Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bruins Steamroll Over Wildcats, 82-60

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Photo Gallery

Freshman Kevin Love dominated the interior on his way to 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead UCLA to a 82-60 rout of Arizona before 12,111 at Pauley Pavilion and a nationally televised audience.

Love's 13th double-double of the season was too much for the overmatched Wildcat frontcourt.

In an attempt to protect their center Jordan Hill from foul trouble, Arizona started 6'6 Bret Beirlmaier and used 6'6 Fendi Onobum off the bench against Love, and the freshman phenom from Lake Oswego had his way in the paint. Love was 9-12 from the field and 7-8 from the free line.

"He doesn't play like a freshman, does he?" UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "He is such a special player and is so hard to handle in the paint. The whole team did a good job feeding him the ball. He got a lot of second shots."

UCLA's offense was clicking again, as it has the last four games, on all cylinders, with players moving and making the extra pass to open teammates.

"We pressured the ball," UCLA's Darren Collison said. "We did whatever it takes to disrupt the other team's offense. We're playing team ball. That extra pass really counts."

Russell Westbrook abused Arizona's Chase Budinger all night on the offensive end, lighting up the Wildcat forward for 21 points on 10-13 shooting. Westbrook posted up the bigger Budinger and scored on him at will in the paint.

Collison added 12 points and 7 assists in the victory.

As good as UCLA's offense was in the game, their defense sparkled even brighter.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute blanketed Budinger who labored for 9 points and committed 3 turnovers. Mbah a Moute was assisted by good team defense on Budinger who was continually bumped off his route whenever he tried to curl off a screen to get open.

Budinger became so frustrated in the game that he was later called for a flagrant foul on a spineless play where he practically tackled Josh Shipp on a breakaway layup.

Arizona's leading scorer Jerryd Bayless found little room to shoot as well, he finished with just 13 points as Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison combined to frustrate the Wildcat freshman all night long.

Moreover, Westbrook and Collison's pressure defense on the perimeter was a big factor in the win as they kept the Wildcats off balance by forcing them to initiate the offense 10-15 feet further than they're normally used to.

UCLA had their game going from the outset, opening a 23-8 lead after the first nine minutes of the game. The Bruins held the Wildcats to just 32% in the first-half in route to a huge 42-22 halftime lead.

Halftime provided no respite for the Wildcats as they seemingly came out in the second-half already looking like a defeated team with no fight left in them. Arizona never got as close as 19 points the rest of the contest.

UCLA dominated in every facet of the game. They finished the game shooting a sizzling 57.1% from the field with most of their shots coming on layups and dunks. UCLA attempted only 10 three-pointers in the game - making just two.

The Bruins controlled the glass all night, outrebounding the Wildcats 35-23.

With the triumph over Arizona, the first-place Bruins move to 20-2 overall and 8-1 in the conference. The Widcats dropped to 15-7 and 5-4.

BBR Notes: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sprained his left ankle with just over seven minutes remaining. Howland had no immediate update after the game.

(photo credit: AP)


Friday, February 01, 2008

UCLA vs. Arizona - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

One of college basketball's fiercest rivalries arrives at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday when No.5 ranked UCLA takes on Arizona in a nationally televised event on ESPN.

It is the 75th meeting between the two schools with UCLA holding a 43-31 series advantage. Arizona has won 11 of the last 19 meetings in the series, but UCLA has won the last five, including the last contest, an 81-66 rout in Tucson last February.

The rivalry matches the two best Pac-10 basketball programs of the past decade, but it will be missing a familiar face along the visitor's sideline.

Prior to the season, Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson said he would be taking a leave of absence due to a personal matter, and then later in December it was announced Olson, the "Silver Fox", would not return at all this season.

Assistant coach Kevin O’Neill was given the head coaching responsibilities for the season, and O'Neill has been tabbed by the school as Olson’s successor when he decides to ultimately retire.

The Wildcats bring a four-game win streak into Saturday night's game.

Thursday night at the Galen Center, Chase Budinger had 29 points and eight rebounds to lead Arizona to an 80-69 victory over USC. He made 11 of 20 field goals, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc for the Wildcats (15-6, 5-3). Senior Jawann McClellan added 23 points.

