Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reeves Nelson comes off bench again and leads the way, forecloses on beaver's dam

updated post Jan 31 2010 8:46 am


UCLA beats Oregon State: 62-52

Freshman by name only, Reeves Nelson continued his brutish ways, scoring 14 pts and pulling down 12 rbds for another double-double outing, this time at Corvallis, Oregon.

Two other Bruins scored in double-digits, Nikola Dragovic (13 pts) and Michael Roll (11 pts, 5 assists, 1 to, 5:1 a/to ratio, 1 steal).

Malcolm Lee scored 9 pts while Tyler Honeycutt had 7 pts, 3 rbds, 3 assists, 1 steal. Jerime Anderson was back in action, scoring 3 pts, dishing 3 assists, 1 to, 3/1 a/to ratio and had 1 steal.

Hero of a few recent games, Mustafa Abdul-Hamid had 3 pts, while starter James Keefe had 2 pts.

UCLA made 80% of their free throws for the game (WOW!).

The 2-3 zone looked stifling. It's allowing this group of Bruins - who have had the hardest time keeping their man in front of them when they were in the man-to-man - to start playing some serious and effective defense. It is also allowing James Keefe and Brendan Lane to play some serious productive minutes since they fit well with the zone, i.e., slow but long. Also, the shorter Nelson is not called for to bang solo with the opposing big men as much. Finally, the zone also negates the need for everyone to be running around all the time on defense, which is good for some of the banged-up players.

Great game, Bruins! Hopefully it's not simply swamping Saturdays for Thursdays.

Splitting in Oregon helps Bruins avoid a headache

UCLA shoots 65.7% and keeps zone defense working to bounce back from a tough overtime loss.

By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 31, 2010

Reporting from Corvallis, Ore. - The sights and sounds of relief were apparent for UCLA on Saturday.

There was Reeves Nelson's exclamation-point dunk with one second left, capping the 62-52 victory over Oregon State.

"It had been a frustrating game," Nelson said. "I guess I took it out on the rim."

There were the hoots and hollers in the locker room at Gill Coliseum afterward, an emotional pendulum swing from Thursday's long faces after the Bruins blew a 13-point first-half lead in an overtime loss to Oregon.

"This was a big relief coming back today," forward Nikola Dragovic said. "We were counting on winning against Oregon. We had the lead and lost. It hurt."

There was Coach Ben Howland's mathematical assessment on the by-the-numbers way the Bruins (10-11 overall, 5-4 in Pacific 10 Conference) can be successful the rest of the season.

"If you're going to be really competitive, you need to win all your home games. We've already lost two, and you need to split on the road," Howland said. "We got another split on the road, which is very hard in this league, and that's big."

However you frame it, there was no way to undersell the moment from the Bruins' perspective.

UCLA could be one game out of first place if California loses to Arizona today, just two days after slipping to within one game of last place. But that's the Pac-10 this season, and a reason the Bruins have hope.

"I have never seen this conference like this, certainly not since I've been here," guard Michael Roll said. "So we can move forward."

First the Bruins had to weather an annoying-like-your-little-brother Oregon State team.

The Beavers' 1-3-1 trapping zone forced 20 turnovers and had UCLA staring at a possible 0-for-Oregon swing.

From the start, this one was sloppy, with eight seconds of a rugby exhibition after the opening tip, ending with a re-jump after no one could gain possession.

"The way the game started, we could tell it was going to be an ugly game," said Nelson, who finished with a team-high 14 points and 12 rebounds. "We just had to grind it out."

The Bruins had more turnovers (12) than field goals (eight) in the first half and the pratfalls continued, including a double forehead-slapper

Oregon State's Roeland Schaftenaar posted up, then tried a behind-the-back bounce pass that was intercepted UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt, who then bounced the ball to OSU's Calvin Haynes for layup for a 30-28 Beavers lead with 15 minutes left.

But from that point on, the Bruins were anything but punch lines. They went on a 16-5 run and built a 55-40 lead with 1:40 left, then survived as Oregon State scrambled at the finish.

The Bruins did it with hot shooting, making 65.7% from the field (23 of 35).

They shot 75% in the second half.

