Reliving the 2006 NCAA Tournament game vs. Gonzaga (cont.)
The Gonzaga Bulldogs were fronted by Adam Morrison who led the nation in scoring with an unprecedented 28.1 points per game that season. He was supported by the battle-tested J.P. Batista and Derek Raivio, both of who were also scoring in double-digits.
The Howland Bruins were known for their suffocating defense, which is how they dominated the west that season. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ high scoring offense took control in first game of the Oakland Regional.
There was early indication that this game was going to be very difficult for the Bruins. That was evident by the fact that it took UCLA three minutes to score their first basket. Fortunately for them, Gonzaga had only scored one basket as the game was tied at 2, but that was the last time the Bruins would be anywhere near a tie or a lead. At least until the end of the game. But after the 17:03 mark in the first half, this game was all Bulldogs.
Gonzaga was making almost everything they put up. The Bruins who were starting to get a reputation as a team that could shut you down with their man-to-man defense, could not slow down the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga had pushed their first half lead to 17 points twice, but UCLA was not giving up, a signature trait of Howland’s squads.
By halftime, the Bruins cut Gonzaga’s lead to 13 as they went into the break down 42-29.