During Arizona’s current four-game win streak the club has connected on 53.6% (104-of-194) of its field goal attempts. Individually, five Wildcats are shooting 50% or better during the same span: Jawann McClellan 58.6%, Jerryd Bayless 55.6%, Nic Wise 54.5%, Chase Budinger 52.5%, and Jordan Hill 50%.

On the season, Arizona is 7-2 when outrebounding the opposition and carries a +1.3 rebound margin. Hill leads the team in rebounding with a 8.2 average.

The Wildcats are holding opponents to 66.6 points and a 34.7% shooting average. They play both man-to-man and zone defense. Coach O'Neill said he'd like the team to play more man-to-man this season, but lack of player depth has forced him to play more zone than he'd planned.

After briefly flirting with the idea of leaving for the NBA last season, forward Chase Budinger made the right decision and returned to Tucson for his sophomore campaign. He is averaging 18.2 points a game and shooting 45.3% while hitting from three at a 40.2% clip.

Budinger (6'7, 205, So), a San Diego native, is a pure shooter from the outside and can finish at the basket, however he has a tendency to disappear on the floor when faced against a more physical opponent.

UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, one of the team's best defenders, will have the primary assignment of guarding Budinger. Mbah a Moute played only 17 minutes against Arizona State because of early foul trouble - perhaps it was too much excitement of returning to the lineup after missing two games due to a concussion.

Mbah a Moute needs to stay on the floor and avoid those silly fouls that plagued him in the last game. His length and physicality will pose a problem for Budinger. The scouting report on Budinger is not to give him room to shoot from the perimeter and instead force him to put the ball on the floor where his suspect handles can get him in trouble.

Much attention has been given to UCLA's Kevin Love as top freshman in the conference but Arizona's Jerryd Bayless is deserving of notice as well.

Bayless (6'3, 193, Fr) ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring with a 19.3 point average. He's shooting a sizzling 44% from beyond the arc. A tough player to guard off the dribble, Bayless has the ability to penetrate into the paint to create offense for himself or dish to a teammate.

One of the keys to Arizona's offense is dribble penetration and kicking to the open man. The last few seasons, Arizona has lacked a guard who could penetrate and create, but they have such a player in Bayless.

Stopping Bayless from getting into the paint off the dribble is one of the keys to the game.

Fortunately for UCLA their best perimeter defender is 6'3 guard Russell Westbrook who will take on Bayless. Westbrook locked down Arizona State's James Harden on Thursday limiting the freshman to just 9 points.

Arizona lacks big bodies in the low post but Jordan Hill's stellar play this season has helped make up the difference. Hill is averaging 13.1 points on 61.9% field goal shooting. He has really improved his low post presence on both ends of the court. Hill is averaging almost two blocks a game.

Hill (6'9, 211, So) still has a tendency to be foul prone at times and he will have a tough time handling UCLA's big man Kevin Love down low. With reserve Kirk Walter (6'11, 254, Sr) providing very little support off the bench, if Hill gets into any foul trouble the Wildcats don't have the bodies inside to keep up with the Bruins.

At another wing is senior Jawann McCllelan (6'4, 211). After battling injuries most of his collegiate career, he is averaging over 35 minutes a game this season. A powerfully built player, he is still a threat from outside if he gets it going. This will be a good match-up for UCLA's Josh Shipp.

Point-guard Nic Wise has had a solid season after a suspect freshman year. Wise (5'9, 173, So) is averaging 8.1 points and 4.1 assists. While Bayless can run the point, he is really more of a shooting guard. Although he is shooting 46% from the field and 48% on three-pointers, Wise does take ill-advised shots at times. A good ball handler with a 2.12 Assist-to turnover ratio.

Playing minutes on the wing is freshman Jamelle Horne (6'6, 204, Fr), his play has been inconsistent this season. While he has shown flashes of brilliance, his game still needs much refining.

This is not a deep Wildcats team. Three starters play over 35 minutes a game and two over 28 minutes. Reserves Daniel Dillion (6'3, 205, Sr), Bret Brielmaier (6'6, 237, Sr), and Fendi Onobum (6'6, 239, Jr) give the Wildcats some minutes off the bench - but they've sparse of late. Against the Trojans, O'Neill played his top five players over 33 minutes each.

