Sunday, November 11, 2007

UCLA vs. Youngstown St. - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

The No.2 ranked UCLA Bruins host Youngstown State in a first round game match-up of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic tournament at Pauley Pavilion tonight.

UCLA is one of four teams, the other three are Maryland, Michigan State and Missouri, serving as host schools for the tournament.  This year's event tips-off with games on November 11 through 14 and will culminate with the championship rounds November 19 through 20 at the newly constructed Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

If (when) the Bruins defeat Youngstown State they will then face the winner of the Weber State/Cal State San Bernardino game on Tuesday night at Pauley Pavilion.

2007 CBE Bracket Match-ups (PDF)

UCLA will be without junior point-guard Darren Collison who is expected to miss at least the next two games due to a sprained knee.

"It's feeling better," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "It's a progression of things now. Today will be the treadmill run.  Assuming that the doctor releases him, Tuesday will be lateral slides. Wednesday it will be stops and starts with transition movements on the floor. Hopefully by Thursday he'll be able to practice."

In his place, sophomore Russell Westbrook will be running the point again for the team.  Against Portland State, Westbrook struggled offensively committing six turnovers in the game.  Howland acknowledges Westbrook needs more experience at the point and feels the next two games will be invaluable for Westbrook to get more comfortable at the position.

The Youngstown State Penguins of the Horizon League open their season with this game against the Bruins.  They finished 14-17 in 2006-07, the most games the school has won since the 2000-01 campaign.

The Penguins lost their two leading scorers from last season, but they return seven lettermen and add a number of freshmen and transfers to the club.

The top three players returning for the Penguins are Byron Davis, Jack Liles, and John Barber 

Senior guard Byron Davis (6'2, 180) is the team's top returning scorer (8.6) and assist man (3.9).  He is moving from the point guard slot to the two-guard position this year.

The top returning post man for the Penguins is forward Jack Liles (6'8,240,Jr) who averaged 7.4 points and 6.4 rebounds a contest last year.  He is a solid frontcourt player who shot 55.6% from the field and led the team in blocks with 36 in the season.

Senior John Barber (6'7, 220) averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds a game as the team's sixth man last season.  A valuable player who does what needs to be done for the team, either it be scoring or grabbing a key rebound.  Barber will move into the starting line-up this season.

The Penguins averaged 66.0 points a game on just 43% shooting while giving up 67 points on defense last season.  Youngstown State will likely try to slow the tempo of the game down to stop the Bruin's transition game.

In the Bruin's  season opener, junior Josh Shipp stepped up his defense and held Dupree Lucas, Portland State's best offensive player scoreless.  Its the type of defensive effort UCLA needs this season from their junior leader to help offset the loss of Arron Afflalo.

"Josh did a very good job defensively," Howland said. " I'm excited to see Josh take on that challenge."

In addition, Shipp was stellar on offensive hitting on 7 of 9 shots including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc in 29 minutes of action.

BBR Notes: The Bruins are 580-87 (.870) all-time in Pauley Pavilion and have won their last 21 home games.  The last team to beat UCLA at home was 12th-ranked West Virginia, which beat the 18th-ranked Bruins 60-56 on Jan. 21, 2006.

Time: 8:00PM PT
Radio: AM 570

(photo credit: YSU)



At Nov 11, 2007, 3:42:00 PM, Anonymous Bemon said...

....uh, the Penguins?

At Nov 11, 2007, 5:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UCLA by 30.

At Nov 12, 2007, 1:08:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

I hope Westbrook will have a better game tonight against a team inferior to Portland St. and with no 5'6 guy running around to harass him.
But I'm not concerned about the PG spot since in the long run, he's just our back-up PG and Darren will be back next week. Russell will then just need to fill in spots.
All is good in Westwood. Go Bruins!

At Nov 12, 2007, 2:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, I was wrong, UCLA by 31....


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