Bruins Pull Away From Cougars For Second Straight
By Bruin Basketball Report
Nikola Dragovic scored 18 points and freshman Reeves Nelson added 19 points and 7 rebounds off the bench to spark UCLA to its second straight victory with a 74-62 decision over Washington State (14-6, 4-4) at Pauley Pavilion.
Dragovic came alive in the second half scoring 8 points during a 16-5 run to help the Bruins pull away. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the deciding half.
UCLA Coach Ben Howland once again deployed a 2-3 zone and today the Bruins seemed more comfortable as well as aggressive in the defensive alignment which may signal UCLA's final transition from a strict man-to-man to zone defense team.
You have to hand it to Coach Howland who finally began to recognize his team's athletic and quickness deficiencies and lack of dominating size inside and decided to adapt his style to the team's talent.
On the other hand, one weakness of a zone defense is an increased difficulty in blocking opponents out for rebounds and in this game the Bruins were outrebounded 34-32 by the Cougars.
Freshman Tyler Honeycutt continued to display his all-around talents by recording a box score resembling a bingo card. Honeycutt had 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and on the defensive end - 2 steals and 2 blocks. With more experience and added weight and strength, the sky is the limit for this special player.
Last game's hero, red-shirt junior Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, continued to contribute in place of injured guard Jerime Anderson. Abdul-Hamid had 9 points on 3 of 5 shooting and just one turnover in a productive 18 minutes of play.
With the win the Bruins (9-10, 4-3) moved into a five way second place tie in a very competitive Pac-10 race.
UCLA travels to Eugene next week to take on an improved Oregon Ducks team on Thursday evening at McArthur Court.