Saturday, January 26, 2008

Collison and Love Power Bruins Over Beavers

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Junior Darren Collison scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Bruins to a 85-62 victory over the Oregon State Beavers at Corvallis.

Showing he has completely returned from an early season knee injury, Collison shot 9 of 12 from the field and made 12 of 12 from the free throw line. He is in the midst of a 26 consecutive free throw streak.

Collison, who sat out the first six games of the season due to his injury, stroked it effectively from outside and drove the lane with reckless abandon.

"He played poised and smart, and I'm really happy for him," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. "Now we've got to build off this."

Kevin Love muscled his way to 16 points and set yet another Bruin freshman record with 21 rebounds. In his trip back to the state of Oregon, Love finished with a combined 42 points and 39 rebounds over two games.

The freshman center also showcased his outlet passing talents numerous times during the game, hitting his teammates in stride down the court for quick baskets.

The Bruins (18-2, 6-1) went on a 17-2 run in the first seven minutes of the second-half to open up a nineteen point cushion to put the game away early. They held the Beavers to without a field goal in the half until the 11:44 mark. Oregon State shot just 22.2% over the final twenty minutes.

Yet, as much as UCLA dominated the second-half, the last-place Beavers played them tough in the first-half, trailing at halftime by the score of 43-39 and went into the locker room brimming with confidence they could hang with the Pac-10 champs.

Although Oregon State (6-14, 0-8) went into the game shooting a Pac-10 worst 38.3% from the field and 27% on three-pointers, they exploited the Bruin defense, as Oregon and USC had done in their games, by spreading the floor and dribble penetrating for lay-ups.

Beaver's Josh and Seth Tarver and Lathan Wallace took their defenders off the dribble to the basket numerous times for 33 first-half points alone. Wallace also hit two deep threes. Oregon State finished shooting 48.5% in the half and 50% (4 of 8) on three pointers.

Opponents have realized the best way to beat the Bruin defense is by spreading the floor and minimizing help defenders and at times exploiting them with back door cuts/passes. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's presence and quickness on defense is sorely missed. He was out for a second game due to a concussion.

Moreover, Russell Westbrook allowed his opponent on numerous occasions to easily beat him off the dribble and penetrate in the first half. Westbrook, who had been gaining a reputation as a defensive stopper, doesn't seem as focused as he was earlier in the season. At times during the game he was either playing his opponent at the wrong angles or guarding them too closely, and allowing them to blow by him numerous times.

Although the Bruin defensive intensity increased in the second-half, ultimately leading to a blow-out victory, they'll certainly need both Mbah a Moute back and on court and for Westbrook to reclaim his spot as the team's defensive stopper if they are to be successful this season.

Josh Shipp struggled with his shooting for the second consecutive game. Although he finished with 12 points against the Beaers, he was just 5 of 18 on this Oregon road trip.

UCLA went to the foul line twice as much as Oregon State, finishing 28 of 36 (77.7%) from the charity stripe. The Bruins also outrebounded the Beavers, 41-30.

The Bruins go back home to Pauley Pavilion to prepare for Arizona State on Thursday. The Sun Devils lost a close game on Saturday to Washington State, 56-55.

(photo credit: AP)


Friday, January 25, 2008

UCLA vs. Oregon State - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Sitting atop the Pac-10 conference in first-place, UCLA finishes their swing through the state of Oregon when they face the Beavers in Corvallis on Saturday.

The Bruins (17-2, 5-1) have won five straight against Oregon State, including a 71-56 win the last time the teams faced each other at Gill Coliseum.

Oregon State's basketball program, which once sported stars such as Gary Payton and A.C. Green and guided by Hall of Fame coach Ralph Miller, has fallen into complete disarray.

After a 0-6 start in conference play, Coach Jay John was fired last week after years of mediocrity and low expectations. His departure was quickly followed by the dismissal of transfer center C.J. Giles from the team. Yet, things began to unravel much earlier for John and the team, when at the end of last season starters Sasa Cuic and Jack McGillis opted to leave the program for better opportunities elsewhere.

The Beavers named assistant coach Kevin Mouton as interim coach last week and he immediately decided to shake things up on Thursday against USC by benching the team's second leading scorer and only senior Marcel Jones. Jones did come off the bench but he scored just 5 points on 1-11 shooting.