Nelson made seven of eight shots.

Everyone who played shot at least 50% from the field.

"They like to milk the clock and use their defense to try to speed you up," guard Malcolm Lee said. "We were patient and attacked the middle. That got us easy buckets."

Nothing was easy offensively for Oregon State (9-12, 3-6), as the Bruins continued to be zone fanatics.

The Beavers shot 37% for the game against the 2-3 zone defense.

UCLA is 3-1 since adopting the zone full time.

Said Nelson: "We just keep giving ourselves chances."

UCLA closes out Oregon State 62-52
By Jon Gold
The Los Angeles Daily News
January 30, 2010 8:52 PM

The sloppiness started early, early as in the opening tip, if one could even call it an opening tip.

It was more like a scrum, the UCLA and Oregon State men's basketball players falling to the ground, tipping over like soda cans in the wind, the ball grabbed simultaneously, a jump ball after a jump ball.

Five minutes into the teams' matchup at Gill Coliseum on Saturday night, and the clumsy squads combined for eight turnovers and just nine points.

But the Bruins got marginally less sloppy, went on a 22-7 run and ultimately fended off the harried Beavers, 62-52, to finish the first half of Pac-10 play at 5-4.

Facing a trap defense early, UCLA had trouble making the simplest of passes, the easiest of dribbles. Oregon State transitioned into 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone defenses, however, and it cost the Beavers - the Bruins had 16 turnovers in the first 24 minutes, but only four the rest of the way.

"The turnovers in the beginning were all unforced," said UCLA sophomore guard Malcolm Lee, who had nine points. "It was just careless. I don't think they were pressuring us like Oregon did; it was more on our part. How did we clean it up? We just took care of the ball more. Point blank, period. We knew that for the most part they weren't making us turn it over, we were just being careless.
"We just valued the ball more on offense."

Each possession growing more and more important - particularly as Oregon State (9-12, 3-6) turned a six-point halftime deficit into a two-point lead less than five minutes into the second half - the Bruins cleaned up and concentrated on taking high-percentage shots.

The result? Six minutes later UCLA led by eight and 10 minutes later by 13.
Unlike the Bruins' disappointing 71-66 overtime loss to Oregon on Thursday - when they let a 13-point lead disappear and shot just 39.1 percent for the game and 30.3 percent from 3-point range - UCLA hit 23-of-35 shots while holding Oregon State to 37.3 percent shooting.

"We were just being real patient," Lee said. "That zone tries to force turnovers, so we were just picking our spots - when to attack, when to pull it out. That's why although we only shot (35) times, we had a high percentage."

While the Bruins mixed the ball around, three players scoring in double figures, led by freshman forward Reeves Nelson's 14 points, the Beavers seemed eager to let Calvin Haynes take charge.

Perhaps for good reason - Haynes had 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half of Oregon State's 51-45 win over USC on Thursday.

UCLA, though, held Haynes to 16 points on 5-of-20 shooting, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range.

Haynes did, however, bring the Beavers back on Saturday, hitting two 3-pointers and three free throws in the final two minutes as Oregon State closed a 15-point advantage with 1 minutes, 38 seconds left to a six-point gap with 32 seconds left.

"We had some dumb fouls at the end, enabled them to get back in it," said senior guard Michael Roll, who had 11 points. "I think three times we fouled them on jump shots - that stopped the clock and gave them some free throws. But luckily we made most of our free throws down the stretch and they weren't able to get that close."

UCLA made 12-of-15 free throws, temporarily righting a season-long wrong, as the team hit the 80-percent mark for the first time since Game 3 against Pepperdine, and just the second time this season.

The Bruins (10-11, 5-4) made them when they mattered, too; freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining to extend the lead, and Nelson had an emphatic dunk with two seconds left to close out the Beavers.

"I just kind of was tired of the way that last minute-and-a-half went," Nelson said. "The way they were getting fouled, I was kind of upset. I tried to take it out on the rim."

UCLA pulls away late to beat Oregon State 62-52
Silicon Valley Mercury News
The Associated Press
Posted: 01/30/2010 07:15:25 PM PST
Updated: 01/30/2010 08:06:19 PM PST

CORVALLIS, Ore.—A strong shooting night was good enough to overcome a game filled with mistakes for UCLA.

