FRIDAY WEST COAST RECAP: UCLA BRUSHES ASIDE BAD NEWS & ROLLS TO WIN
By Raphielle Johnson
Hours before the UCLA Bruins began their season on Friday night the school received some bad news from the NCAA. Freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for a violation of the governing body’s amateurism rules, and with no timeframe given it’s anyone’s guess how many games he’ll miss. In recent years such news would provide the Bruins the perfect excuse to struggle and even drop a game to a team they’re clearly superior to. But after a slow start offensively UCLA got going, pulling away in the second half to score an 86-59 win in the first game at the new Pauley Pavilion.
And two of UCLA’s four freshmen played a significant role in the victory, as Jordan Adams scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Kyle Anderson tallied ten points, nine rebounds and five assists. Anderson didn’t provide “fireworks” in his debut but he was pretty doggone good, and even though it’s just one game the Saint Anthony product is clearly UCLA’s best distributor. But back to Adams, whose proficiency from the perimeter opened things up for the Bruins offensively after a lethargic first ten minutes. With the other three members of the class receiving more national pub coming in, folks may have forgotten just how good he is offensively.
“We were hyped up in the beginning and a little too fast, missing shots we would usually make,” head coach Ben Howland said following the game. “The players were too amped – it was the first time they saw the lights go down, the new introductions and the phenomenal crowd. We were pleased with the beautiful atmosphere. We started slow, but began to loosen up, especially with Adams and Lamb’s big threes.”
Tyler Lamb, who made his return after missing a month due to an arthroscopic procedure on his knee, finished with four points and Norman Powell added nine and three assists for the Bruins, whose best work came on the defensive end. Indiana State shot just 31.7% from the field on the night, and as the game wore on the more talented team imposed its will on the visitors. And not to be ignored is the play of the Wear twins, who finished with a combined 30 points and 17 rebounds, and both looked solid in pick and pop situations for much of the night.
This was a good debut for UCLA considering the absence of Muhammad, because in prior years that would be the perfect excuse for a letdown. It’s too early to judge how they’ll deal with adversity when things get tough as the season progresses, but UCLA’s win was definitely a step in the right direction. Here are some other thoughts on the action involving West Coast conferences on Friday night.
- Montana can take positives out of their loss at Colorado State.
With Will Cherry out it was clear to just about anyone who took a look at Montana’s game at Colorado State that junior wing Kareem Jamar would have to be a difference-maker. So when he landed in early foul trouble and played just four minutes in the first half the Grizzlies looked to be in trouble. But while they failed to hang onto their 34-27 halftime lead, ultimately losing 72-65, Montana can feel good about the play of sophomores Keron DeShields and Jordan Gregory.
DeShields finished with a team-high 17 points and Gregory added ten, but it was because of these two that Montana took a lead into the locker room at the half. Jamar and forward Mathias Ward played just 20 minutes apiece due to foul trouble, and the Griz very well could have folded well before the half. Ultimately Colorado State’s size advantage inside (40-17 rebounding edge, with Pierce Hornung grabbing 16 of them) and 41 free throws for the home team did in Montana, but their fans should feel good about this team going forward.
No. 21 Gonzaga 103, Southern Utah 65
Kansas State 85, North Dakota 52
Weber State 110, Arizona Christian 52
Sacramento State 96, UC Merced 62
Portland State 77, Pacific (OR) 58
- Cal State Northridge comes back from 13 down with 13 minutes remaining to beat Pepperdine.
With 13:17 left in the game Bobby Braswell’s Matadors trailed Pepperdine 54-41, and after a cold first half from the field figuring out how they would get back into the game was probably difficult for many of the fans in attendance. But Northridge buckled down defensively and warmed up offensively, shooting 52% from the field in the second half as they came back to win 81-75.
Donovan Johnson led the way with 19 points off the bench with 12 of those coming in the final 20 minutes, and Josh Greene (16 points), Stephen Maxwell (15 points, six rebounds) and Stephan Hicks (ten points, seven rebounds) also reached double figures. Pepperdine, who finished the game with 23 turnovers, was led by Jordan Baker (21 points) and Lorne Jackson (16 points, six rebounds, six assists and six turnovers).
