possible matchup with Mbah a Moute, he said: "After the game we will probably talk, but right now he's the enemy. I'm not really worried about showing him any love."


Noah wasn't considered a top-shelf recruit coming out of high school, but both coaches in tonight's championship game liked him.

"Actually, Coach Howland was the first coach to ever recruit me," Noah said. "My sophomore year when he was still at Pitt, I remember him being in the office at my school and saying one day he would recruit me."


West Coast observers have been getting a kick out of some of the questions Howland has been asked by East Coast reporters.

Many of them refer to the "East Coast mentality" or "East Coast toughness" Howland brought with him to UCLA after previously coaching four years at Pittsburgh.

Uh, OK, but before that the UCLA coach guided Northern Arizona and was an assistant at UC Santa Barbara and Gonzaga.

His hometown: Santa Barbara, which is well-known as a gritty, blue-collar town.

Los Angeles Times Articles