Saturday, January 7, 2012

UCLA Wears down Arizona 65-58, Joshua Smith injured

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 05: Two Wears are waiting. Twin brothers David Wear #12 (L) and Travis Wear #24 of the UCLA Bruins kneel by the scorer's table as they wait to enter the game agaisnt the Arizona Wildcats at the Honda Center on January 5, 2012 in Anaheim, California. UCLA won 65-58. TW scores a career-high 20 while DW scores 14 for the night. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

UCLA manages to Wear down Arizona

The former Mater Dei standouts combined for 34 points in the first in what UCLA (8-7 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) hopes will be a series of victories.

Published: Jan. 5, 2012 Updated: Jan. 6, 2012 7:10 a.m.

ANAHEIM – All week, UCLA coach Ben Howland said the Brothers Wear needed to step up.

Travis and David Wear did just that Thursday night, in the process stepping all over Arizona in a 65-58 victory in the Wooden Classic at Honda Center.

The former Mater Dei standouts combined for 34 points in the first in what UCLA (8-7 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) hopes will be a series of victories.

Not surprising, the Bruins had to survive some nervous moments down the stretch. UCLA made just one field goal in the final 5:34.

But the Bruins were finally able to secure the victory by limiting Arizona to one field goal in the final 3:28. UCLA held Arizona to 36.2 percent shooting from the field on the night, 35.7 percent in the second half.

The victory was the closest thing to a quality victory this season for a Bruins team that began the week No. 146 in the RPI and No. 109 in the Sagarin Rankings.

Getting more offensive production out of the Wear twins was a point of emphasis for Howland during the week, and the former Mater Dei standouts responded.

Travis Wear scored 12 of his career-high 20 points in the opening half when the Bruins took a 37-30 lead into the locker room. He added three blocked shots.

David Wear scored 14 points.

Bruins point guard Lazeric Jones added 13 points, four assists and three steals. UCLA guard Tyler Lamb, the Wears' former Mater Dei teammate, finished with five assists and four steals.

Arizona forward Solomon Hill led the Wildcats with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Wears' contribution took on added significance after sophomore center Joshua Smith suffered a concussion during the Bruins' Wednesday practice and was not allowed to play Thursday.

Smith, who took a knee to the head, is listed as day-to-day and will be re-examined by a team doctor today.

The Bruins victory did not come without drama down the stretch.

Twice UCLA stretched out to 10 point leads and twice the Wildcats came back.

David Wear put the Bruins up, 57-47, with 5:30 remaining only to foul out less than 30 seconds later.

Arizona guard Kevin Parrom sank one of the ensuing free throws and then Hill scored on a put back to cut the gap to 57-52.

Hill continued to cut it scoring in the paint while getting fouled with 3:28 remaining.

Hill missed a chance to cut the Bruin lead further when he couldn't convert the 3-point-play. The Wildcats then failed score on its next three possessions.

Travis Wear added a pair of free throws to put UCLA up, 59-54.

The Bruins then wasted a pair of chances to pad the lead when point guard Lazeric Jones missed a pair of jumpers on consecutive possessions.

Jones finally broke the Bruin field goal drought scoring on a drive with 36.6 seconds left to put UCLA up 62-56.


Shorthanded UCLA finds a way to beat Arizona in Anaheim

The Daily Bruin in Sports: Bruin Sights
Published January 5, 2012

ANAHEIM –- Cut down to a seven-man rotation, UCLA was able to squeak out a 65-58 win over Arizona on Thursday night at Honda Center.

Already down one starter in sophomore center Joshua Smith, sidelined with a concussion, UCLA lost redshirt sophomore forward David Wear to his fifth foul with 5:07 left to play in the game holding on to a slim lead.

Weary and short on breath, the Bruins still managed to get stops down the stretch. Coming out of a timeout with the Wildcats inbounding down just five points, sophomore guard Tyler Lamb came up with one of his four steals before Arizona (10-5, 1-1 Pac-12) could even run a play. Senior guard Lazeric Jones then broke a long UCLA field-goal drought with a lefty layup off glass with 35 seconds to play to give the Bruins (8-7, 1-2) a six-point cushion.