The Bruins committed 20 turnovers but shot 65.7 percent from the field in a 62-52 victory over Oregon State on Saturday night.

UCLA, led by Reeves Nelson's 14 points and 12 rebounds, finally broke the game open with a 12-2 run during a five-minute stretch that put the Bruins ahead 50-37 with 4:57 left.

They led by as many as 14, and Oregon State could get no closer than six.

UCLA (10-11, 5-4 Pac-10) had to work to find openings in the Beavers' 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones.

"We were just being real patient," UCLA guard Malcolm Lee. "That zone just wants to force turnovers. We were just picking our spots."

UCLA shot 23 of 35 from the field, including 15 of 20 in the second half. Oregon State was 19 of 51.

The Bruins weren't as patient in the first half as they were in the second, but they led 24-18 at halftime.

UCLA had 12 turnovers at the break.

The game remained close through the first 15 minutes, with neither team leading by more than three points.

UCLA then went on an 11-2 run to end the half.

Oregon State (9-12, 3-6) quickly erased its six-point halftime deficit, and Joe Burton's layup tied the score at 26 with 17:19 remaining.

The Beavers took their first lead of the second half on Calvin Haynes' basket to make to 30-28.

UCLA answered with six straight points led the rest of the way.

Five Bruins scored during the deciding 12-2 run.

"To be able to win with 20 turnovers was only due to us being able to shoot 65 percent," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Haynes, coming off consecutive 25-point games, was held to 16 points on 5-of-20 shooting. He scored nine of those points in the last 1:17 as Oregon State tried to close the deficit.

"We were well aware of where Calvin was," Lee said of Haynes, who was 3 of 12 from 3-point range. "We knew he was going to put up shots, so we just tried to make it difficult on him."

UCLA's Nikola Dragovic had 13 points, while teammate Michael Roll added 11 points and five assists.

Roeland Schaftenaar had 11 points for Oregon State.

Bruins puts clamps on Haynes
Published: Jan. 30, 2010
Updated: 9:39 p.m.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Everyone throughout the Pac-10 Conference has an idea of what to expect when they're going up against Oregon State.

The Beavers are known for their pressure-style of defense that forces turnovers and essentially makes life miserable for their opponents.

Following UCLA's 62-52 victory over Oregon State on Saturday, the Bruins' defensive scheme, better known as a 2-3 zone, might be developing a reputation that is similar to Oregon State's.

The Bruins held Oregon State to 37.3 percent shooting from the floor. Better yet, they held Calvin Haynes, who scored 25 points against USC two days earlier, to 16 points. Eleven of Haynes' points came in the second half. Nine of those came in the final 1:21, after the Bruins extended their lead to 13 points.

"We did a great job on Haynes," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "He was 5 for 20 and two of his makes were desperation threes late in the game."

Jerime Anderson's return to action — he played 16 minutes — came in handy on two fronts.

The Bruins wanted an extra player in the lineup who could stand up to Oregon State's 1-3-1 zone defense. Additionally, his return allowed Howland to use an eight-man rotation, giving some of his other players a chance to rest.

"Those were 16 minutes that we didn't have on Thursday night, and that was very important," Howland said, referring to UCLA's overtime loss at Oregon. "

Anderson said it felt good to be playing again, after missing the last 31/2 games because of a hip flexor.


Nelson scored 14 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. ... James Keefe played 12 minutes despite having the stomach flu.

UCLA finds winning formula at Oregon State
Published: Jan. 30, 2010
Updated: 11:08 p.m.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - UCLA's 2-3 zone defense turned out to be better than Oregon State's 1-3-1.

The Bruins held the Beavers to 37.3 percent shooting and earned a weekend split with a 62-52 victory over Oregon State on Saturday evening at McGill Coliseum.

The victory helped UCLA rid itself of the bad taste that came in the form of an overtime loss at Oregon on Thursday. It also improved the Bruins' Pac-10 conference record to 5-4 (10-11 overall), while keeping the Beavers in last place (3-6, 9-12).

