Saturday, February 20, 2010

Washington Easily Handles UCLA in Seattle

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

With the ESPN cameras rolling to a national audience and the Bank of America Arena rocking due to Senior's night, the Bruins were easily overcome by a charged-up Washington Huskies team, 97-68.

It was a combination of hot-shooting and pressure defense by Washington that subdued the Bruins who seemingly rolled over and simply gave up even before the first half ended.

The Huskies went into halftime with a commanding 49-26 lead on a sizzling 68% field goal shooting.  They finished 59.3% for the game and 52% from three-point territory hitting 11 of 21.

Washington could had eclipsed the century mark against UCLA except for Huskies Coach Lorenzo Romar's classy-move to hold the ball on the final possession.  Despite the move, it was still the Huskies' largest margin of victory over the Bruins in history.

The Bruins had trouble handling the Huskies defensive pressure.  

Guard Malcolm Lee had difficulty fending off Washington's Venoy Overton's on-ball pressure.  It affected Lee's overall game as he finished just 1 of 9 shooting and never was able to get his team in any offensive rhythm.

UCLA's 2-3 defensive zone, which was effective against Washington State two nights earlier, was listless and slow reacting in this game.  The Bruin rotations were slow and the players caught out of position way too many times especially considering how much time this team has spent practicing the defense this year.

Forward Nikola Dragovic, in particular, did not react effectively to the opponent's ball movement and the Huskies capitalized on his defensive side of the court numerous times.

Huskies' senior Quincy Pondexter turned his final home game at Washington into a personal highlight show, scoring 10 points in the first 5 minutes, finishing with 20 for the game.

For UCLA, freshman Reeves Nelson gutted out the team's best performance and considering he had 15 stitches over his swollen right eye.  Nelson battled for 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting.

Another bright note, in an overall dismal night for Bruin faithful, was freshman Brendan Lane who played perhaps his best game of the season with 5 of 6 shooting for 11 points.

UCLA (7-7, 12-14) heads home for their final two games at Pauley Pavilion this season when they face Oregon and Oregon State next week.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nelson Cleared To Play, Bobo To See More Minutes

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Coach Ben Howland announced during his press conference today that freshman Reeves Nelson will play in tomorrow's game against Washington.

Nelson's eye is still swollen but he has been medically cleared to play.  Howland expects Nelson to play his regular 20-25 minutes against the Huskies tomorrow.

"He looks like Rocky Balboa," Howland said, "but he should be fine."

Nelson is averaging 10.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 23 minutes of effective action per game.

Howland also indicated today he plans to play sophomore J'mison Morgan increased minutes for the remainder of the season.

With James Keefe's season ending due to shoulder surgery,  Morgan will be the first center off the bench backing up Nelson at the five spot. 

While freshman Brendan Lane will primarily back-up Nikola Dragovic at the power forward position.

Tip-off for tomorrow contest in Seattle against Washington is at 6:00 PM PT.  

It will be a nationally televised game on ESPN.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bruins Swamp Cougars in Pullman

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

UCLA got back on the winning track in Pullman with a 71-51 thrashing of Washington State.

After suffering two consecutive losses at home, the Bruins came out much more active on the defensive end and never let the Cougars into the game.  

The Bruins did an exceptional defensive job against the Cougars high scorer Klay Thompson, who was frustrated into just 2 of 9 from the field for 8 points, as the UCLA 2-3 zone shaded towards him all game long and kept a lid on him.

For the contest the Cougars (15-11, 5-9) shot just 36% from the field.

UCLA senior Michael Roll finished with a game-high 15 points on a sharpshooting 6 of 7 from the field including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.  He also added 4 assists.

Tyler Honeycutt and Nikola Dragovic contributed 14 points apiece for the Bruins.  Honeycutt once again played a solid all around game.  His savvy court sense and physical abilities make him an exciting player to watch.

After numerous subpar performances sophomore Jerime Anderson played a solid game finishing with 10 points, 4 assists, and more importantly just 1 turnover in 24 minutes of action.  While Anderson is still far from the level of point guard UCLA needs, he did play with more confidence, and hopefully, its a starting point for future improvement in his game.

