Saturday, November 29, 2008

FIU Forgets To Show Up, UCLA Rolls

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

The Florida International University Golden Panthers forgot to show up for their game at Pauley Pavilion against the UCLA Bruins, or at least it seemed so to many of the 8,940 in attendance on Saturday night.

UCLA freshman Jrue Holiday scored 20 points, making all eight of his field goal attempts, to lead the Bruins to a 89-54 thumping of the Panthers.

Holiday did all his damage in just 19 minutes of action.

The game was over before it started.

The Bruins raced out to a 26-5 lead halfway through the first half before going into halftime with a commanding 46-13 lead.

The Golden Panthers (3-4) were too slow and simply not talented enough to keep up with the Bruins. The disparity in talent level was exacerbated by seemingly poor FIU execution and coaching on both ends of the court.

To put it bluntly, FIU is a very bad team.

In the first half FIU shot just 3 of 19 for 15.8%. They scored more from their free throws - seven - than they did shooting from the field. Its best shooter Michael Dominguez was just 2 of 7 for 7 points as he was dominated all night by quicker and bigger defenders.

Panther forward Nikola Gacesa did score 21 points but most of it was during garbage time - which was basically the entire second half of play.

No UCLA player played more than 20 minutes and eleven Bruins played at least 10 minutes.

Darren Collison chipped in 11 points by hitting 4 of 5 from the field while Michael Roll was sharp from the field making all three of his three-point shots. Roll also had a number of nifty passes to teammates as he continues to show improvements in his game from last season.

All the Bruin freshmen got to play. Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, and J'mison Morgan each scored 8 points while forward Drew Gordon finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds. But it was Holiday who was dominant as he scored most of his points on broken plays or loose balls, over-powering the Panther defenders.

UCLA shot a stunning 72% in the first half before settling down to a near-mortal 59.3% shooting in the second half. Many of the easy shots came off steals as the team finished with 11 steals in the game en-route to forcing 17 turnovers.

The Bruins were a bit sloppy in the open court themselves committing 16 turnovers.

Ultimately, this contest was perhaps nothing more than a confidence builder for the young Bruins who were returning from a disappointing 1-1 trip in New York. On the other hand, this game didn't do much in the way of preparing the Bruins for a tough upcoming game on Thursday against Texas in Austin.

The Longhorns beat the Bruins last year at Pauley Pavilion and although they lost D.J Augustin to the NBA they return their remaining starters this year.

(photo credit: AP)

Friday, November 28, 2008

UCLA vs. Florida International - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA returns to action at home when it faces Florida International University (FIU) Golden Panthers on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins (3-1) finished third in the 2K Sports Classic last week after beating Southern Illinois, 77-60, in the consolation game at Madison Square Garden in New York. Earlier in the week the team fall to Michigan, 55-52.

UCLA fall to No.11 in the recent ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No.13 in the Associated Press Poll.

Head Coach Ben Howland stated at his weekly press conference that he wanted senior guard Darren Collison to take more shots since he was the team's "best shooter". Collison is shooting 66.7% on three-pointers after making 52.5% last year.

The fact Collison controls the rock for most of the time on offense, it shouldn't be a problem, although the Bruins could certainly do a better job than they have been in rotating the ball back to the weak side where Collison usually resides wide open after giving up the ball.

In addition, the team has been working on a motion offense at practices. A motion offense is characterized by passes and cuts to the basket and screens off the ball. The team has utilized it at times in the past but never consistently. The move to incorporate a motion offense may decrease the excessive amount of dribbling done on the perimeter by the team.

Ultimately, Howland will still call the primary play but if the offensive options are not available then look for the Bruins to go right into a motion offense.

Freshman guard Malcolm Lee has a sprained right ankle (grade one) while junior forward Nikola Dragovic has a left knee contusion. Senior center Alfred Aboya sprained his left wrist in New York but the MRIs have all been negative. All three returned to practice this week and should be available when the Bruins host FIU.

The Golden Panthers are 3-3 in games this season which included a 74-51 loss to the Washington Huskies, 74-51, in Seattle.

FIU is averaging 58.3 points on just 39.7% field goal shooting and hitting on just 31.3% from beyond the arc.

The Panthers only have two players averaging in double figures. Forward Nikola Gacesa (6'9, 238, Jr) is averaging 10.8 points and guard Michael Dominquez (6'3, 185. Jr) the team's only three-point threat, is averaging 10.5 points.

The team does have some good size along the front line, in addition to Gacesa, the Panthers start seven-footer Russell Hicks (7'0, 260, Sr) and have Freddy Asprilla (6'10, 280, Fr) coming off the bench. Hicks is averaging 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks a game while Asprilla leads the team in rebounding with 6.3 per game.

Despite the Panthers' size they will not be able to handle the Bruins' advantage of athleticism and skill at every position on the floor. The game will give UCLA yet another opportunity with its preseason schedule to work and improve its game prior to the Pac-10 season.