Oregon State was sacked by the Trojans in the game, 68-44. The Beaver's leading scorer was reserve, Lathen Wallace who had been averaging just 8 minutes a contest. For the game, the team shot 27.7% from the field.

With the Pac-10 conference sporting a multitude of teams capable of making the NCAA tournament this year, only the Beavers (6-13, 0-7) are out of any contention, and their abysmal season is only expected to get worse.

The Beavers are averaging 60.5 points a game on 38.3% shooting from the field and an embarrassing 27.9% on three-pointers.

The lone bright spot on the team has been the play of sophomore wing Seth Tarver (6'5, 205). After a rough freshman season when he battled injuries, he leads the team in scoring with 12.0 a game and is averaging 5.4 rebounds.

Tarver's brother, Josh, however has struggled from the point this season. All his numbers are down from his frosh year, he's averaging 7.5 points on just 33.6% shooting.

Seth and Josh's older brother, Shon, played at UCLA for four years (1991-1994). He led the Bruins in scoring in 1993.

For UCLA, both Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real are questionable for tomorrow's game. It wouldn't be surprising if either players were held out to give them more time to get over their concussions. It would give their replacements, James Keefe and Nikola Dragovic, some minutes on the floor to help hone their games.

Although Keefe fouled out on Thursday with just 3 points and no rebounds,, his scrappy play on the floor and willingness to set screens is invaluable in Howland's offense.

After hitting a key three-pointer down the stretch against Oregon, its hoped Dragovic is out of his early season shooting slump. Going into the game, Dragovic was shooting just 19% (6-31) from beyond the arc.

Date: Jan. 26
UCLA vs Oregon State
Time: 8:00 PM PT
Place: Corvallis, OR
TV: FSN Prime
Radio: AM 570

(photo credit: OSU Athletics)


Thursday, January 24, 2008

UCLA Gets Gritty Win In Oregon

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

In his homecoming back to Oregon, Kevin Love scored 26 points and hauled down a career-high 18 rebounds to lead UCLA to a tough 80-75 win over Oregon at McArthur Court.  It was the Duck's first loss of the season on their home court.

Love was greeted by a number of chants from the Duck's student section but he let his play on the court do the talking.  He finished 8-11 from the field and shot 8-12 from the free throw line.  Love's 18 rebounds is a UCLA single-game record for a freshman.

The Bruins outrebounded the Ducks 36-24.

Oregon (12-7, 3-4) followed the same blueprint on offense that helped them nab a win last season against the Bruins, namely spreading the court and taking the perimeter defender off the dribble thereby negating UCLA's help defense. 

And it worked for most of the game.

The Bruin defensive rotation found itself a step too slow to help in the paint as Oregon's Maarty Leunen, Bryce Taylor, and Malik Hairston repeatedly took their defenders off the dribble for lay-ups.

Leunen and Taylor finished with 16 points while Hairston tallied 18. 

The final game result may have been different, but Hairston, who torched whomever the Bruins put on him, cramped up halfway through the second half and had to leave the game with the Ducks up by 61-56.  Although he returned with a minute remaining in the game, it was too late to make a difference.

UCLA began the game short-handed with both Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real sitting out the game due to concussions.  In addition, the Bruin big men were saddled with foul trouble all night with Alfred Aboya playing with four fouls for most of the second half and James Keefe fouling out.   

As a result, Coach Ben Howland had to play reserve forward Nikola Dragovic at the power forward spot towards the end of the game.  The young Serb from Belgrade responded with a big three-pointer with 3:21 remaining to help pull the Bruins within one point of the Ducks  71-70.  Then Dragovic had a key rebound on a Leunen miss a few moments later after a Russell Westbrook lay-on put the Bruins ahead for good.

Point guard Darren Collison had one of his best games of the season, scoring a career-high 22 points and handing out 6 assists while committing just a single turnover in the game. Collison especially looked like his old self in the second half as he repeatedly penetrated into the paint for scores to help the Bruins rally for the win.

Westbrook finished with 15 points and helped on the boards finishing with 7 rebounds.

UCLA improves their record to 17-2 overall and have sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with a 5-1 record.  Both Washington State and Arizona State lost their games tonight to fall into a second place tie with Stanford.