Freshman Reeves Nelson suffered a nasty gash over his left eye in the first half after he came down hard on a dunk shot and hit his head on the court.  He left the floor with a pool of blood under the basket.  

Nelson later returned to the bench in the second half with 15 stitches above his eye, fortunately he reportedly did not suffer a concussion.  No doubt this latest episode will only add further to the hard-nosed legend of the wildly popular freshman post player. 

J'mison Morgan played significant minutes in place of Nelson and played one of his better games of the season.  On defense his big 6'10 frame clogged up the middle of the zone.  Morgan had 3 blocked shots and added 3 reboudns in 21 minutes of play.  

UCLA (12-13, 7-6 Pac-10) shot 65% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc on 6 of 12 shooting. 

The Bruins now travel westward to Seattle to face the Washington Huskies on Saturday.  The Huskies were losers on Thursday night to USC, 67-64. 

James Keefe To Have Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

By Bruin Basketball Report

From the UCLA Athletic department: UCLA senior forward James Keefe will have season-ending surgery on his left shoulder next week. 

It is the same shoulder that Keefe had surgery on in August of 2007 to repair a torn labrum that caused him to miss the first 12 games of the 2007-08 season. 

"I'm very disappointed to be ending my senior year early," Keefe said. "I would have liked to have been able to come back and finish my final season, but as of now, I'm unable to play and my shoulder hasn't improved." 

This culminates a series of setbacks that Keefe has had this year. He first injured the shoulder again on Oct. 19, 2009 during the first week of practice. Then after returning to play the first nine games of the season, he suffered a dislocated left shoulder midway through the first half of the Bruins' 100-68 home win over New Mexico State on Dec. 15, 2009. He missed the next three games, but returned in time for UCLA's Pac-10-opening victory over Arizona State on Dec. 31, 2009. Then last week, he reinjured his shoulder in practice on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010. 

"I am very disappointed and sad that James Keefe has had to go through all of these issues with his shoulder this year," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "He has handled it very well and I know he is disappointed that he won't be able to finish his senior year." 

Keefe had made 13 starts in the 20 games he played this season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest. He was third on the team with 12 blocked shots this year. 

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and have had a lot of great memories with this basketball program," Keefe added. "It has been a great ride and I look forward to graduating from UCLA this spring." 

He will best be remembered for his 18-point, 12-rebound and four-block effort in the Bruins' NCAA Regional Semifinal victory over Western Kentucky during his sophomore year on March 27, 2008. The Bruins led by 21 points at halftime (41-20), but saw their lead shrink to just four points (61-57) with 6:57 left in the game. Keefe scored 11 of his career-high 18 points in the second half, including two huge free throws that put an end to WKU's 8-0 run that saw the Hilltoppers get as close as four points. Those free throws were the start of a 7-0 run by UCLA and WKU never got closer than six points the rest of the way. 

"I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication he has given to this program over the last four years," Howland added. "He is on track to graduate and has a bright future ahead of him. We are all so proud of him." 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (2/15)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.  


Josh Smith of Kentwood High School joined the ranks of basketball's elite today with his selection to the prestigious 2010 McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Boys Team. Smith’s participation in the Games will help raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, which supports local children and families in need. Smith was named to the West squad, and will play with the 23 other top male high school basketball players in the country. He averages 13.4 points-per-game, 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Seattle Times 2/11

After trailing most of the way, the John A. Logan Volunteers took control late as they knocked off the Blue Knights 81-78 at the Dungeon....UCLA-bound floor general Lazeric Jones tacked on 13 points in the win. “Jones is one of the best point guards in the nation,” Burris said. “He dictates the game and is extremely physical.” Olney Daily News 2/11

The Conquerors (13-9) wrapped up the league’s No. 2 seed to the district tournament and will play host to Gig Harbor in the first round Wednesday. Josh Smith, a 6-foot-9 center bound for UCLA, returned from a knee injury almost four weeks ago, and Kentwood has been on a roll ever since. Smith turned in his usual double-double, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but the Conks got production from his supporting cast, too. News Tribune 2/14