UCLA will no doubt see a lot of zone from the Wildcats who will try to preserve their top players and to keep them in the game.

The Bruins are coming off one of their best performances of the year against Arizona State, and will need to make sure they come in with the same intensity they showed on Thursday night.

As the game wears on, the Bruin's depth and physical play should ultimately be the deciding factor in the game.

Date: Feb. 2
UCLA vs Arizona
Time: 6:00 PM PT
Place: Pauley Pavilion
Radio: AM 570

BBR Notes: Lorenzo Mata-Real's x-rays on his wrist were negative, however, the wrist is till very sore. He is listed as questionable for Saturday's game.

(photo credit: UA Athletics)


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bruins Pick Apart Sun Devils In Blow-out Victory

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Photo Gallery

In one of their finest performances of the season No.5 UCLA easily dismantled Arizona State, 84-51, before a crowd of 11,070 at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins (19-2, 7-1), who have struggled at times this season executing offensively against zones, on this night picked apart the Sun Devil's aggressive match-up 3-2 zone with unselfish and precision passing.

The Bruin guards, specifically Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook, used their quickness advantage to aggressively attack the gaps of the Arizona State zone and then either kicked out to the open man or found a teammate open underneath the basket.

Darren Collison had 9 assists while fellow starting guard Russell Westbrook had 7. Just as impressively, the two guards combined to commit just a single turnover in the game.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland decided to start Westbrook in place of forward Alfred Aboya because he wanted his best zone offense lineup on the floor to begin the game.

Josh Shipp and Kevin Love were the happy recipients of most of the assists. Shipp broke out of a mini-shooting slump scoring a game-high 21 points on 6-11 shooting including 5-8 on three pointers, and freshman Kevin Love added 20 points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes.

The Bruins shot 8-12 from beyond the arc for a sizzling 66.7%. Most of the three-point shots were wide-open looks, mainly a result of teammates making the extra pass and finding the open man.

Kevin Love's presence in the paint combined with the Bruin's hot outside shooting was tough to deal with as well. Love is such a good passer, many post-entry passes into Love were sent right back out by him to an open teammate.

The game was never close from the start.

UCLA quickly outscored Arizona State 18-4 in the opening eight minutes of the contest. The Sun Devils never got closer than ten points again in the game.

The Bruins charged into halftime with a commanding 46-24 lead and then extended it to a game-high 36 point lead halfway through the second-half.

For the game, UCLA shot 58.5% from the field while holding Arizona State to a measly 38.3% field goal shooting.

On the defensive end, UCLA shut down Arizona's State's top three scorers.

Freshman phenom James Harden was held to just 9 points on 2-6 shooting. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and primarily Russell Westbrook shut down Harden and essentially took him out of the game - making him look like a bystander on offense by denying the ball and preventing Harden from dribble-penetrating.

Mbah a Moute started the game after sitting out the last two contests due to a concussion. Although his play was limited due to early foul trouble, he brought a lot of energy onto the court and managed to finish with 6 points and 5 rebounds in seventeen minutes of action.

Sun Devils Jeff Pendergraph and Ty Abbott were also held well below their season's scoring average.

The Bruins dominated on the glass, outrebounding the undersized Sun Devils by a 36-20 margin in the game.

The only negative news from the game was that Lorenzo Mata-Real hurt his wrist in the final minutes of the game after taking a charge and falling. He will have x-rays performed on his wrist tomorrow.

UCLA will now host a hot Arizona team on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. The Wildcats beat USC Thursday night, 80-69.

(photo credit: AP)


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

UCLA vs. Arizona State - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

No. 5 ranked UCLA returns home to Pauley Pavilion to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Thursday night match-up.

The Bruins (18-2, 8-1) are coming off a successful road trip in Oregon sweeping aside the Ducks and Beavers on their home floors. Current Pac-10 Player of the Week Kevin Love compiled a massive total of 42 points and 37 rebounds over the two contests.

Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and center Lorenzo Mata-Real are expected to play on Thursday.  Both players are recovering from concussions they suffered in the USC game.  Mbah a Moute missed both games in Oregon last week.