Redshirt sophomore forward Travis Wear led the way with a career-high 20 points as he continually out-hustled the overmatched Wildcat frontcourt. Brother David had 15 before fouling out, while Jones had 13.

In beating its first opponent from one of the “Power Six” conferences this season, UCLA avoided its first 0-3 hole to start conference play since the 1987-88 season.


Buzzer Beaters: Pac-12 putrid, no Joshua Smith not a problem for defense and a Wooden Classic that wasn’t

The Daily Bruin in Sports: Bruin Sights
Published January 6, 2012
Updated:January 6, 2012, 4:24 PM

Did you think you knew anything about the Pac-12?

If you did, Thursday’s slate of conference games likely proved you wrong. For starters, your UCLA Bruins (8-7, 1-2 Pac-12) delivered their first win over an opponent from one of the “Power Six” conferences, all without the services of concussed sophomore center Joshua Smith against the Arizona Wildcats (10-5, 1-1).

Down three suspended players and with only six scholarship players making the trip, Arizona State (5-9, 1-1) was still able to beat USC (5-11, 0-3) at Galen Center.

Stanford (12-3, 2-1), which had the most AP votes of any Pac-12 team this week, fell to Oregon (11-4, 2-1).

California (12-4, 2-1), fresh off a beatdown of UCLA and holding the second-most AP votes in the conference, lost to Oregon State (11-4, 1-2).

Despite entering as 17-point underdogs, Utah (4-10, 1-1) needed overtime but took care of Washington State (9-6, 1-2) in Salt Lake City.

All of that makes conference newcomer Colorado (10-4, 2-0), which beat Washington (8-6, 2-1) at home, the Pac-12’s conference leader at the midway point of the second week of play.

The Pac-12 is weaker than ever and it’s becoming a growing possibility that the only NCAA Tournament bid the league will garner is the one saved for the champion of the Pac-12 Tournament in March. UCLA coach Ben Howland already admitted that his team’s only shot to make the Tournament is to win the Pac-12, and he may soon have company with that train of thought.

On to the Buzzer Beaters, looking back at UCLA’s 65-58 win over Arizona and ahead to Saturday’s matchup against Arizona State:

—UCLA delivered one of its best defensive performances of the year while barely playing any zone. Howland estimated that the Bruins played 15 percent of the game in zone and 85 percent in man-to-man. The result was a 36 percent shooting night for Arizona.

—Senior guard Lazeric Jones got an earful from Howland for chasing after an offensive rebound early in the first half. Key to the defensive gameplan was stopping the Wildcats in transition. As noted in the game story, Howland said beforehand that Arizona’s speed could be an issue so UCLA sent only two forwards to the offensive glass. Jones’ eagerness resulted in an open dunk on the other end. The Bruins quickly shored that up — Arizona finished with just four fastbreak points.

—Howland had no update on Smith’s status for the Arizona State game on Friday afternoon. He said that Smith would work out on a stationary bike following Friday’s practice, which he didn’t participate in. Smith would have to feel fine after his workout, then pass a concussion test at UCLA Saturday morning before getting cleared to play in the 7:30 p.m. game in Anaheim. “I would say less he will than he won’t, but I have no idea,” Howland said. We’ll post the update on the @DBSports Twitter account when we get it.

—Smith didn’t play, and UCLA’s previously porous man-to-man defense was the strongest it had been all season. Correlation, sure. Causation? It’s probably too small a sample size to tell. But even Howland couldn’t deny that not having Smith let his team play a little more man: “Josh played man last year. This team today, because they don’t have a true post-up player, was different. It probably did (let us play more man). Both Hill and Perry can really step out and shoot it. That would have been a hard matchup.”

—Howland was particularly disappointed because he says Smith is in the best condition he’s been so far this season. “He was down on Monday, after extra running, to the lowest he’s been in terms of his weight in a year,” Smith said. “He’s working hard getting himself in better shape. He ran three miles on Sunday, ran extra on Monday for 45 minutes, really putting the time in. It’s disappointing that we lost him for this game.”

—Arizona senior guard and noted “Bruin Killer” Kyle Fogg had put up double figures in each of his last five games against UCLA. He was held to just seven Saturday. Howland credited Tyler Lamb for his man defense.