The Bruins utilized a patient approach — something they haven't been known for — to gain the upper hand against the Beavers' pressure defense. They ended up taking fewer shots than usual (35) but had better looks on most of those attempts. They connected on 15 of their 20 second-half field goals.

"Early in the game we didn't do a good job against their pressure," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

UCLA used a 6-0 run late in the first half to take a 24-18 lead at the intermission but found itself back on its heels during the opening minutes of the second half.

Seth Tarver, Roeland Schaftenaar and Joe Burton contributed to an 8-2 run that erased the Bruins' advantage. A layup by Calvin Haynes with 15:26 left gave the Beavers their last lead.

Reeves Nelson, who came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points, tied the score at 30 with a layup that started a 16-5 UCLA run.

The Bruins extended their lead to 55-40 with 1:38 remaining, only to give most of it back.

Oregon State crept to within six points with 31.3 seconds left before watching UCLA pull away.

"We had some dumb fouls at the end and enabled them to get back into it," said senior Michael Roll (11 points).

UCLA basketball: Bruins sloppy but able to beat Oregon State
By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 30, 2010 | 6:43 pm

UCLA labored throughout Saturday’s game against Oregon State, yet had enough lucid moments to come away with a 62-52 victory at Gill Coliseum.

The Bruins (10-11 overall, 5-4 in Pacific 10 Conference) were generous to a fault, turning the ball over 20 times. But the Beavers (9-12, 3-6), in the end, proved incapable of taking advantage as they shot 39% from the field.

UCLA made six of eight free throws in the final two minutes to clinch the victory.

UCLA opened the second half with three turnovers on its first four possessions. More sloppiness followed.

Oregon State’s Roeland Schaftenaar tried a behind-the-back bounce pass through the key that UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt intercepted. But Honeycutt then bounced the ball to Beavers guard Calvin Haynes for layup for a 30-28 Oregon State lead with 15 minutes left.

From the point the Bruins (10-11 overall, 5-4 in Pacific 10 Conference play) were nearly spotless. They had only three turnovers the remainder of the game and put the Beavers away with a 16-5 run.

The Bruins led, 24-18, at halftime despite having more turnovers (12) than field goals (eight). But Reeves Nelson made his presence felt at the end of a ragged first half. He scored four of the Bruins' last six points, both on strong inside moves. He then blocked Seth Tarver’s shot at the buzzer.

Nelson finished with 14 points, Nikola Dragovic had 13 and Michael Roll added 12.

UCLA puts away Oregon State with late 12-2 run
ESPN Los Angeles
January 30, 2010

Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Reeves Nelson finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds and UCLA used a late 12-2 run to pull away from Oregon State for a 62-52 victory Saturday night.

Nikola Dragovic added 13 points and Michael Roll had 11 for the Bruins (10-11, 5-4 Pac-10), who rebounded from Thursday's loss at Oregon.

Calvin Haynes had a game-high 16 points for the Beavers (9-12, 3-6), and Roeland Schaftenaar added 11.

UCLA led 38-35 before going on a 12-2 run that gave the Bruins a 50-37 lead with 4:57 to play.

Oregon State got no closer than six the rest of the way.

UCLA ended the first half on an 11-2 run to lead 24-18 at halftime.

Malcolm in the middle

Some point blanks for UCLA's Malcolm Lee

Considered an off guard coming from Riverside North High, he appears to still be evolving as a floor leader for the Bruins.

By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 30, 2010

Reporting from Corvallis, Ore. - The guy brought to UCLA to play point guard this season is doing fine.

Jrue Holiday has started the last four games for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The guy who is actually playing point guard for UCLA has had his struggles. Malcolm Lee, considered an off guard coming from Riverside North High, was one for nine shooting in a 71-66 overtime loss to Oregon on Thursday.

With Jerime Anderson injured, Lee has had to handle most of the point guard duties, logging 37 minutes against Oregon's press. The 6-foot-4 Lee will be tested again today when the Bruins (9-11 overall, 4-4 in Pacific 10 Conference play) visit Oregon State (9-11, 3-5).

"They are very aggressive, trapping, trying to get steals," Coach Ben Howland said. "It has caused people problems."

