UCLA, MacLean Make Cal Look Like Soft Touch
The play is found in what UCLA calls its “11" series. Don MacLean slides along the baseline within the shadow of the basket where he waits for the ball.
MacLean knew what do with it Wednesday night.
“I was focused,” he said.
Here is what he saw: On UCLA’s opening night of Pacific 10 Conference play, all those 11s were worth about 25 (points) for MacLean, the freshman with the soft touch, in a 76-59 rout of California.
The Bruins drew 11,831 to Pauley Pavilion against a Cal team that was supposed be a lot better than the way it played against UCLA.
Coach Jim Harrick had one too many gunners for Lou Campanelli, his counterpart, who could put up star 6-foot 8-inch center Leonard Taylor to match Harrick’s star, Trevor Wilson, but had no one to counter MacLean.
Wilson had 24 points on 11-for-18 shooting, and MacLean made 11 of 19 and had 9 rebounds in a strong performance. Taylor worked the Bruins over in the middle early and finished with 26 points, but he could not do it alone.
For a while he did, mainly in the first half, which ended with UCLA clinging to a 34-32 lead and lucky to be there. The Bruins managed only 2 field goals the last 8:33 of the half and a 25-18 lead became a 32-29 deficit.
But Cal didn’t score again, and UCLA went ahead after Kevin Walker blocked a shot by Taylor and MacLean made a couple of free throws.
A lead is a lead, but Harrick didn’t think the one he had at halftime was much good. The Bruins were a little too up-tight, he thought, especially Walker, who was 0 for 6 at that point.
So at the half, Harrick sent out a search party for Walker’s jumper.
“It was hiding in his locker,” Harrick said. “I just told him and everybody else to relax. Take a deep breath. Shoot the ball. My heavens, goodness gracious.”
Indeed. So it was a more carefree Bruin team that took over the game in the second half.
As Harrick said: “We started relaxing a little bit.”
No one could have been more relaxed than MacLean. But Harrick said back-to-back-to-back hoops by Wilson, with Pooh Richardson pushing the ball upcourt, looked pretty laid back to him.
Then, 3 minutes into the second half, and UCLA ahead, 40-39, the 11 series went into motion and so did MacLean:
--A 6-foot flip after a Pooh pass: 42-39.
--Another 6-footer, this one an off-balance leaner after an offensive rebound: 44-39.
--An offensive rebound and a 4-footer: 46-39.
After Walker dialed a 3-pointer (the first of 3 straight 3s), a line-drive 14-footer--51-39.
That pretty much was it for Cal, which never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way. MacLean nailed a 10-footer from the right baseline for a 62-46 lead, and there was still 9:24 to go.
After that, Harrick used just about everyone, with the notable exception of Charles Rochelin, who had been averaging 22 minutes a game.
Harrick said Rochelin took a seat because he had been late to practice a couple of times this week.
“His clock is malfunctioning,” Harrick said.
Meanwhile, the Cal offense was on the fritz, too. Campanelli’s guards were a collective 4 for 19, which allowed Harrick’s zone to collapse on Taylor.
“We got him surrounded a couple of times,” Harrick said.
Taylor had his hands on 9 rebounds and teammate Roy Fisher had 10 in addition to finishing off a couple of nice alley-oops with resounding dunks.
But Cal found itself unable to handle UCLA’s zone, which seemed only fair because the Bruins had major trouble attacking the Bears’ zone in the first half.
“It was a funny zone,” said Richardson, the game’s leading playmaker with 7 assists. “I guess they just did what they had to do.”
Cal’s losing streak at Pauley reached 25, and although they are not the only Pac 10 team to be 0-for-the-building (Stanford is 0-23 and coming in Friday night), their second-half collapse was a bit surprising.
“We just played horrible,” Campanelli said. “Leonard gave as much as he could. We are a better team than we showed tonight. I would expect us to play better the next time we play UCLA.”
Until that time, the Bruins are probably going to try to recreate the frame of mind they enjoyed when they were doing all that fine defense and that relaxed shooting.
“The shots were just there,” Wilson said. “Pooh gave the ball in good places and after that, it was just easy.”
Expect Stanford to be a lot tougher.