—For the third straight game, a Bruin posted a career-best scoring mark. Saturday it was Travis Wear (20), who followed career performances from Lamb (26 against Cal) and Jones (26 against Stanford).

—Redshirt sophomore center Anthony Stover hadn’t made a free throw ALL SEASON entering Saturday. He found himself at the line six times against Arizona and made three, all in the second half when it was a tight game. He successfully drained his first and the UCLA bench, led by Smith, erupted in celebration. When Lamb went down with cramps and couldn’t shoot a one-and-one, Arizona coach Sean Miller had his choice of who to send to the line and, unsurprisingly, picked Stover. He missed the first, tossed his headband to the bench, then made the second. “He’s been talking about making his first free throw for a while,” Jones said. “He made some big free-throws, too.”

—Stover upped his free-throw percentage from zero to 27 percent. Watch out for Hack-a-Stov in the future.

—Stover’s three points were the most by a UCLA bench player. Sophomore guard Norman Powell had a bucket of his own, an alley-oop dunk from Lamb on a fastbreak. That was it for the bench scoring. However limited, UCLA had just eight players in the rotation and desperately needed every last point.

—UCLA’s starters looked really fatigued by the end of that game. That contributed to UCLA’s long field-goal drought that nearly cost the Bruins their lead. Lamb had severe cramps and Jones said afterward he was cramping as well.

—Former UCLA shooting guard and infamous cramp victim Malcolm Lee checked in on his Twitter: “I feel yo pain @LamboMars. I no a cramp when I see one lol”

—NBA update: Lee, who received a three-year guaranteed contract from the Minnesota Timberwolves, has been sidelined after having surgery on the same meniscus that was repaired at the end of his UCLA career, though the Timberwolves said the surgeries weren’t related. Tyler Honeycutt has played four minutes in eight games for the Sacramento Kings.

—Teams are starting to key in on Jones, UCLA’s leading scorer. Howland’s new game-plan is to let Jones play off the ball in more of a shooting guard role and let fellow senior guard Jerime Anderson shoulder the ball-handling responsibilities. That strategy worked Saturday with periodic success. “I’ve never played off the ball in my life,” Jones said. “Knowing Jerime’s out there takes a lot of pressure off me, too. I know that teams deny me the ball and I know Jerime can handle it.”

—Finally, the game was designated as the John R. Wooden Classic but it hardly felt like one. It strayed from the usual placement of the game in December against a marquee non-conference opponent. There was no trophy presentation. The usual in-game tributes to UCLA’s legendary coach were whittled down to just a brief video. You would have hardly been able to tell the game was special if the center court circle wasn’t changed to reflect the Classic’s logo. The lack of a home arena contributed to the inability to find an opponent so UCLA picked the Arizona game and kept it in Honda Center, the Classic’s usual home. For anyone who has watched the event over the years, it was clear that the game has lost some of its luster since Wooden’s passing in 2010. The LA Times’ Bill Plashcke put it well in his Thursday column: “This event needs to be fixed, and now.”


ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 05: Travis Wear #24 of the UCLA Bruins dunks against the Arizona Wildcats at the Honda Center on January 5, 2012 in Anaheim, California. UCLA won 65-58. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

UCLA puts in the effort in 65-58 victory over Arizona

It is the Bruins' first Pac-12 Conference game win, and they avoid their first 0-3 league start since the 1987-88 season.

By Diane Pucin
D' Los Angeles Times
11:25 PM PST, January 5, 2012

Travis Wear scored a career-high 20 points. Anthony Stover made his first free throws of the season. Tyler Lamb played so hard he was cramping with more than eight minutes left in the basketball game Thursday between UCLA and Arizona at Honda Center.

Amid noisy and numerous Wildcats fans chanting "U of A," with Lamb writhing on the ground and the absence of starting center Josh Smith, UCLA played its heart out in a 65-58 victory.

It was the Bruins' first Pac-12 Conference game win, and they avoided their first 0-3 league start since the 1987-88 season.

This game, which also served as the annual John R. Wooden Classic, turned UCLA's way in the first half and stayed that way.