The Bruins would seem primed to have trouble. Lee appears to still be evolving as a floor leader. The blueprint had him as an off guard with Holiday handling the ball.

But Holiday bolted to the NBA after his freshman season. That left Lee, with Anderson injured, as the primary option.

"I think it helps him a lot [to play point]," Howland said when asked if he recruited Lee to be a point guard. "Is he a natural? Russell Westbrook wasn't a natural to begin with. He is in the NBA now, starting at the point."

Lee was not available to talk to the media about his development as a point guard, but Howland's take was that Lee still had to "learn to keep the ball low and keep himself low, because he's going against guys, like last night, who are 5-6 and 6 foot."

Lee did have six assists in the game and turned the ball over only twice. He had six turnovers against Washington State last Saturday.

Anderson is expected to be available after playing only nine minutes in the last three weeks because of a hip flexor injury.

Howland hopes that Anderson can play 10 to 15 minutes.


Howland said that with Anderson returning, guard Michael Roll and forward Nikola Dragovic can get more rest. Both played 44 minutes against Oregon. . . . Center J'mison Morgan (torn quadriceps) did not make the trip, but Howland said he hoped the sophomore would be able to practice Monday. . . . UCLA has been swept in Oregon only five times in the last 45 seasons.

Can Bruins get their mini-groove back? A date with The Beav

Tyler Honeycutt hopes to repeat his double-double performance at Oregon when the Bruins visit Oregon State at 4:35 pm today

Bruins Look to Rebound at Oregon State

UCLA leads the all-time series with Oregon State 85-33 (.720) and is 36-24 (.600) all-time in Corvallis, Ore.

from The Official UCLA Men's Basketball website
Jan. 29, 2010


DATE: Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010
SITE: Gill Coliseum (10,400)
TIP-OFF: 4:35 p.m. (PT)
TELEVISION: Prime Ticket
TALENT: Drew Bontadelli (play-by-play) and Mike Wozniak (analyst)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Tracy Murray (analyst)

Sophomore J'mison Morgan sustained a partially torn (second degree strain) quadriceps in his right leg in practice on Jan. 12, 2010. He is slated to be out for at least one more week and will miss the Bruins' games this week. Sophomore Jerime Anderson has a hip flexor and has missed the last three games against Washington, Washington State and at Oregon. He is a game-time decision for the Oregon State contest.

This is the 119th meeting between UCLA and Oregon State with the Bruins leading the series 85-33 (.720). UCLA is 36-24 (.600) all-time in Corvallis, Ore. The Bruins have won the last nine games by an average of 25.2 points per game (690-463), including the last four in Corvallis by an average of 17.5 points per game (288-218). Last year, the Bruins won their Pac-10 opener at OSU 69-46 on Jan. 2, 2009. Darren Collison scored 16 points and Michael Roll came off the bench to add 16 more to lead the Bruins. Calvin Haynes was the only Beaver to reach double figures, scoring 16 points as well. UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland is 11-3 all-time against the Beavers and 4-2 at Oregon State.

The UCLA Bruins had gone the first 19 games of the season without a double-double and then recorded two in the overtime loss at Oregon on Jan. 28, 2010. Nikola Dragovic had his second career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Tyler Honeycutt posted his first with 13 points and 10 boards. The last time the Bruins had accomplished the double double-double feat was in the NCAA Regional Final win two seasons ago over Xavier on March 29, 2008 when Kevin Love had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 13 points and 13 boards.

Enemy's turn...

Men's Hoops Hosts UCLA in Game to Support Coaches vs. Cancer Share

from The Official Oregon State Men's Basketball website
Jan. 29, 2010



UCLA (9-11, 4-4) at Oregon State (9-11, 3-5), 4:35 PM


Radio: Beaver Sports Radio Network; Mike Parker (play-by-play)

Live Video: None

Live Audio:

Live Stats:

Television: FSN NW; Rich Burk (play-by-play); Lamar Hurd (color)


Oregon State vs. UCLA: UCLA leads 84-34

Corvallis, Ore.: UCLA leads 35-25

Los Angeles, Calif.: UCLA leads 47-7

Neutral: Series tied 2-2

The Oregon State men’s basketball team returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 30, as the Beavers host UCLA at 4:35 p.m. from legendary Gill Coliseum. The game, which will feature the Oregon State and UCLA coaching staffs wearing sneakers for Coaches vs. Cancer to support the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays, will be televised by FSN NW and can be heard over the Beaver Sports Radio Network.