The Bruins now travel to Corvallis to take on the reeling Oregon State Beavers.  Oregon State fired their head basketball coach, Jay Johns, this week and also dismissed center C.J. Giles from the team.

(photo credit: AP)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

UCLA vs. Oregon - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA will try to rebound from a disappointing loss last week to USC when they travel up north on Thursday to face the Oregon Ducks at McArthur Court in Eugene.

Bruin freshman star Kevin Love returns home to Oregon where he played high school basketball at Lake Oswego.  He is expected to receive a special welcome from the home crowd and student section.

“They’re just trying to help their team win," Kevin Love said. "I’m just going to look at it as something fun for me. We’re going to come out with our game plan and will be ready. The Pit is just trying to help the U of O team as best as they can.”

Oregon (12-6, 3-3) returns home to McArthur Court where it is undefeated in 2007-08 (8-0).

The Ducks were swept last week on the road by both Washington schools. On Saturday, they fell short against the Cougars, 69-60. Oregon center Maarty Leunen scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the losing cause. Malik Hairston added 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting.

As indicated by their home record, Oregon will be tough to beat at McArthur Court. An explosive offensive team, which can put points up on the scoreboard quickly, the Ducks lead the Pac-10 in scoring, averaging 80.4 points a contest while shooting 49% from the field. In addition, they lead the conference in three-pointers made per game with 8.2, making 37.9% of their long-distance attempts.

Oregon has struggled taking care of the ball season at times, giving up 15.4 turnovers a game, which has resulted in less field goal attempts per game versus opponents – almost 3.6 less attempts.

Last season the Ducks gave the Bruins difficulties when they spread the floor on offense to allow their perimeter players to take UCLA defenders off the dribble. Although, speedy point guard Aaron Brooks is no longer here, they have still have skilled and quick guards and wings who can cause problems for the Bruins.

UCLA may even have more trouble due to the potential loss of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute for this game due to a concussion. With Michael Roll already sidelined by a foot injury, if Mbah a Moute is unavailable then expect both Chace Stanback and Nikola Dragovic to see minutes. James Keefe will also see increased time if Mbah a Moute is out but also since senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real may miss the game.  Mata-Real also suffered a concussion during the USC game.

Duck's reserve forward Joevan Catron, who has missed the entire Pacific-10 Conference season with plantar fascitis, is expected to play Thursday night.  Kamyron Brown, the back-up freshman point guard who had to fly back to Los Angeles to visit his ill grandmother on Monday, is also expected to be on the court to face the Bruins.

Defensively, Oregon has allowed opponents 73.1 points a game on just 31.8% shooting. In six conference games, the Ducks have been outrebounded by bigger Pac-10 teams 33.3 to 32.2 rebounds a game.

Coach Ernie Kent’s Oregon team lacks size inside, although Catron's return helps. The Ducks usually play four guards on the floor lined up alongside forward Maarty Leunen. As a result of being overmatched in the interior against the Bruins, the Ducks will likely play primarily zone defense especially since UCLA has struggled at times attacking zones.

The Ducks are led by a triumvirate of talented seniors who are looking to make a big mark in their last collegiate season: Maarty Leunen, Malik Hairston, and Bryce Taylor.

Leunen (6’8, 220) gives the Ducks their only regular presence inside the paint although he is just as comfortable stepping out and hitting a three-point shot. He is averaging 15.9 points on 58.8% field goal shooting and leads the team in rebounding with 9.9 a game.

The former Redmond HS star is also leading the team in three-point shooting percentage, averaging 49.2% from beyond the arc. Although not a shot-blocker, Leunen plays solid position defense in the post, but he will be challenged by UCLA’s big freshman center Kevin Love (6’9, 265). No doubt, the Duck’s defensive zone will collapse on to Love to deny post pass entries into him as well as to protect Leunen from any potential foul trouble.

Looking to show he was worth all the hype he received as a top incoming freshman four years ago, Malik Hairston (6'6, 220) has started this season as a force to be reckon with on the floor. The senior forward leads the team in scoring with 18.0 a game while shooting 55% from the field and 47.9% from beyond the arc.

Although not the quickest player on the court, his hot perimeter shooting has allowed him to take opponents off the dribble and get into the paint where he is a good scorer.  He has also been very effective on the offensive boards utilizing his length and size.

