Saturday, December 12, 2009

UCLA Struggles From Outside, Lose Fifth Straight

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

UCLA (2-6) combined porous defense with poor shooting as it was embarrassed at the John R. Wooden Classic, 72-54, by Mississippi State

The Bruins shot just 4 of 20 on three-pointers for a measly 20%.  What compounded this obtuse statistic is that it accounted for almost a third of their shot attempts.

Whoever is telling these young Bruins they are an outside shooting juggernaut is doing them a great injustice

Senior Nikola Dragovic continued his struggles with 0-9 shooting including zero for five from beyond the arc.  For the season he is now shooting under 20%.

Michael Roll was the only bright spot on offense finishing with a team-high 17 points including 3 of 6 on three-pointers, however, he had a tough day with the ball getting picked twice off the dribble by the defense.  

Roll a career role player has been thrust into the role as leader of the team but he has not been getting much help from anyone else.

Freshman Tyler Honeycutt continues to show promise on the floor while he dusts off the rust from his early season injuries.  With Honeycutt on the floor the offense flows better but not even this young freshman may be enough to help the Bruins salvage this season.

On defense UCLA gave up 53% shooting in the first half as Mississippi State ran out to a 21 points lead, 40-19.  Ravern Johnson scored a career-high 29 points for the team.

The Bruins were painfully slow on their defensive rotations getting constantly burned by Johnson from the outside and Jarvis Varnado who slipped to the basket for easy shots as Bruin big men lagged helplessly behind him.  Varnado also intimidated UCLA on the inside with 7 blocks.


At Dec 13, 2009, 3:25:00 AM, Anonymous Blueblood said...

Not only is UCLA really disapppointing this year. The Pac 10 is really struggling. This might feel like 1986 all over again. When the Pac 10 received only 2 bids.
Arizona and Washington. Although, even though Washington is ranked this year. I am not impressed by them at all. I can't tell which team is really going to be the top Pac 10 team.
That makes it really important for the Bruins to play hard and believe. Despite the 2-6. Because, the Pac 10 is not very strong. There is not even 1 "invincible-like" Pac 10 team this year.

At Dec 13, 2009, 3:04:00 PM, Anonymous BillyD said...

Dragovic needs to sit. UCLA played much better when he was suspended. Keefe gives them more hustle around the boards. But losing Gordon was the kiss of death. He was going to be a really good player for UCLA.

At Dec 13, 2009, 7:14:00 PM, Anonymous UCLASteve said...

We have not won a single game that Dragovic has played in this year. Yes, we have not won many games overall - but we clearly flow better without him in the line-up. Not sure why Howland seems to love this guy so much. He plain STINKS. Not just this year, but also in the years past. I laughed when I recently read an article in which Drago talked about "playing at the next level"... uh, yeah, right, maybe back in Serbia. He couldn't even be a waterboy in the NBA. Heck, I doubt they would even let him enter the building to watch a game - heaven forbid he might start another fight. This guy is a loser. Time to cut him loose and have him sit - indefinitely! Talk about a wasted scholarship.

At Dec 13, 2009, 11:49:00 PM, Anonymous Biglar said...

It's time for Coach Howland to simplify the game plan, clarify the substitution rotations, and open up the playing time battles to the underclassmen. This will allow the underclassmen the opportunity to develop and perhaps find a winning rotation. The seniors (Roll excepted) and guards are not getting the job done. My take:
Point: This should be a rotation between Lee and Anderson, which has the benefit of keeping the two of them from being on the court at the same time, which has been a terrible combination this year.
Shooting guard: Roll deserves to start and play the majority of minutes. He has been the only decent player for UCLA in most of their games this year. It would be nice to see Moser get about 15 minutes a game in this spot in relief to develop.
Small forward: Honeycutt is the future at this position, and the future is now. Dragovich can back him up, and if his game comes around later, he can fight Tyler for playing time here.
Power forward: Nelson should continue in his starting role, and be backed up for 15 minutes a game or so by Lane. It may not always be pretty here, but we need these guys to develop.
Center: Morgan may not always be pretty at center, but he makes plays (good and bad), and given our situation, deserves the chance to show what he can do here. I'm always intrigued by his court presence, and if he ever figures it out, could be the defensive stopper we haven't had since, uh, Stuart Gray? Keefe can back him up, and like Drago, if his game comes around,compete to get his spot back.
This also sets up nicely for next year, as Lamb slides into the rotation with Moser, and Smith and Stover slide into the center rotation, which could lessen the sting if Morgan decides to transfer (which may be less likely if he is playing this year). I think it also gives us the best opportunity to win this year, which will not happen without a lot of development by the freshmen.

At Dec 14, 2009, 12:33:00 AM, Anonymous Swami Mikey said...