Arizona State is 14-5 and 4-3 in the Pac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek. After breaking into the top 25 rankings with a ten game winning streak and starting 4-0 in conference play, Arizona State has lost three straight games, including disheartening losses last week at home to both Washington schools.

Washington State defeated the Sun Devils, 56-55, on Saturday. Trailing by eight with less than three minutes left, the Sun Devils scored seven straight points to cut the deficit to one. But their comeback bid fell short when freshman guard James Harden missed a runner with two seconds left and time ran out.

Arizona State’s success is predicated on its stifling defense. They play primarily an aggressive 3-2 match-up zone and will mix it up at times with a man-to-man or 1-3-1 zone.

Their defense forces teams to shoot over the zone and they also aggressively play the passing lanes. And they've had success, the Sun Devils rank 21st in the nation in scoring defense allowing a meager 59.7 points on 39.7% shooting. In addition they lead the Pac-10 in steals with 7.05 a game.

Coach Sendek utilizes a Princeton-type offense complete with motion, screens, and back-door cuts. One aspect of the offense is it creates open three-point shooting opportunities, but as a team the Sun Devils have struggled with their three-point shooting since the start of conference play - hitting less than 30% from beyond the arc.  Against the Cougars, they were just 2-14 on three-pointers.

With 6’9 center Jeff Pendergraph as the only starter taller than 6’4, Arizona has had difficulty controlling the boards.  In Pac-10 play they are being outrebounded -2.4 per game. Washington’s Jon Brockman grabbed 16 rebounds including 5 off the offensive glass against them last week.

The Sun Devils field one of the youngest lineups in the nation, starting three true freshmen, one sophomore, and one junior.

Freshman James Harden (6’4, 218), a former Artesia HS standout, leads the team with a 18.8 point scoring average while shooting 54.6% from the field and 42% on three-pointers.

The left-handed guard has become the team’s first option on offense. His outside shooting forces defenders to respect him on the perimeter and his quick first-step and veteran-like moves (he just turned 18 in August) around the basket has made him a consistent scorer inside. His caginess in the paint has allowed him to get to the free throw stripe 216 times and he’s already had ten 20-point game performances.

Harden, a McDonald All-American last year, was recently named to the Wooden Award Top 30 Midseason watchlist. In addition to his offensive prowess, he leads the conference in steals with 1.89 and pulls down 5.3 rebounds per game  (2nd on the team).

In the key match-up of the game, UCLA’s Russell Westbrook will have the primary assignment of guarding Harden. Westbrook has admittedly not been as focused on defense the past few games – allowing players to get by him too easily, but he will need to regain his early season form if he is to stop the high-scoring Harden.  He needs to prevent Harden from getting into the paint where he can break down the Bruin defense, and try to deny Harden from getting the ball or at least force him into tough shots.

In recent games the Sun Devils have got into the habit of getting the ball to Harden and then watch him try to score, something Sendek warned his team to guard against doing against UCLA.

One thing to keep an eye one, Harden has been slowed recently by a nagging groin muscle pull which bothered him in both Washington games.

Returning starting center Jeff Pendergraph (6’9, 230, Jr) is second in the conference in field goal shooting 62.2% and averages 13.4 points per game. He is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

A streaky-type player, Pendergraph has the physical ability to dominate the game on both ends of the court. He has a solid turnaround jumper and midrange game and finishes strong around the basket.

On defense, when he has it going, Pendergraph can own the paint utilizing his length and leaping ability. But there are times during the game when Pendergraph can disappear on the floor. 

He also has a tendency to be foul prone. Last season against UCLA, Pendergraph was on the bench for long stretches in games due to early foul trouble. Pendergraph will be matched up against Kevin Love.

Love seemingly has improved with each and every game. His low-post offensive moves can be troublesome for Pendergraph to defend against or to stay out of foul trouble.  Last season against UCLA, Pendergraph spent much of his time on the bench due to early foul trouble.

On Tuesday, Pendergraph said of Kevin Love, “He is not out there just setting screens like the typical UCLA big man. He is a focal point of their offense."

Freshman Ty Abbott (6’2, 200) starts at one wing. A prolific outside shooter who gives the Sun Devils a key third scoring threat, He is averaging 11.2 points a game.

