Tuesday, December 20, 2005

UCLA vs. Wagner - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

Returning to Westwood after a big road win at Ann Arbor, the UCLA Bruins play host to the Wagner Seahawks on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at Pauley Pavilion.

The Seahawks (6-1) are picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference (NEC) this year. Last year Wagner finished second in the conference losing the title game to Fairleigh Dickinson.

Wagner is coming off their own big win last weekend in which they beat Rhode Island from the Atlantic 10 conference, 63-61. The Seahawks suffered their only loss of the season to Vermont.

The Seahawks do not start a player taller than 6'7 and start a tough 6'1 guard tandem.

The leading scorer for Wagner is sophomore guard Mark Porter (6'1/170) at 14.4 ppg and who also is their leading assist leader at 4.3 apg. He led the Seahawks in scoring with 22 point in the victory over Rhode Island.

Senior DeEarnest McLemore (6-1/185)is Porter's running mate. He averages 10ppg and 3.1 apg, and was the NEC's defensive player of the year last season.

Durell Vinson (6-7/215) is a junior center/forward who leads the Seahawks in rebounding at 7.3 rpg and is their second leading scorer at 12.3 ppg

The Seahawks also have junior Matt Vitale and freshman Joey Mundweiler who come off the bench and enjoy shooting from behind the arc - the pair shoots as many 3-pointers as the rest of the team combined, and hitting well over 40%.

UCLA should have an easy victory over Wagner on Wednesday. The Bruins have a size and athleticism advantage at every position on the floor. Expect Wagner to attempt to force a slow tempo to minimize the Bruin transition game. In turn, UCLA will be trying to turn on the after-burners.

From a match-up perspective, it will be interesting to watch how Jordan Farmar plays against DeEarnest McLemore, a quick and physical guard. Last week, Farmar appeared to have difficulty with the physical defensive play of Michigan's Daniel Horton.

Note: It will be determined later today whether sophomore forward Josh Shipp will play against Wagner on Wednesday. Shipp has been practicing with the team since last week, and UCLA Coach Ben Howland had stated earlier that Shipp might begin his play in the Wagner game.



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