LEFT COAST LAYUPS (1/3/2013): UCLA SCORES NEEDED RESUME BOOSTER
By Raphielle Johnson
UCLA entered Friday’s game against then-No. 7 Missouri having won four straight games, but with their best non-conference victory coming at the expense of Texas the Bruins needed to beat the Tigers for the sake of their NCAA tournament resume. And that they did, as Shabazz Muhammad scored 27 points and knocked down two big three-pointers in overtime to push UCLA past Missouri 97-94. The Bruins were out-rebounded 50-36 by Missouri but they made up for it by playing very well on the offensive end of the floor.
As a team UCLA shot 50.6% from the field and turned the ball over six times, and when compared to Missouri’s 17 turnovers it’s easy to see why the Bruins attempted just one less shot than the visitors despite what happened on the glass. UCLA also took advantage of the foul line, making 13 of their 16 free throws while Missouri shot 6-of-10. Travis Wear added 22 points and nine rebounds, Jordan Adams 12 points and Larry Drew II dished out ten assists in the win, which gave both UCLA and the Pac-12 a nice resume boost heading into conference play.
This is essentially going to be the recipe for UCLA going forward, where they rely on their ability to score to push them past the opposition whether those teams are elite or not. Drew II has played very well at the point, and while some may see the fact that the ball has been in Kyle Anderson’s hands less as a negative the numbers that Drew II has posted don’t lie. On Friday night the UNC transfer played a team-high 40 minutes, and he’ll have to be on the floor a great deal as the season wears on.
There’s no doubt that UCLA will need to work towards being a serviceable team on the defensive end, and freshman Tony Parker has to go about earning more playing time to give Ben Howland an eight-man rotation to work with. In the aftermath of their loss to San Diego State, UCLA did not have the look of a team capable of turning things around. But as Friday revealed there’s still more than enough talent in Westwood to do so. It’s all a matter of going out and getting the job done at this point.
Player of the Week: UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad
Muhammad was one of the big reasons why the Bruins were able to knock off then-No. 7 Missouri 97-94 on Friday night, scoring 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Over his last four games the freshman is averaging 25.0 points per game.
Conference play begins: After a non-conference season that was for the most part underwhelming the Pac-12 finally begins conference play with a battle of the brothers Bachynski leading things off on Wednesday. Dallin Bachynski and the Utah Utes visits Jordan (leading the conference with 4.5 blocks per game) and Arizona State, with two of the league’s best freshman also taking part. Much is known nationally about the impact that point guard Jahii Carson has had for the Sun Devils, but more people need to get acquainted with Utah forward Jordan Loveridge. Loveridge is averaging 13.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and his play has helped make up for the loss of big man David Foster.
Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)
10 PM Utah at Arizona State (P12N)
8 PM Colorado at No. 3 Arizona (ESPNU)
10 PM Stanford at USC (ESPNU)
11 PM California at UCLA (FSN)
3 PM Stanford at UCLA (P12N)
5 PM Utah at No. 3 Arizona (P12N)
9:30 PM Washington at Washington State (ESPNU)
11 PM California at USC (FSN)
8 PM Colorado at Arizona State (P12N)
10 PM Oregon at Oregon State (FSN)
Player of the Week: North Dakota guard Troy Huff
In his second game back after missing time due to a broken jaw, Huff was a key figure in the Fighting Sioux’s 56-53 win over Bowling Green. Huff tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds off the bench in North Dakota’s first win over a Division I opponent this season.
Southern Utah off to 2-0 start: It comes as no surprise that Montana and Weber State are two of the three teams tied atop the Big Sky standings with 2-0 records. The third team is Southern Utah, and with Nick Robinson’s team predicted to finish in the lower region of the conference in the preseason this would qualify as a surprise. SUU moved to 4-1 at home on Saturday with a 51-50 win over Northern Colorado, and they did so by forcing turnovers (22) and out-rebounding Northern Colorado 45-32. Jackson Stevenett led the way offensively with 15 points, and he along with Damon Heuir will have to lead the way of the Thunderbirds are to entertain any thoughts of being a contender as league play resumes.
Schedule (Thursday – Saturday; all games on Big Sky TV)
8:35 PM Sacramento State at Northern Arizona
9:05 PM Portland State at Montana State
9:05 PM Eastern Washington at Montana
9:05 PM North Dakota at Idaho State
9:05 PM Northern Colorado at Weber State
5:05 PM Southern Utah at Northern Arizona
9:05 PM Eastern Washington at Montana State
9:05 PM Portland State at Montana
9:05 PM Northern Colorado at Idaho State
9:05 PM North Dakota at Weber State
Player of the Week: Cal State Fullerton forward Sammy Yeager
Yeager went off in the Titans’ win over UCSB over the weekend, scoring 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting. Yeager knocked down eight three-pointers and also tallied four rebounds and two assists.