Hairston will be an extremely tough match-up for the Bruins if Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is unavailable to suit up. James Keefe and perhaps Chace Stanback would get the call against Hairston if Mbah a Moute is unable to go.

Bryce Taylor (6'4, 210) is an athletic wing who usually saves his best games for the Bruins.  He's averaging 13.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a game . He's also shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc.

A solid defender and dynamic scorer who can get to the basket as well as shoot from the three, Taylor will be initially matched up against Josh Shipp although we'll likely see Russell Westbrook immediately shifting onto Taylor once he enters the game. 

At point guard is Tajuan Porter (5'6, 150, So) who is going through a sophomore jinx.  With Aaron Brooks gone, Porter has been asked to replace the All-Pac 10 conference first team point guard, however he has struggled mightily from the field.  While Porter is averaging  a respectable 13.0 points a game, he is shooting an abysmal 37.9% from the field and 30.5% on three-pointers.

Although he's improved his decision-making of late, Porter still has struggled with turnovers, many times trying to force the action on the floor.  Freshman Kamyron Brown (6'2, 170) has played surprisingly well for the Ducks and has given Coach Kent another option at the point.  Brown started against Washington State.

With injuries mounting on the Bruin bench, and with still more than half the Pac-10 season to go, UCLA has some upcoming challenges against talent-laden teams, especially in a venue like McArthur Court.

Without Mbah a Moute, the Bruins not only lose a valuable rebounder and system player, they more importantly lose an excellent perimeter and lock-down defender.  And against a perimeter-dominated team like Oregon, the Bruins may have trouble keeping up with the Ducks in Eugene.

Defensively, UCLA needs to get back in transition and stop the Ducks from running, and prevent them from getting into the paint off the dribble.

The Bruins will need to work hard to execute on offense and get the ball to Kevin Love and leverage their huge size advantage in the middle.  Whether it be inside or at the high post or short corner, the offense needs to run through Love.

(photo credit: Oregon Athletics) 


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Love Teleconference Notes, Injury Updates

Kevin Love
Teleconference Quotes

(courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

Kevin Love, who played at Lake Oswego High School in Oregon, makes his first road trip to the state in a UCLA Bruins uniform.

on what factors he considered when choosing to attend UCLA

“Location and staying close to home. My two finalists were UNC and UCLA. I just felt like UCLA was the right fit for me. I took my first unofficial visit here – it was the first unofficial visit I ever went on. It felt like the right place and most of my family lives here in southern California, so it just felt like the right fit for me.”

on consideration to attend either Oregon or Oregon State

“Oregon, I actually gave a lot of consideration to, just because there is so much tradition there. The fans are great. My dad went there. I fell in love with the school at an early age. I didn’t give much consideration to Oregon State, but that’s a great school. Everyone in the Pac-10 is going to be a tough team to beat. We’re looking forward to both games this weekend.”

on fans at McArthur Court

“It’s going to be ruthless out there. But, it’s all in good fun. They are just trying to help their team to win. If I had a crowd like that, I’d be proud of it. I think that they are undefeated at home this season, so they’re doing a great job with it.

“They’re just trying to help their team win. I’m just going to look at it as something fun for me. We’re going to come out with our game plan and will be ready. The Pit is just trying to help the U of O team as best as they can.”

on Maarty Leunen

“Maarty and I have been playing against each other since I was in the eighth grade. He’s a great player. I think he’s shooting 49 percent from the threes right now, and he’s looking like a great player. He’s absolutely one of the best players in the Pac-10.”