Oregon State enters the contest with a mark of 9-11 on the season, 3-5 in Pac-10 Conference play, after the Beavers rallied to defeat USC, 51-45, on Thursday night. Calvin Haynes tied his career high with 25 points for the Beavers as Oregon State defeated USC in Gill Coliseum for the second consecutive year.

Haynes continues to lead the Oregon State attack as the junior guard enters Saturday’s contest averaging 12.9 points per game. Senior Seth Tarver ranks second on the squad at 10.8 points per game and is the only other Oregon State player averaging in double figures.

Tarver leads the defensive attack for Oregon State, leading the Pac-10 Conference in steals at 2.6 per contest. Oregon State leads the league with 8.1 steals per game as the Beavers rank third in the conference in field goal percentage defense (42.2) and scoring defense (62.2).

UCLA enters Saturday with a 9-11 overall mark, 4-4 in conference play, after the Bruins fell to Oregon in overtime 71-66 on Thursday. Michael Roll leads the way for UCLA at 13.2 points per game as the Bruins have won nine straight in the series and lead the all-time series, 84-34.


UCLA, led by seventh-year head coach Ben Howland, enters the weekend with a mark of 9-11 overall, 4-4 in league play, after the Bruins fell in overtime to Oregon on Thursday.

The Bruins, which feature four players in double figures, are led by Michael Roll, who leads the team at 13.2 points per game. Malcolm Lee ranks second on the squad at 12.9 points per game while Nikola Dragovic ranks third on the squad at 11.4 points per contest.

UCLA is averaging 67.0 points per game while holding opponents to 68.4 points per contest. The Bruins are currently hitting 46.0 percent of their shots from the field and are shooting 33.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Opponents are hitting 44.3 percent of their shots from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the three-point line.


The Oregon State defense has been among the nation’s best as the Beavers have been forcing turnovers and keeping opponents field-goal percentage down through 20 games. Specifically, Oregon State’s 1-3-1 zone defense has received the share of the attention as the guard at the top of the zone, Seth Tarver, is a big reason why.

Tarver leads the way for the Oregon State defense as the senior leads the Pac-10 Conference and ranks No. 15 in the NCAA at 2.6 steals per game. The effort has allowed Oregon State to lead the league at 8.1 steals per game, a mark that currently ranks No. 71 in the nation. Last season, Tarver became the first Oregon State player since Gary Payton in 1989-1990 to lead the league in steals during conference play as the forward averaged 2.0 per game.

When opponents do get shots off against Tarver and the 1-3-1, they have not been able to hit them with consistency. Oregon State ranks third in the league in field goal percentage defense at 42.2 percent and ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (No. 48 NCAA) at 62.2 points per game. The Beavers also rank high in three-point field goal percentage defense as Oregon State ranks second in the league (No. 32 NCAA) at 30.2 percent.


Senior forward Seth Tarver has been one of the leaders of the Oregon State attack since the start of season, averaging 10.8 points and 4.7 rebounds through 20 games. Tarver has reached double figures in 13-of-20 games this season with a season-high of 18 points while recording three assists and three steals in a win over George Washington.

The senior led the Oregon State attack at the “Duel in the Desert” tournament and was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds through the three games.

Tarver currently leads the Pac-10 with 2.6 steals per game and is among the active career leaders in several categories, ranking 11th in career points (872), fourth in rebounds (480) and first in steals (159). The forward also established a single-game career-high with eight assists in a win over Mississippi Valley State.


The leading scorer for Oregon State last season, junior guard Calvin Haynes has shown in recent games why he was a key member of last year’s College Basketball Invitational championship squad. Three times this season (vs. Fresno State, Cal and USC), Haynes has tied his career-high with 25 points. The mark is the most points by an Oregon State player this season.

