Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bruins Pull Away From Cougars For Second Straight

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abdul-Hamid's Buzzer Beater Lifts Bruins to Victory

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

He's been working his tail off at practice ever since he decided to walk-on at UCLA over three years ago, and today it all paid off.

With 3.2 seconds left and UCLA down by one point, Mustafa Abdul-Hamid took a long pass dribbled to the top of the circle, pump faked his defender in the air, before calmly sinking a 20 foot jump shot at the buzzer to win the game, 62-61.

Ironically Abdul-Hamid was only on the floor because sophomore Jerime Anderson suffered a hip flexor injury and did not suit up for the game.

UCLA started the game at Pauley Pavilion determined to play a 2-3 zone defense all night against Washington.  A solid strategy considering the Huskies were ranked last in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting at 28.9%, and the Bruin defenders have had problems staying in from of offensive players.

But the Huskies (12-6, 3-4) started off hot from the perimeter, hitting their shots. and went into halftime with a 41-37 lead.  Forward Quincy Pondexter was 4 of 4 on his three-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points.

In the second-half the Bruin zone tightened and did a better job closing out on Husky shooters while holding Washington to just 20 points in the half.

On the offensive end, the UCLA freshmen helped spark the team.  

Reeves Nelson finished with 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting while Tyler Honeycutt continued to show off his all-around game.  

Honeycutt finished with 10 points and hit all 4 of his shots and finished with a game-high 9 rebounds.  The young freshman also chipped in 6 assists.

But this game belonged to the former walk-on player, Abdul-Hamid, who has since earned a well deserved basketball scholarship at UCLA.

With the poise he displayed in the game tonight it wouldn't be a surprise if Abdul-Hamid saw a little more action on the floor in upcoming games.

The Bruins (8-10, 3-3) will face the Cougars of Washington State at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (1/18)

By Bruin Basketball Report 

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday. 


Joshua Smith, Kentwood's UCLA-bound center, scored 10 points in the Conquerors' 61-37 boys basketball victory over Tahoma Tuesday night — his first game since being injured last month. Smith, a 6-foot-10 senior ranked No. 1 in the nation at his position by some recruiting services coming into the season, played for the first time since Dec. 8. Smith sufferred a partially torn patellar tendon in the Conquerors' second game of the season, a loss to top-ranked Federal Way. Seattle Times 1/12

John A. Logan handed the Olney Central College Blue Knights a 68-57 loss Wednesday night in Carterville.  UCLA-bound point guard Lazeric Jones scored 14 points for the Volunteers, who improved to 12-4 overall and 3-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. Olney Daily Mail 1/14

Josh Smith will not be in the lineup tomorrow when Kentwood plays Kinston High School (N.C.) in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. Smith, a 6-foot-10 senior who has signed with UCLA, returned to action last Tuesday after suffering a partially torn patellar tendon earlier in the season. He scored 10 points in limited action as the Conquerors beat Tahoma. According to Jo Anne Daughtry, Kentwood athletic director, Smith collided with a Tahoma player during Tuesday's game and was held out of last night's game against Kent-Meridian for precautionary purposes. She said it was the family's decision for him not to play tomorrow, not wanting to risk further injury in a non-conference contest. Seattle Times 1/15

After Friday night's 84-47 Trinity League victory at JSerra, McKnight tied former St. Joseph of Alameda and Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland coach Mike Phelps for the state record with 843 career victories....Mater Dei's Tyler Lamb, who finished with six points, seven rebounds and 11 assists, helped change the tempo early in the run by throwing down a lob pass from Tommy Stangl. OC Varsity 1/15


Sac High guard Josiah Turner scored 34 points, but Oakland wing Jabari Brown had 33 as the Wildcats won 88-81. Sac Bee 1/11

First, high-profile recruit Terrence Jones had hoped to finish dancing with prospective colleges before the season and sign a letter of intent in November. Then once the season started, the Democrats were intent on making a run at becoming one of the country's best teams.  Neither came together as planned.  The 6-foot-8 Jones remains as hot as ever, No. 15 in the ESPNU 100 rankings for the class of 2010. But Jones opted not to sign early, instead putting his recruiting on pause to concentrate on the season.  Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said Jones' list of prospective colleges hasn't changed. It's down to five: Kentucky, Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon and UCLA. Jones has visited all but Oregon, where he has taken an unofficial visit. Strickland said when he and Jones talk these days, it's all about Democrats basketball, not what he's thinking about college.  Oregon Live 1/13

In what has been an area rivalry for a long time now, the host Oilers disposed of upset-minded Alma Tuesday night despite a slow start as it rolled the rest of the way for a 69-40 victory....Trey Zeigler led a balanced Mt. Pleasant attack with 15 points to go along with six rebounds, while Josh Rathje and James Arnold scored 10 points apiece. Morning Sun 1/13

Milton: Defeated Chaminade (St. Louis), 78-57: Julian Royal, 6-8 junior center. Royal, who is ranked No. 30 in the Class of 2011, scored 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting last night. He also grabbed three rebounds and blocked two shots. News Ledger 1/15

Milton: Defeated Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 66-53: Julian Royal, 6-foot-8 junior forward. Royal, who is ranked by as the No. 30 player in the Class of 2011, scored 21 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots last night. News Ledger 1/16

The Irish led 46-42 at the moment of Thomas' timeout. Notre Dame's half-court offense was fundamental and frustrating to Times No. 6 Wallace. And the Hornets had no answer for 6-foot-8 junior Max Bielfeldt. Thomas pulled Wallace junior Branden Dawson to his side and said: "This is our show. Let's go." After the timeout, Dawson responded by nailing a 3-pointer from the corner. And in the next 44 seconds the 6-6 Dawson had two thunderous slam dunks. Wallace prevailed 82-70 over the Irish (11-6). NWI Times 1/17