“He’s very versatile, and I know his family very well. I played against his brother, Matt, back in the day, and also Mike back in the day. They’ve got a great family, and I look forward to playing against Maarty. He’s got a very versatile game – he can drive the ball, he can really shoot the ball one, and like I said, he’s one of the best players in the Pac-10.”

on watching games at McArthur Court growing up

“I just remember going there with my dad at an early age to watch the Oregon games. There is such a great history there, and it’s such a great feeling when you walk into Mac Court and you’ve got the Pit going on there. I used to come up and watch games all through my high school and junior high school years. I won a state championship and a number of games [at McArthur Court], so it’s a great feeling of something special.

on the University of Oregon

“It’s just a great place. I loved growing up in Oregon and growing up in Lake Oswego. It’s a good place. I think everybody there has a great time. I’ve talked to Maarty [Leunen] quite a few times, and they’re doing a great job there. They had a great run last year in the tournament, so more power to them.”

on Oregon’s strengths

“[Tajuan] Porter can really shoot the ball – really, the whole team can. Malik Hairston is going to be a tough match-up for us as well. I played against Kamyron Brown last year, when he was at Mater Dei. He’s a great player for them. They like to run the ball. They can all shoot and they can all drive. They’re an aggressive team that we’re going to have to play some tough defense on.”

on differences between Oregon and Los Angeles

“L.A. is probably the second-biggest media market in the country, if not in the whole world. It’s been different than what I experienced in the past. But I’ve had a lot of fun. I made the honor roll down here. I’ve had a lot of fun with my classes, and I’ve made a lot of friends outside of the basketball community. What a lot of you guys can relate to down here is that there’s sunshine every day, and it’s always raining up there. But I’m looking forward to coming back up to the rain on Wednesday through Sunday.”

on staying at UCLA beyond his freshman season

“At the beginning of the year, they asked me that question. But I’m a UCLA Bruin right now. I’m 19 years old and I’m just enjoying my first season. If the NBA comes calling after this year, I’ll have to sit down with my family and assess my options. As of right, now I’m a UCLA Bruin, and I’m trying to get better every day.”

on thoughts after losing to USC on Saturday

“Well, on Monday we watched some film. We looked a lot of our mistakes and we’re trying to get a couple wins up at Oregon. All road games, especially at the Pit and Gill Coliseum are going to be tough wins to get. We need to come out with more intensity this time and really show what we’re made of.”

on making adjustments coming out of high school

“I knew what to expect – I’ve talked to my assistant coaches and with Coach Howland as much as I could to get adjusted to the [college] game. The biggest thing was just having a schedule and being on schedule and trying to be on time to everything. With classes, and media, and homework and practice and lifting and when to eat and that sort of thing, that was tough at first. But now that I have gotten more adjusted to college life, it has been a better transition for me.”

on legendary head coach John Wooden

“Coach Wooden is a great guy and he’s 97 years old. I’ve gotten to talk to him a couple of times. He came out to campus and gave a speech to all the student-athletes. I’ve developed a little of a relationship with him and I’m just trying to embrace that as much as possible.”

BBR Notes: UCLA coach Ben Howland said at his weekly pressor that forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was questionable and center Lorenzo Mata-Real was doubtful for Thursday's game against Oregon in Eugene . Both players sustained concussions during the first half of Saturday's game against USC and missed most of the second half.

Without one or both players, sophomore James Keefe should see plenty of action this weekend. Over the last three games, Keefe is averaging 13 minutes and has shown improvement in his play since returning from offseason shoulder surgery.

Point guard Darren Collison still feels soreness in his hip but feels it shouldn't hamper his play in the upcoming road trip. Collison also said his knee has fully recovered from the earlier season injury.

(photo by Bruin Basketball Report)

Monday, January 21, 2008

UCLA Drops Down In Polls

By Bruin Basketball Report

With the loss at home last week against USC, the Bruins dropped to No.8 in the AP writers and No.7 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches polls.

The Bruins were upset by the Trojans, 72-63 on Saturday. They hit the road this week to Oregon to face both Ducks and Beavers.

At Oregon State today, Jay Johns was fired as head coach after an 0-6 start in Pac-10 conference play. Assistant Kevin Moutin will serve as interim coach.

In addition, Oregon State announced former Kansas-transfer center C.J Giles was dismissed from the team on Monday. No reason was given for the decision.

Stanford moved into the polls at No.20 in the AP and No.21 in the Coaches after sweeping both Arizona schools at home last week. While Arizona State is the only other Pac-10 conference school in the polls, falling at No.24 in the AP.

At the top of the polls, Memphis and Kansas are the new No.1 and No.2 teams, respectively, in both polls after North Carolina was upset by Maryland in Chapel Hill, 82-80.

As for RPI ranking the Bruins are No.13 and are No.20 in strength of schedule (SOS).