Abbott’s shooting has tailed off recently and some postulate he has hit the proverbial freshman wall. Last week Abbott was just 3-15 on three-pointers, up until that game, he had been shooting over 40% from beyond the arc.

Josh Shipp will try to extend Abbott’s shooting woes but he’ll need to do a good job of closing out quickly on Abbott on the perimeter.

Josh’s little brother, Jerren (6’3, 214, So), starts at another guard spot. Jerren Shipp is averaging 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a game. He is struggling from the field this season, shooting just 38.9%. A solid player who does not make a lot of mistakes (0.8 turnover), his hustle on both ends of the court helps to make the team better.

At point guard is freshman Jamelle McMillan (6’1, 165), his improved play moved him into the starting line-up.  He splits time with last year’s starter Derek Glasser (6'1, 180, So). McMillan is averaging just 2.4 points and 2.8 assists a game while Glasser is averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 assists.

McMillan gives the Sun Devils more speed on the perimeter than Glasser, although Glasser is capable of holding his own, especially in Sendek’s style of offense.

Eric Boateng (6'10, 245, So), a transfer from Duke, gives the Sun Devils some size off the bench.  He is averaging 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds a game.  He's had problems handling the ball inside at times resulting in turnovers.

Other players off the bench are two who started for the Sun Devils last season, Christian Polk (6'3, 175, So) and Antwi Atuahene (6'3, 205, Sr).  Both players give the team solid play in reserve and can step into the lineup when needed.

The Bruins struggled scoring against the Sun Devil's aggressive match-up zone last season, averaging just 63.5 points in the two games.  UCLA has played better against zones recently but none of the zone defenses they've faced are on par with the Sun Devils.

Arizona State has the ability to put up more points than teams of recent years. Their freshmen have injected the roster with more offensive weapons and options - and James Harden is for real.

Still, Kevin Love and company may be too much of a load inside for the undersized Sun Devil team.  With players, such as Abbott and Shipp, struggling with their outside shooting, if the Bruins (Westbrook) can check Harden, UCLA, at home in Pauley Pavilion, may be just too much to overcome for such a young Arizona State squad.    

(photo credit: ASU Athletics)


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mbah a Moute Practicing Again With Team

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland announced at his weekly press conference that forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had started practicing again yesterday and should be ready to play this week against both Arizona schools.

Mbah a Moute missed both road games in Oregon as a result of suffering a concussion during the USC game over a week ago.

"Luc had a CT done yesterday for precautionary reasons, and it was negative," Howland said. "He worked out for an hour yesterday and he felt fine afterwards so hopefully he'll have another good result today."

Howland also said center Lorenzo Mata-Real, who played on Saturday against Oregon State, was fine.

The school administration and athletic department at Oregon formally apologized to UCLA for the behavior of their crowd towards Kevin Love and his family during the game on Thursday. The Duck's athletic director attempted to call Howland personally.

"It was nice of him to apologize," Howland said. "He called me yesterday but I wasn't in. Its all behind us now. They are a first class university and they handled it."

Reserve forward Nikola Dragovic has played a key role in each of the last two games for the Bruins, giving the team a much needed lift off the bench.

"He made a big shot against Oregon and played solid defensively," Howland said. "He gave us good minutes. You could tell from his practices in the last week that he was playing better. We need that from him."

Howland heaped further praise on his freshman center Kevin Love who was voted Pac-10 Player of the Week for the third time this season.

"He's the best rebounder I've ever coached," Howland said.

(photo credit: J Rosenfeld)


Monday, January 28, 2008

Bruins Regain No.5 Spot, Love Wins Pac-10 Honor

By Bruin Basketball Report

With two road victories in the state of Oregon last week, the Bruins moved back up to No.5 in both national polls this week

UCLA pulled out a tough victory against Oregon in Eugene, 80-75, then went to Corvallis to beat the Beavers 85-62. 

Kevin Love was voted Pac-10 Player of the Week for his performance in those games.  He recorded a combined 42 points 37 rebounds, his 21 caroms against Oregon State set a UCLA all-time freshman record. 

It marked the third Pac-10 Player of the Week honor for the freshman center from Lake Oswego HS.

