UCLA senior guards excel with a little extra rest
Bruins seniors Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson played fewer minutes but made big contributions in Thursday's rout of Utah. Coach Ben Howland says he'll try a similar game plan against Colorado.
By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
3:45 PM PST, January 27, 2012
UCLA Coach Ben Howland used two words to summarize the Bruins' performance against Utah on Thursday.
"Senior guards," Howland said.
Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson pushed the Bruins to a 76-49 victory over the lowly Utes, an example of less being more. The two guards logged heavy minutes in Oregon last week, but were able to catch their breath more Thursday.
Anderson played 29 minutes and made five of six shots, scoring 13 points. Jones played 32 minutes, finishing with seven points, six rebounds and six assists.
That will be the blueprint again Saturday, when the Bruins play Colorado at the Sports Arena.
"Some of it was a conscious effort, trying to keep everyone fresh in the game, and we'll continue to do that," Howland said. "Some of it was we were up by 25."
Jones averaged 36 minutes in the five previous games. He had one assist in 36 minutes against Oregon.
"He'll get fatigued, like anybody, and won't be quite as sharp as you need him to be," Howland said. "When he's playing more than 34 minutes, mistakes creep in."
Jones was nearly mistake-free against Utah and kept UCLA's offense fluid. Jones' six rebounds were on the defensive end, helping him to control tempo. He took only six shots, his fewest since taking five against Michigan on Nov. 23.
"It just goes to show you that Zeek is not playing for Zeek; Zeek is playing for UCLA," Howland said. "He did a great job sharing the ball. He was really being unselfish."
Anderson played, "maybe his best game at UCLA," Howland said. Anderson has made 19 of his last 28 shots, but he felt a difference in Thursday's game while playing less than 30 minutes for the first time in seven games.
"I just took what they gave me," Anderson said. "My teammates found me at open spots, and I just tried to take open shots and just get the ball to the right guy."
Howland said solid play from freshman Norman Powell allowed him to share the playing time.
"I was most pleased with Norman's defensive effort" Thursday, Howland said. "He did a good job fighting over the top of screens."
Wear and tear
Another advantage to routing Utah was clear to forward David Wear.
"We're not as beat up," Wear said. "We won't have to spend as much time in the training room getting treatments. We were able to rest our legs."
Wear still has pain in his right knee, which he injured against Oregon, Howland said. But he was able to practice during the week and played 24 minutes, scoring 13 points, against Utah.
The Bruins only other medical problems were related to illness, Howland said. Center Joshua Smith and Anderson are sick but will play against Colorado.
Howland said he was not surprised by Colorado's success this season. The Buffaloes (14-6, 6-2 Pac-12 Conference) are in a four-way tie for first in the Pac-12.
Howland pointed out that Colorado set a school record with 24 victories last season.
"They are really good at picking and popping," Howland said, noting that Colorado inside players Austin Dufault and Andre Roberson are also "good outside shooters."
UCLA (11-9, 4-4) has a 2-8 record against Division I teams that had a winning record as of Friday.