2007-08 UCLA Rankings Weekly Changes: LINK

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (1/21)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


According to a source near the UCLA basketball program, the Bruins' coaching staff was both shocked and elated that Reeves Nelson has decided to tie his basketball future to UCLA. They expected him to wait until at least the end of this season to tie the knot. "There's no pressure on me any more," Nelson said prior to Tuesday's Trans-Valley League game against Riverbank. "I started getting recruited pretty heavily the summer after my freshman year. From then until now it's been a hectic time. I get 30 letters a day. I get phone calls every day. At first, I thought it was really cool. After awhile, it doesn't get annoying but it does get old." Modesto Bee 1/16

MODESTO CHR. 94, RIVERBANK 59, at Modesto Christian -- Reeves Nelson had 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Crusaders (10-4, 3-0) over the Bruins (0-3). Modesto Bee 1/16

Drew Gordon’s last high school shot was a three-pointer at the buzzer to send Mitty’s game against Riordan into overtime on Friday night. Gordon didn’t know it at the time, but he took the shot while playing on a broken foot. The 6-foot-9 UCLA-bound center broke his left foot in two places when he landed off-balance while trying to block a shot with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter of Mitty’s 46-45 overtime loss at Riordan. Gordon will be in a cast for six weeks, ending a high school career that many envisioned would end with him holding a state championship trophy. “I wasn’t ready for this to happen,” he said. “We have a great team. All my support goes to my teammates. I have no doubt they can accomplish all that they hope for.” Gordon was relieved in one respect, no surgery is required. Mercury News 1/19

Jrue Holiday led four of his teammates in double figures with a game-high 26 points, while Dallas Rutherford added 25 of his own. The Vikings (17-4, 5-0 Olympic League) used their relentless full-court pressure to take the air out of the Mounties' gymnasium quickly and distance themselves. They used a 30-9 first-quarter advantage to coast to their 49-19 halftime lead. Daily News 1/19

Rancho Cucamonga 90, Los Osos 74: Rashad Bowie scored 24 points for Rancho Cucamonga (15-6, 2-2), which used a 31-point third quarter to turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Kendall Williams led Los Osos (12-8, 1-3) with 18 points while Derek Rogers had 16. Nick Bennett chipped in 18 for Rancho Cucamonga. Redlands Daily Facts 1/19

Canyon High was in perfect position for a letdown. The Comanches had beaten archrival Villa Park less than 24 hours before playing Ocean View in a mid-afternoon game Saturday in the MLK Invitational at Century High. This,” Canyon senior Jerime Anderson said, “was our most dangerous game of the season.” Living dangerously suits Anderson. He scored 26 points with 12 rebounds, 12 assists, three blocked shots and three steals as Canyon beat Ocean View, 69-57, in one of five boys basketball games that were part of the event. Canyon, ranked No. 7 in Orange County, improved to 16-4. Ocean View is 14-5. OC Register 1/19

Campbell Hall of North Hollywood couldn't have asked for more chances to win, and fans couldn't have asked for more entertainment value in the evening finale of the Pangos Classic on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. The Vikings fell 78-77 in double overtime to South Atlanta, but not before getting three good looks at a potential winning shot down the stretch. Jrue Holiday's final attempt at the win came from just inside the 3-point line at the elbow; it hit the side of the rim and came off as the buzzer sounded. Holiday finished with a game-high 35 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and nine steals. He scored all of the Vikings' points in the first overtime, and his left-handed scoop shot at the end of regulation appeared to give his team the win before the referees waved it off, saying time had expired. Daily News 1/20

With 2 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second quarter, guard D.J. Seeley crashed to the floor, holding his left ankle, and had to be helped to the locker room. Then, barely a minute into the third quarter, forward Reeves Nelson turned his ankle on nearly the same spot of the floor and limped to the bench.
Both would return to action, with Nelson scoring 16 of his game-high 27 points after being nicked. Modesto Bee 1/20


San Diego's 6-11 sophomore Jeremy Tyler, who missed 11 minutes of the first half after collecting his third foul midway through the first quarter, helped the Cavers increase their intensity down the stretch. Horizon's Jeff Withey, who has signed with Arizona, won the battle on paper as the 7-footer had 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Tyler finished strong with 12 points, seven boards and a pair of blocks. His brother, James, led the Cavers with 15 points. Union Tribune 1/15