Washington State, which lost to Arizona in Tucson, dropped to No.9 in both polls, while Stanford jumped to No.14 after beating California.  No other Pac-10 team made the top 25 - Arizona State dropped out after losing two games at home to the Washington schools.  Both Arizona and USC gained more votes this week and are creeping up in the polls.

Memphis and Kansas remained No.1 and No.2, respectively.  Duke shot up to No.3 after defeating Virginia Tech and Maryland.  The Blue Devils are followed by North Carolina at the No.4 spot.

As for RPI ranking the Bruins are No.12 and are No.32 in strength of schedule (SOS).

2007-08 UCLA Rankings Weekly Changes: LINK


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (1/28)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


After missing five games with a stress fracture in his right foot, the Mitty High senior Drew Gordon broke his left foot in two places in his first game back, a 46-45 overtime loss to Riordan. The 6-foot-9, UCLA-bound forward will have his foot in a cast for approximately six weeks. He's hoping to play again if his team can get to the Division II state title game (March 15) without him."It's a possibility, but not a big one," Gordon said of his chances of returning. "I'm trying to get it strong so it doesn't happen again." Gordon said Monday that he landed on his foot wrong at the end of the third quarter. "I knew it was broken," Gordon said. "I kept playing knowing that I was going to be out anyway. Running up and down the court, it felt like someone was stabbing my foot. I tried to get a rebound in overtime and broke it a second time." Before Gordon exited the game in overtime, overcome by the pain, he had 21 points and 11 rebounds and hit a three-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to the extra period. SF Chronicle 1/22

MODESTO CHR. 99, ESCALON 54, at Escalon -- Reeves Nelson had 36 points -- 18 in the first quarter -- as the Crusaders (13-4, 6-0 TVL) thumped the Cougars (5-14, 2-5). Modesto Bee 1/23

MODESTO CHR. 65, HUGHSON 58, at Hughson -- UCLA-commit Reeves Nelson scored 26 points, but the top-ranked small-school Crusaders (12-4, 6-0) struggled before putting away the Huskies (14-4, 5-3). Dabrail Henton scored 15 to help compensate for the absence of guard D.J. Seeley, who was out with an ankle injury. Modesto Bee 1/25

Jrue Holiday - No need to convince us that he is the best and most complete perimeter player in this class, but will he get the chance in a potentially loaded UCLA backcourt to to convince the NBA executives? Rivals 1/25

There's no secret the key to staying close to Modesto Christian is limiting the number of times Reeves Nelson touches the ball. So that's the way Ripon High began its Trans-Valley League showdown Saturday night, blanketing the talented junior with two or three players. But as soon as that method began to work, Daniel Lemburg shot a hole in the strategy....Once Lemburg began to hit from the outside, Nelson found room to roam in the paint, and he responded with an impressive triple-double performance of 38 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Modesto Bee 1/27


DaShonte Riley, a 6-foot-11 junior who has scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Georgetown, blocked six shots and grabbed nine rebounds. Riley, all arms and legs, is definitely a project. “But he’s almost 7-feet tall and he has an 89-inch wing span,” Keener said. “You can’t coach that.” Canton Rep 1/22

The #1 sophomore in the country, 6'11" Jeremy Tyler had a less than stellar performance scoring 6 points with 2 rebounds and a technical foul. By the end of the third quarter the Judges would be up by 33 points and by the end of the game, three San Diego players would have picked up three technical fouls as the team slowly self-destructed. CaliHiSports 1/22

But with standout 6-foot-10 junior Brendan Lane getting plenty of support from the likes of Zach Moss, Derek Faulkner, Chris Garrison and Jackson Cummings, the Thun-der kicked its running game into high gear and less than three minutes later held a comfortable 62-46 lead. Lane's 17 points topped Rocklin. Loomis News 1/22

At the opening tip-off, the 6-foot-10 Renardo Sidney lined up across from Siva, 6-foot-1 in high-tops. Siva didn't even attempt to leap for the tip and ran back on defense. That would be Franklin's strategy for the afternoon: make up for its lack of size with hustle. "We've got heart, and we're not afraid of anybody," Siva said. The Quakers didn't stop Sidney; the center had 24 points and 22 rebounds. But with a combination of Keiwaun McMorris and Jesse Hopson, reserve forwards who played their largest roles of the season, the Quakers tried their best to disrupt Sidney's timing and deny him the ball. Seattle Times 1/22