"We made a good step forward," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. "I'm especially pleased with both Wears. They made a good step forward this week."

David Wear fouled out with 5:07 left and UCLA leading 57-50. He had 14 points and four rebounds and, upon his exit, Arizona's Solomon Hill scored to draw Arizona within 57-54, as close as the Wildcats (10-5, 1-1) had been to the Bruins (8-7, 1-2) in the second half.

The Bruins held on, though, even though they scored only one basket in the final 5:37, when Travis Wear hit a layup. Lazeric Jones' layup with 36.6 seconds left gave the Bruins a 62-56 lead.

Travis Wear hit two free throws with 3:09 left to give UCLA a 59-54 lead and the UCLA defense harassed Hill into a key turnover with 1:59 left in the game.

Jones was perfect with two free throws with 8.3 seconds left, sealing the win for the Bruins.

Howland said he was happy his team got the ball inside and he also tried to give Jones more offensive freedom by giving added point guard duties to Jerime Anderson and Tyler Lamb.

"It's a lot different," Jones said. "I've never played off the ball in my life. but if it's going to help us get wins … I'll do what the coach tells me to do."

The Bruins played carefully when they needed, committing nine turnovers, and the Wear twins, David and Travis, went aggressively to the basket, as Howland had demanded of them in practice this week.

With Smith on the sideline after suffering a concussion late in practice Tuesday, the Bruins took off on a 17-4 first-half run when Jerime Anderson knocked down a three-point shot. The fast-paced play put the Bruins ahead 21-12 and UCLA came into halftime holding a seven-point advantage, 37-30.

Arizona had closed it to within 31-29 with 3:51 left in the half on a Brendon Lavender shot, but the Wildcats didn't score another basket before halftime.

Travis and David Wear combined for 20 first-half point (Travis had 12) in the first 20 minutes, and the Bruins defense held Arizona to 36.7% shooting (11 of 30) from the field.


UCLA 65, ARIZONA 58: Bruins escape without injured center Smith

By Vincent Bonsignore Staff Writer
The LA Daily News
Posted: 01/05/2012 11:32:33 PM PST
Updated: 01/05/2012 11:44:21 PM PST

UCLA BASKETBALL: Even with center sitting out because of injury, Bruins earn first Pac-12 victory.

ANAHEIM - The task was tall to begin with for UCLA against Arizona on Thursday in the Bruins' Pacific-12 Conference home opener in the John Wooden Classic at Honda Center.

But the climb got considerably steeper Wednesday in practice when center Joshua Smith took a knee to the head and was ruled out against the Wildcats with a concussion, a fact that wasn't revealed until Smith showed up in a dark jump suit during warm-ups.

Steep, but surprisingly not insurmountable.

In easily their most inspired performance and biggest win of the season, the Bruins played an effective first half offensively and stayed determined throughout defensively to hang on to a 65-58 upset of Arizona.

It was the Bruins' first conference victory of the season after dropping their first two in the Bay Area last week.

Just as important, it was a much-needed confidence boost for a team that has been hovering around mediocrity all season.

"It's a big win, it's our first conference win and that's what we talked about, getting that first win so we can try and get on a roll," UCLA senior guard Lazeric Jones said.

What the Bruins (8-7, 1-2) do with it remains to be seen. If they can find a way to replicate this performance, things might start looking up.

Short-handed as they were, the Bruins dictated the pace, never allowed Arizona to get comfortable and were in control most of the night, building a 10-point lead with 5:33 left, then surviving the loss of forward David Wear to fouls for the final 5:07.

With Wear out, Arizona went to work and eventually cut the lead to three with 3:28 left. But Jones made a key layup and teamed with Tyler Lamb to sink three late free throws, enabling the Bruins to hold on.

Travis Wear had 20 points, twin brother David Wear had 14 and Jones 13 to lead the Bruins.

The Bruins built a 37-30 lead at halftime behind Travis Wear's 12 points and David Wear's eight.

UCLA shot a scorching 59.3 percent from the field in the opening half, hitting 16 of 27 shots despite a woeful 1 of 6 on 3-pointers. It was a telling half for a team that came into Thursday's game shooting 44 percent from the field.