I like Biglar's take, although I am not sure Lane is ready for 15 minutes per game. What is very clear is the "drag" in Dragovic. It would be one thing if he was a stellar defensive player, but he gets burned way too much. He has to sit. I would play him only if he starts producing.

At Dec 14, 2009, 1:24:00 AM, Anonymous Jammer said...

You are bang on. This year should be viewed as a rebuilding year and the only goals should be to establish a core rotation of 9 deep and allow the underclassmen to fight for minutes.
Out here in Michigan, we dont get to see the Bruins, so I have not seen Honeycutt or Moser. I have seen Drags and he simply is killing us on both ends of the court.
Roll is obviously their MVP this year. He didnt come to the program as the go to guy and he leads the team in scoring. He deserves to be the shooting guard ... because he is the only shooter they have.
All good teams have a good point guard. We don't have one. That should be Howland's top priority. He doesnt need to go after any more bigs as he can make something of Morgan if the kid wants to learn.
Nelson will be a beast. He needs to be in there just so he can take somebody's head off when they waltz through the lane.
This year ... lets try for 10 wins and work the players we have.
He needs to have a banner recruiting year; but recruits will come if the team is a winner, and the Bruins are simply not going to have a resume to attract the 3 star, let alone the Blue Chippers.
Howland needs to give the young guns a chance. With the exception of Roll; no one deserves to have a starting job penciled in

At Dec 14, 2009, 2:49:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Hey Biglar, I think everyone has your back on your analogy! Good take on things! The one thing I would like to add is Coach H needs to do "whatever it takes" (short of underhanded tactics like USC employs) to land Ray McCallum from Detroit. I have seen highlights and he is EVERYTHING that Jerime Anderson is not.
As much anti-Drago as I am seeing on here (justified) it should be noted that Anderson's lack of court leadership and "stupid" and "under confident" plays has really cost us any continuity! Even Lee struggles at the point position.
It is really killing me that SC may finish better than we this year...Ughhhhhhhhhh

At Dec 14, 2009, 3:49:00 AM, Anonymous Blueblood said...

Brew! Your last thought; don't think like that out loud! No matter what! You mustn't ever think like that!
I know this year has been very painful for us fans. But, somehow you have to still try and believe. Hopefully, our Bruins will surprise all of us.

At Dec 14, 2009, 3:49:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin4Life said...

Seriously, who would have thought that USC would be better than UCLA this year. I don't want a repeat of what happened in the Pac-10 tourney last year.
Also, why does Howland keep playing Dragovic? Is it to demonstrate that he supports/is loyal to his players? All I could think of when I was watching the Miss. State game was "What must Coach Wooden think of Dragovic?"
At least Tyler Tripani hit the rim when he shot a three

At Dec 14, 2009, 4:20:00 AM, Anonymous Pierre Gaston said...

Point guard is so freakin' critical...we need a point guard!!! I guarantee you Dragovic would be a different player with a decent PG.

At Dec 15, 2009, 3:00:00 AM, Anonymous bigbyrd said...

Howland needs to adapt to the kids that he has recruited. These kids save for Nelson can't bang. UCLA needs a point guard for sure! Can Lee play it? maybe. Aside for Roll, if I was an opposing school, I wouldn't bother guarding anyone past 15 feet! Putting them on the line is also a wise choice! But the biggest problem is that can't play defense-- they all lack quickness and strength. Where have you gone Aboya? Miss. St. killed us with 3 guards one who wouldn't drive if he was the only one on the court. But here is the bigger question--would you come to play point-guard at UCLA knowing the system???

At Dec 15, 2009, 6:55:00 AM, Anonymous ReactionOC said...

Has there been a Stover sighting at all? Please advise!

At Dec 15, 2009, 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Matt Maplewyrup said...

At UCLA, good basketball is a right! Howland must win the rest of the games this year or his ass is fired. He's not the only coach out there.

At Dec 16, 2009, 2:38:00 PM, Anonymous Bj Bartlett said...

The best thing about this Bruin team is coach Howland. Spoiled common-tater newbees. Do what you do, coach; we're with you. Show these kids the legacy Hall of Fame that is UCLA basketball. Yea, there are many NBA stars that should be here now; we go with what we have now. All these Bruins belong here. Go Bruin's!

At Dec 18, 2009, 5:07:00 AM, Anonymous Jammer said...

Howland has been simply outcoached this year by every team that has posted a victory on the Bruins. He needs to play zone, he needs to attack zones, he needs to speed up the transition game and make defensive stops. He needs to understand the strengths of this team ... few as they are and build a system aroun the players, rather than players around a system.
Sad that we now label success by being better than USC.
Howland is not going anywhere and to fire him now would be a recruiting disaster.
Kiss off the season and hope for better days.


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