TCU 53, Cal Poly 46
LSU 77, UCSB 63
Oklahoma State 73, UC Davis 65
DePaul 91, UC Riverside 59
Hawaii 76, Maryland-Eastern Shore 64
- Fresno State hangs tough in Austin but falls to No. 24 Texas by two, 55-53.
There aren’t going to be many nights when Kevin Foster and Kevin Olekaibe combine to shoot 4-of-27 from the field, and the fact that Rodney Terry’s squad had a chance to win despite that happening could be seen as a good sign for the future. The Longhorns were without Myck Kabongo and that did have an impact, as Texas finished with just three assists (13 turnovers) and shot 36.7% from the field. But some credit needs to be given to Fresno State’s work on the defensive end as they neutralized just about every Longhorn not named Sheldon McClellan (20 points), but 14 of his points came from the foul line. The Bulldogs will need to be this tough defensively against the better teams in the Mountain West if they want to entertain thoughts of being a spoiler in their debut campaign.
Colorado State 72, Montana 65
- Dwight Powell may have finished with 27 points, but Stanford better do something about that rebounding if they want to contend for a Pac-12 title.
There’s no doubt that Powell will have to be a difference-maker for the Cardinal this season as he was just that against San Francisco, leading the way with 27 points and seven rebounds in Stanford’s 76-64 victory. But if there’s a point of concern for Johnny Dawkins it’s how Stanford performed on the glass, where they were out-rebounded by a San Francisco team that lacks experience in the paint 41-25 (11 offensive rebounds to Stanford’s one).
Stefan Nastic had an uneventful eight minutes of action (three points, one rebound), and if not for the work of Powell and Josh Huestis (11 points, nine rebounds) on the boards the Cardinal very well could have been upset. Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle didn’t shoot well (5-of-17 combined) but that won’t happen very often. And if Stanford wants to be a title contender a rebounding discrepancy like last night’s can’t happen very often either.
No. 13 UCLA 86, Indiana State 59
Colorado 74, Wofford 59
Oregon State 102, Niagara 83
Utah 104, Willamette 47
USC 87, Coppin State 73
- Przemek Karnowski scores 22 points in his debut as No. 21 Gonzaga rolls over Southern Utah.
Much has been made about the arrival of 7-1 center Przemek Karnowski in regards to how good Mark Few’s team can be this season, and while you can’t put too much stock in a win over a Southern Utah team that won’t be very good last night was a good start for the freshman. Karnowski scored 22 points in 20 minutes off the bench as the Bulldogs whipped the Thunderbirds 103-65, and six Gonzaga players finished the night in double figures.
Guy Landri Edi opened his 2012-13 campaign with 16 points and seven rebounds, and as a team Gonzaga was very efficient offensively. The Bulldogs shot 54.5% from the field and finished with 18 assists to nine turnovers, while on the other end Southern Utah turned the ball over a staggering 28 times. The foul shooting for Karnowski (2-of-7) and his teammates (17-of-30 overall) will need to improve, but this wasn’t a bad start to the season at all for Gonzaga.
BYU 81, Tennessee State 66
San Diego 91, San Diego Christian 58
Loyola Marymount 108, Pacifica 49
Cal State Northridge 81, Pepperdine 75
Stanford 74, San Francisco 62
- A disappointing first half dooms Denver in their loss at Iona.
In a rematch of one of the best games in college basketball last season, Joe Scott’s Pioneers laid an egg offensively in the first half of their game at Iona. Denver shot 31.6% from the field (0-of-8 3PT) and turned the ball over 11 times, with those miscues leading to 13 Iona points as the Gaels took a 40-17 lead into the break.
But give Denver credit for fighting back, as they were able to close to within six points late before falling 72-65. Chris Udofia finished with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, but he was also responsible for a team-high six turnovers. In total four Pioneers finished in double figures, but they dug themselves too deep of a hole early. And with a tough non-conference slate still in front of them, Denver has to avoid putting themselves in similar situations in the future.
Morgan State 71, UTSA 59
Texas State 86, Fordham 78
Texas A&M 71, Louisiana Tech 59
New Orleans 72, San Jose State 68
UT Arlington 62, Cal-State Bakersfield 60
Wright St. 80, Idaho 70
*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****