Saturday, December 03, 2005

Short-Handed Bruins Host Coppin St. on Sunday

By Bruin Basketball Report

The No. 16 ranked UCLA Bruins (5-1) play host to the Coppin St. Eagles (0-5) on Sunday as injuries continue to sideline Bruin players.

Center Lorenzo Mata (concussion) and forward Josh Shipp (hip) will miss Sunday's contest against the Eagles while Michael Fey (ankle) and Jordan Farmar (ankle) are both day-to-day and are questionable for the game as well.

Both Mata and Fey were injured during UCLA's Thursday practice and both did not practice on Friday, however, the Bruins did receive good news on Farmar when a third medical opinion confirmed that his injury was only a sprained ankle.

The rash of injuries leave the Bruins with potentially just seven lettermen to suit up for Sunday's game - although it will give some players who have played limited minutes this season an opportunity to show their game.

Freshman Alfred Aboya finally rejoins the Bruins tomorrow and will play both center and power forward positions yet its unlikely he will play more than 15-20 minutes. Aboya is still regaining his wind and learning the team's system. "He has no clue where he's supposed to be on out of bounds plays, on the press offense, on anything," Howland said of Aboya. "He's really starting way behind. It's so much harder to learn by watching than by doing it in practice."

Ryan Wright a 6'8 230lb freshman from Ontario Canada should garner some minutes against Coppin St. Wright has good size and is very athletic but he appears to play too quickly at times and needs to get more comfortable with the competition at the Division 1 level. Wright appeared lost on offense and defense against Albany, his first significant playing time, but he did hit a nice turnaround for his first collegiate points in the game.

Since Coppin St. does not field a player taller than 6'7, the Bruin injuries to their big men should not hurt very much tomorrow. We might even see coach Ben Howland go with a smaller lineup at times - such as fresman sensation Luc Richard Mbah A Moute at center.

Darren Collison will probably play 30-plus minutes again tomorrow with Cedric Bozeman backing up at the point. This is another great opportunity for Collison to develop his skills at the point. Against Albany, Collison struggled at the point and actually did better as the shooting guard when Howland had Bozeman playing point guard during the crucial final minutes of the game. Free to roam without the ball, Collison scored 8 key points for the Bruin victory.

The Eagles have two players who score in double figures; 6'4 sophomore forward Darryl Proctor and 5'9 sophomore guard Darryl Roberts. Coppin St. has been picked to finish seventh in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Coppin St. plays in the same conference as Delaware St whom the Bruins defeated earlier in the year 56-37.

It's the first meeting between the two schools.

( note: Congratulations to the Bruins football team on a most memorable season. We'll get them next year!


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