But with the Wears combining to make 8 of their 10 first-half shots, and Jones and Jerime Anderson teaming up to make 6 of 12, UCLA looked crisp, efficient and effective offensively.

The key was an emphasis to go inside to the Wear brothers and transition points.

"Just looking to score, I think that helped me," Travis Wear said. "I just wanted to be aggressive."

The Bruins cooled off considerably in the second half - shooting just 29 percent - and finished the night making 43.6 percent of their shots (24 of 55). On the other end, the Bruins limited the Wildcats to 36.2 percent.

"We had a sense of urgency to help out a teammate," Wear said. "Our team defense was excellent."

The loss of Smith was a huge blow, his absence depriving UCLA of its biggest, most physical player and the 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds he is averaging this year.

"It definitely changed things," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Although Smith's injury is being described as a concussion, Howland hopes it's on the milder side.

"I didn't think it was going to be anything like what it was," he said.


UCLA shellacks Zona 65-58: Wooden Game Recap

By Matt Vevoda
for Wooden

A heavy dose of the Wear twins catapulted UCLA to a 65-58 victory over UCLA in the 18th annual John R. Wooden Classic at Honda Center.

Travis Wear scored a career-high 20 points for UCLA in a 65-58 win over Arizona.

Travis Wear poured in a career-high 20 points on the night, while his brother David added another 14 for the Bruins in their first Pac-12 win of the season. Overall, the 6-10 sophomore forwards were a combined 13-of-16 shooting from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

“This is obviously a very big win for us tonight, after starting out 0-2 (in conference play) and playing against a very good Arizona team,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “The Wears did a good job inside tonight, scoring a lot of baskets around the goal. They got to the line a little more. Travis got to the line six times tonight, which was big for us.”

The performance by the Wears was even more crucial in the game, as the Bruins were without the services of Joshua Smith. The sophomore center, who is fourth on the team in scoring, was out due to a concussion suffered in practice the day before.

“I give UCLA a lot of credit,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “They were without one of their very important players – Josh Smith – and it seemed to galvanize the rest of the group. The Wear twins are very good players and took advantage of us. We lost to a better team tonight.”

After Arizona jumped in front during the early moments of the game, the Bruins went on a 17-4 run that would give them a lead they would never relinquish. Each time the Wildcats would try to close the gap, UCLA would stand tall.

Solomon Hill totaled 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half for Arizona.

The Wildcats (10-5, 1-1) would get to within two points of the lead near the end of the first half, getting a pair of Brendon Lavendar three-pointers to make the score 31-29. The Bruins quickly struck back, getting six straight points from senior guards Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson, to take a 37-30 lead into halftime.

UCLA (8-7, 1-2) continued to find success in the opening minutes of the second half, going up by 11 at one point. The Wear twins would then get into foul trouble and the tandem of Jesse Perry and Solomon Hill for Arizona started to take over. The two forwards scored 19 of their 29 points in the game during the second half and had the Wildcats trailing by just three with 3:28 left on the clock.

Jones would again put those comeback thoughts to rest though, as he hit a tough runner in the lane and two free throws down the stretch to help seal the victory. “It’s a big win, our first Pac-12 win,” Jones said. “That’s what we talked about. We wanted to get our first Pac-12 win, so we could get a roll going. Hopefully, we can learn from this and continue to get wins.”

The victory was even sweeter for UCLA, as it came in the event that bears the name of their historic former head coach. Established in 1994, the Wooden Classic is an annual tribute to the legendary former coach (who passed away in 2010 at the age of 99) and the excellence he personified. The Bruins have won their last two Wooden Classic games and are now 11-4 in their 15 appearances at the event.

“It definitely felt special, just seeing the atmosphere,” David Wear said. “Knowing it’s the John Wooden Classic and his name is on the court, we definitely wanted to have a good appearance and get the win tonight.”

For Arizona, it was their first loss at the Wooden Classic. They were previously victorious at the event in 1996 , 2001 and 2004. The Wildcats also made it to the Elite Eight during the NCAA West Regional at Honda Center last season, before falling to eventual champion UCONN.

Click on boxscore to enlarge (from

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