Mason Plumlee scored a team-high 14 points Tuesday, helping the Greenies improve to 21-2 overall and 9-0 in the Carolinas Athletic Association. The Greenies scored 22 points in the first quarter and led 37-17 at halftime. Citizen Times 1/23

Colony 81, Don Lugo 54: Tyler Lamb scored 20 points, five rebounds and five assists and Miles Holland added 15 as the Titans (14-7, 6-0) took a 44-25 halftime lead en route to the victory. Don Lugo (8-11, 2-3) was led by Eric Sanabria, who scored 18 points. SB Sun 1/26

Junior forward Jordan Hamilton had 38 points and 13 rebounds and Myron Green scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half as Dominguez defeated the host Gladiators, 94-80....Gahr cut the lead to 65-58 to start the fourth quarter but Hamilton caught fire in the final eight minutes, scoring 16 points as the Dons went on a 20-7 run to stretch their advantage. Press Telegram 1/26

(photo credit: Modesto Bee)


Kevin Love Added To Wooden All-American Midseason Watch-List

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA freshman center Kevin Love was named a John R. Wooden Award 2007-08 Midseason Top 30 Candidate.

Love is averaging 17.3 points on 59.0% field goal shooting and 11.3 rebounds. The former Lake Oswego HS star has helped key the Bruins to a 18-2, 6-1 record and first place in the Pac-10 conference.

Eleven players selected to the midseason Top 30 were not on the preseason list. This group includes returning players enjoying breakout seasons (Brian Roberts of Dayton, Raymar Morgan of Michigan State, Wayne Ellington of North Carolina, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and Sam Young of Pittsburgh), and freshmen James Harden of Arizona State, Eric Gordon of Indiana, Michael Beasley of Kansas State, Derrick Rose of Memphis, O.J. Mayo of USC, and Love of UCLA.

“This was another year where a lot of players have been surprises,” said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. “Players across the nation stepped up and made a case for themselves, whether they were veteran players or freshmen. We look forward to continuing to follow these talented players as we determine the 10 candidates for the Wooden Award All-American Team.”

Players who do not make the Midseason list are still eligible for the national ballot, which will be selected in March and will consist of approximately 20 players, chosen by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board Committee, who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA

The Pac-10 (7 players) has the most players chosen to the Wooden Midseason Top 30, followed by the ACC with 5, Big 12 with four, the SEC Big East, and Big 10 with three each, Conference USA with two, and the Atlantic 10, Southern and Metro Atlantic Athletic each with one.

The 2008 Award ceremony will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-12.

Both UCLA 's Darren Collison and Josh Shipp had been named as top 50 preseason candidates but were not named on the midseason watchlist.

Complete top 30 candidates list

D.J. Augustin, So, Texas
Michael Beasley, Fr, Kansas State
Jon Brockman, Jr, Washington
Chase Budinger So, Arizona
Mario Chalmers, Jr, Kansas
Stephen Curry, So, Davidson
Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jr, Memphis
Wayne Ellington, So, North Carolina
Shan Foster, Sr, Vanderbilt
Eric Gordon, Fr, Indiana
Jamont Gordon, Jr, Mississippi State
Malik Hairston, Sr, Oregon
Tyler Hansbrough, Jr, North Carolina
Luke Harangody, So, Notre Dame
James Harden, Fr, Arizona State
Roy Hibbert, Sr, Georgetown
Chris Lofton, Sr, Tennessee
Kevin Love, Fr, UCLA
Derrick Low, Sr, Washington State
O.J. Mayo, Fr, USC
Raymar Morgan, So, Michigan State
Demarcus Nelson, Sr, Duke
Tyrese Rice, Jr, Boston College
Brian Roberts, Sr, Dayton
Derrick Rose, Fr, Memphis
Brandon Rush, Jr, Kansas
Sean Singletary, Sr, Virginia
Jason Thompson, Sr, Rider
D.J. White, Sr, Indiana
Sam Young, Jr, Pittsburgh