This is the second meeting between UCLA and FIU. The only other meeting was during UCLA's 1995 national championship run when the No. 1 ranked Bruins defeated FIU 92-56 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (West region) in Boise, Idaho on March 17, 1995. The Bruins were led by freshman J.R. Henderson's 16 points, followed by Charles O'Bannon, who chipped in 14 points.

Game Information
Date: November 29, 2008
Time: 4:35 PM
TV: FSN Prime Ticket
Radio: AM 570

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bruins In The NBA

By Bruin Basketball Report

"The Frosh Prince" is writing the latest in a long line of Milwaukee Bucks second-round draft pick success stories. The pride of Cameroon introduced himself to United States basketball fans by making three consecutive Final Four appearances with UCLA. Selected by Milwaukee with the 37th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, he has demonstrated amazing poise for a rookie. Several Bucks veterans already consider him the team's best one-on-one defender, and he has made an impact as a scorer and rebounder as well, averaging 10.5 points (eighth among rookies) and 7.2 rebounds (first among rookies) through his first 13 NBA games. He had a 19-point, 17-rebound performance in a Nov. 14 win at Memphis. He has given some of the NBA's premier forwards all they can handle with his defense. And remember this: he has only been playing organized basketball for seven years

Bruins Player Injury Update

By Bruin Basketball Report

Senior center Alfred Aboya's MRI on his left wrist was negative and he is probable for the Bruins' next game on Saturday against Florida International.

Aboya completed 100 percent of today's team practice with full contact.

While practicing today freshman Malcolm Lee suffered a sprained right ankle (grade one) and junior forward Nikola Dragovic suffered a left knee contusion

Both players are listed as day-to-day and should return to practice in a day or two and be available for Saturday's game.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (11/24)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Mike Moser from Grant HS in Portland, Oregon, has committed to play at UCLA in 2009. He is ranked in the top 20 among all small forwards and top 100 overall in his recruiting class. The high school senior had committed to Arizona, but decided to re-open his recruitment following head coach Lute Olson's retirement. Moser had also considered USC, Oregon State, Oregon and the Wildcats. Bruin Basketball Report 11/20

Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) is the preseason No. 1 team in the nation according to USA Today's Super 25 high school basketball rankings. The Monarchs return four starters from a 35-1 team that won the CIF Division II state title last season. Led by twins David Wear and Travis Wear, both of which committed to North Carolina, the Monarchs will fill their starting lineup with junior transfer Tyler Lamb, who has committed to UCLA. Transworld News 11/21


Fairfax senior Renardo Sidney and his family made an unofficial visit to Virginia this past weekend and left impressed by the school's "great campus and academics," the player's father, Renardo Sidney Sr. said in a text message to The Times....Sidney Sr. stopped short of identifying Virginia as the leading candidate to land his son, but did praise how university staff treated the 6-feet-10 standout. "They understand the difference between a Big Mac and a Whopper with cheese," he said in a text message. "Big Macs are good for resumes, Whoppers with cheese bring home gold balls." LA Times 11/18

Xavier Henry, an Oklahoma City shooting guard and ESPN’s No. 1 player in the nation, announced his intentions to attend Memphis next year this morning on ESPN. Henry had narrowed his college choices down to Kansas or Memphis. He said on ESPN he chose Memphis because the chance it provided him to play with his brother, C.J. Henry. Daily Kansan 11/18

Durand Scott, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Rice High in New York, will attend Miami. Scott, at the top of UConn's recruiting wish list for the Class of 2009, had narrowed his choices to Miami, UConn and Pittsburgh. People close to Scott said last week he had ruled out Pitt and was torn between UConn and Miami. Scott apparently expressed a desire to go to school far from home. Hartford Courant 11/20

Renardo Sidney: He took a surprise visit to Virginia, but in a similar vein as Stephenson, the odds are on either Europe or USC if he goes to college. Rivals 11/21

ESPNU's No. 3 center Keith "Tiny" Gallon ended his recruitment on Wednesday when the big man signed a letter of intent with Oklahoma. The 6-foot-9, 300 pounder chose the Sooners over California and Mississippi State. Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith called this morning to confirm that Gallon and his mom had both signed the National Letter of Intent with Oklahoma, and that the papers had been sent to the Sooners basketball office. ESPN 11/23

Dashonte Riley of Country Day (Detroit, Mich.), rated No. 5 among centers and No. 32 overall in Class 2009, has decided to decommit from Georgetown and will re-open his recruitment. The 6-foot-10 prospect was expected to sign with the Hoyas during the early period. He had many offers before chosing Georgetown, including Ohio State, Xavier, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Minnesota, UCLA and Southern California. "[Riley] just said after he returned from his official visit that he didn't feel like it was the right fit for him," his coach, Kurt Keener, told the Washington Times. "I know his mother felt that he had committed a little too early in the process. They discussed the situation after he returned from his official visit, and he called the staff at Georgetown recently and informed them he would be reopening his recruitment."My feeling is that it is now doubtful that he will end up at Georgetown." ESPN 11/23

(photo credit: LA Times)


[Video] Alfred Aboya highlights vs. SIU

Courtesy of Erkki Corpuz