Rocklin beat Oakmont 63-42 last week behind 15 points each by Jackson Cummings and Brendan Lane. Rocklin has won 14 consecutive games and leads the Sierra Foothill League with a 3-0 record. Sac Bee 1/15

Led by 6' 10" junior center Renardo Sidney Fairfax started to work the ball inside. The Lions outscored Palisades 17-10 in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter with a six-point lead. The margin grew to 10 points with five minutes left but once again the Dolphins refused to fold. Palisadian 1/16

Standing in Del Oro's way - literally - is Thunder junior Brendan Lane, a 6-foot-10, 200-pound power forward who is already being recruited as one of the top post players in the state. "He's a kid that you're not going to stop," Del Oro head coach Geoff Broyles said. "We just want to make it difficult for him, give him different looks where it's tough to get into a rhythm offensively." Lane, who has already received several scholarship offers from Top 25 schools, has recorded a double-double in 12 of the 17 games he's played in Auburn Journal 1/16

Until recently, UCLA was not recruiting Renardo Sidney. There were major questions as to whether Sidney had enough of a blue-collar mentality to play for Ben Howland. There was also the question of whether Sidney and the Wear twins could coexist. But now that Travis Wear and David Wear have committed to North Carolina, the word out of Westwood is that UCLA is beginning a concerted effort to land Sidney - the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2009. Adding to the intrigue, this looks to be shaping up as a two-school, Pac-10, intra-city battle for Sidney between the Bruins and the Trojans. UCLA has some ground to make up against USC, which has been vigorously recruiting Sidney. If Sidney's attendance this past weekend at the UCLA/Washington State game is any indicator, it looks like UCLA is in the process of making up some ground. Is UCLA sold on Sidney and ready to extend an offer? I don't know, but a courtship has certainly begun. Sidney is making strides and maturing as a player. His game is similar to Love's in that both have great physical strength and both are highly skilled with a mature/intelligent game. Neither is an explosive athlete, but each has exceptional body control. Where they differ is that Love enjoys contact more and has a greater passion for rebounding. Sidney is a more advanced ballhandler who can change directions and create with the dribble. They were a great complement to each other when they played together two summers ago with the SoCal All Stars. Love made a living off Sidney's skilled play in the high post. Rivals 1/17

UConn assistant coach Andre LaFleur's trip to Australia to see recruit Ater Majok was quick but productive, as the Huskies are still considered one of the leaders for the 6-foot-9 forward. LaFleur left after Saturday's Georgetown game to watch Majok work out, but the player was sidelined by a slight knee injury. LaFleur did meet with his coaches and academic personnel to make sure he is on track for eligibility. LaFleur returned to the United States Wednesday, landing in Los Angeles, then took a red-eye flight to Boston. Journal Inquirer 1/18

If there were any doubts about the basketball ability of 6-foot-10 junior center Renardo Sidney of Los Angeles Fairfax, they vanished Friday night during an extraordinary individual performance against Westchester in a game for first place in the Western League. Sidney scored a career-high 36 points, including five dunks, and had 19 rebounds, five assists and three blocks as the No. 7-ranked Lions (15-2, 5-0) held off No. 3 Westchester, 68-63, at Fairfax. "He is such a phenomenal player," Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said. "He has a great feel for the game." LA Times 1/19

Jordan Hamilton scored 33 points, Myron Green 13 and Robert Mandingo 10 as Dominguez remained undefeated in the SGVL after going on the road and beating Lynwood 79-68 Friday night. Press Telegram 1/19

Bragging rights were on the line Saturday afternoon between Renaissance Academy of La Canada and La Canada High. Tiny Renaissance Academy did not take long to prove who is better this season in a 67-35 rout of last season's Southern Section Div.III-AA runner-up at Taft High in Woodland Hills in the War on the Floor showcase. Justin Cook and 6-foot-10 junior forward Anthony Stover scored 14 points each and juniors Tremaine Tatum and Hector Harold scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Wildcats (18-2). "That was a big win today for us," Stover said. "We are out here proving we are a great team. A lot of people don't give us respect because we are a small school, so we have to show them what's up." Daily News 1/19

(photo credit Modesto Bee)