Long-awaited debuts pay off for Long Beach State: Tony Freeland and Keala King finally saw action for the 49ers on Saturday, and both had an impact on the 67-63 win over Pacific. Freeland got the start in the front court and scored 15 points in his debut, and while King struggled offensively (one point, four turnovers) he did grab five rebounds. Edgar Garibay did not play due to a knee issue. But the addition of Freeland and King give Long Beach State some much-needed depth, and they’ll need every bit of it to deal with what should be a highly competitive Big West conference slate.
Schedule (Thursday – Saturday)
10 PM Long Beach State at Cal Poly
10 PM UC Irvine at UCSB
10:05 PM UC Riverside at Cal State Northridge
12 AM Cal State Fullerton at Hawai’i
7 PM Long Beach State at UCSB
10 PM UC Irvine at Cal Poly
10 PM Pacific at UC Davis
10:05 PM Cal State Fullerton at Cal State Northridge
12 AM UC Riverside at Hawai’i
Player of the Week: New Mexico center Alex Kirk
Kirk was a key figure in the Lobos’ win at then-No. 8 Cincinnati last week, scoring 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots.
Boise State staying put: Boise State made the decision many expected of them the moment Louisville left the Big East for the ACC, as they will now remain in the Mountain West. The conference made concessions that the Big East was willing to in regards to the Broncos’ football TV rights, and will also pay $3 million of the $5 million exit fee that the school now owes the Big East. From a basketball standpoint this is excellent news for Leon Rice’s program, which will be very good in 2013-14 (they’ve been pretty good this season as well). Being in a conference along with UNLV and New Mexico among others (will San Diego State change its mind on moving to the Big East?) will help Boise State in regards to recruiting.
Schedule (Wednesday – Saturday)
7 PM Air Force at Richmond
8 PM Boise State at UT-Arlington
8 PM Wyoming at SMU
10 PM Cal State Bakersfield at No. 19 San Diego State
10 PM UTEP at Colorado State
10 PM Chicago State at UNLV
4:30 PM St. Bonaventure at Colorado State
9 PM Walla Walla at Boise State
10 PM Cal State Bakersfield at UNLV
Player of the Week: BYU guard Tyler Haws
Haws went off on Virginia Tech over the weekend, scoring a career-high 42 points. In two games the sophomore averaged 28.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. On the season Haws is second in the WCC in scoring with teammate Brandon Davies third.
Bulldogs use big weekend to jump into Top 10: Wins over Baylor and then-No. 22 Oklahoma State won’t make No. 10 Gonzaga a contender in the Big 12 (5-0 vs. Big 12 teams this season), but they’ll go a long way towards ensuring the Bulldogs a quality NCAA tournament seed provided they take care of business in WCC play. Point guard Kevin Pangos scored 31 points in the win over Baylor and Elias Harris has been solid all season long, but the biggest revelation has been Kelly Olynyk. A bit player before deciding to redshirt last season, the junior is averaging 15.7 points per game and shooting 68.1% from the field. If Olynyk can continue to play as he has, Gonzaga is capable of getting to Atlanta much less getting out of the first weekend for the first time since the 2009 NCAA tournament.
Schedule (Wednesday – Saturday)
10 PM San Francisco at Santa Clara (ESPNU)
9 PM Loyola Marymount at VYU (BYUtv)
9 PM No. 10 Gonzaga at Pepperdine (ROOT)
11 PM Portland at San Diego
4:30 PM Loyola Marymount at Saint Mary’s
8 PM No. 10 Gonzaga at Santa Clara (ROOT)
10 PM Portland at Peppedine
10 PM BYU at San Francisco (BYUtv)
Player of the Week: Idaho center Kyle Barone
Barone scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Vandals past Seattle in their conference opener. Barone, a preseason first team All-WAC selection, is averaging 21.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest over the last three games.
Tough road trip for New Mexico State: Both New Mexico State and Utah State began WAC play on the road last week but returned home with far different results. Utah State is one of three teams with 2-0 WAC records while Marvin Menzies’ squad lost games at UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. In their loss at UT-Arlington the Aggies couldn’t shoot, making 33.3% of their shots in the 68-44 loss (Daniel Mullings scored 21 of the 44 points), and their three-point shooting (1-of-12) did them in at Louisiana Tech (81-72 loss). New Mexico State is talented enough to fight their way back into the WAC race but this certainly wasn’t the best of starts for them.
Schedule (Wednesday – Tuesday)
8 PM Boise State at UT-Arlington
9 PM UTSA at New Mexico State (ESPN3)
9 PM Texas State at Denver
9:05 PM Seattle at Utah State (ESPN3)
10 PM Idaho at San Jose State
8 PM Louisiana Tech at UT-Arlington
9 PM Texas State at New Mexico State (ESPN3)
9:05 PM Idaho at Utah State (ESPN3)
10 PM Seattle at San Jose State
4 PM UTSA at Denver
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