The weather outside was snowy but unfortunately for the Bay City Western boys basketball team their opponents Mt Pleasant were red hot and came away with a 71-57 victory.  Trey Zeigler led the Oilers with 20 points. James Arnold added 15 points while Josh Rathje also had double digits with 13 points for Mt Pleasant (11-3). MLive 2/10

One of the worst-kept secrets in recent weeks at Jefferson High School was released off campus Thursday when Democrats senior Terrence Jones was selected to the McDonald's All-American boys basketball team.  The 6-foot-8 wing, who is averaging 30 points and 14 rebounds for No. 1 Jefferson, became the seventh player in Oregon to earn McDonald's honors. Jones is one of 24 players chosen for the 33rd annual game, which will be played at 5 p.m. March 31 in Columbus, Ohio. Oregon Live 2/11

Keith Appling of Detroit Pershing and Ray McCallum Jr. of Detroit Country Day have been selected to the McDonald's All-America Team for 2010. Appling and McCallum will play for the West All-Stars....McCallum is averaging 22.5 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Appling, who is averaging 27 points, has signed with Michigan State. McCallum remains uncommitted. He is considering Arizona, Oklahoma, UCLA and Detroit Mercy, where his father is the head coach. Detroit News 2/11

Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) senior forward Terrence Jones, ranked No. 13 in the ESPNU 100, isn't sure where he wants to attend college. Could be Oregon, Kentucky, Oklahoma, UCLA or Washington. But for now, he won't even say who he's leaning toward. Why? "I haven't been thinking about it like that," said Jones. "I want to focus on my team." Jones' logic is simple: As long as he's getting national attention, his team can also reap the benefits of exposure. "I just figure that if coaches are coming to see me and one of my teammates has a big game, they'll be interested in them, too," Jones said. "I just feel like we all help each other out and this is my way of doing it. ESPN 2/12

And by the time standout senior Ray McCallum Jr. was finished with his 16-point second half – which included a showtime dunk midway through the fourth quarter that had the Pioneer gym roaring – Country Day was well on its way to a 75-55 win. "I'll pick a college during the spring period, but for now we all need to be getting looks. We're hoping to all sign together."MLive 2/12

Bruins Can't Handle The Pressure Again and Lose

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

For the second consecutive game the Bruins couldn't handle the defensive pressure and lost again, this time to crosstown rivals USC, 68-64.

After trailing by just 3 points at the half, 32-29, the Bruins came out in the second with hopes for a possible upset on the road.  But USC started applying full court pressure and quickly sensed UCLA were unable to cope with it.

The Trojans forced the Bruins into 20 turnovers.  UCLA point guards Malcolm Lee had 6 turnovers and back-up Jerime Anderson had 2.  

But Anderson's turnovers were big momentum changers.  

With UCLA down by just 4 and making one final push down the stretch late in the game, Anderson was dominated and picked one-on-one at half court by USC's Marcus Johnson who converted and pushed the Trojans ahead for good.

It begs the question.  Considering how poorly he had been playing, why was Anderson even on the floor at such an important juncture in the game?

By now it should be clear to most anyone that Jerime Anderson is not a UCLA level point-guard, or possibly a Pac-10 level for that matter, especially considering the important role a point-guard plays in UCLA Coach Ben Howland's offense.  

Senior Nikola Dragovic had another poor offense showing hitting just 1 of 7 from three-point distance.  As a team the Bruins were just 7 of 26 for 27% from beyond the arc.

Although the Bruins outrebounded the Trojans 36-23, it could not compensate for the lack of UCLA's composure and ability to withstand the aggressive defensive pressure by USC.

The Trojans were once again quicker, more athletic, and aggressive than their Bruin opponents.

UCLA (6-6, 11-13) was swept by USC for only the sixth time in the last 50 years, and the Trojans beat the Bruins for the first time at the Galen Center which opened in 2006.