Haynes has reached double figures in 8-of-11 games and now leads the team in scoring at 12.3 points per contest. The junior guard has been able to consistently hit the outside shot as he ranks fourth in the Pac-10 Conference at 45.0 percent (36-of-80) from behind the three point arc.

UCLA BASKETBALL: Bruins lost their way in Eugene
By Jon Gold, Staff Writer
Wittier Daily News
Posted: 01/29/2010 09:01:58 PM PST

CORVALLIS, Ore. - For 15 minutes on Thursday, everything was going right for the UCLA men's basketball team.

The Bruins held a 13-point lead over the Oregon Ducks at McArthur Court with 5:25 left in the first half after freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt converted a layup, drew the foul and hit the free throw.

Then everything faded to black.

Twenty-nine points in 15 minutes dwindled to two over the next five and a half, and those two came on two Honeycutt free throws with no time left in the half.

Before Oregon eventually clipped the Bruins in overtime, 66-61, it had to close the gap early and did by trimming that 13-point deficit to just three at halftime.

"We saw how the lead dissipated. A bad foul on a 3, a couple quick shots," Howland said. "In basketball it's always about time and score. We're up 29-20 and we jack up a shot with 25 seconds left on the shot clock with a guy in our face.

"We lost a little bit of the focus in what we were doing to get good shots."

Early on, the Bruins were mixing it inside and outside and working against the Ducks' zone defense by getting the ball into the lane and then passing it back out. Oregon seemingly flipped a switch, though, frustrated UCLA into rushed shots and simply threw a wrench into the Bruins offense.

Howland wasn't surprised. His players weren't doing the two most important things to break a zone.

As UCLA faces another zone defense today at Oregon State, with tipoff scheduled for 4:35 p.m., Howland knows the Bruins can't wait as long to right the ship.
"Getting the ball in the high post and dribbling gaps; when we got the ball reversed, we did a very poor job," Howland said. "We only had 15 high-post touches and only 14 times did we dribble a gap. We have to do a better job."

Malcolm in the middle

UCLA sophomore guard Malcolm Lee at times looked particularly harried by Oregon's full-court press, but neither of his two turnovers were forced by the press.

The imposing Lee, moved to the point guard position after sophomore point guard Jerime Anderson went down with a hip flexor - Howland said he expected Anderson to play today - can be a disadvantage at times.

"He's got to learn how to play lower, how to keep his dribble lower," Howland said. "He's going against guys pressing last night who are 5-foot-6, 6-feet tall, and he's 6-5. I think it's going to help him a lot.

"Who's a natural? Russell Westbrook wasn't a natural, and he's in the NBA starting at the point."

Keefing it going

Howland said a major point of concern against Oregon was the post play and the lack of production from senior forward James Keefe, who had just one shot attempt in 16 minutes. Howland said Keefe would remain in the starting lineup but needs to be more of a presence.

"We have to get the ball to James more and get him a chance," Howland said. "There were three or four instances where he was wide open and we weren't feeding the post to him."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bruins get pooped on by Ducks 71-66 OT

UCLA had 7 players play in the game. Malcolm Lee was neglible tonight with 2 pts (1-9 shooting, 0-5, at 3-pt range) altough he had 6 rbds and 6 assists (2 turnovers). But Malcolm needs to step up more. We would have won if he brought his 13 ppg average tonight.

4 players were in double figures (3 with double-doubles), Nikola Dragovic (19 pts,10 rbds), Michael Roll (16 pts, 6 assists), Tyler Honeycutt (13 pts, 10 rbds) and Reeves Nelson (11 pts,7 rbds).

Roll, Nelson and Honeycutt played really well tonight. Drago was on fire earlier on, but cooled down precipitously in the 2nd half. He had several defensive lapses as well.

The 2-3 zone looked good but Oregon really pushed the tempo and were not giving the Bruins enough time to set up the zone.

Well, on to Oregon State to tangle with the Beavers on Saturday.


UCLA basketball: Bruins fall in overtime, 71-66
By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2010 | 10:08 pm

UCLA paid its last visit to McArthur Court to play Oregon. The Bruins will gladly supervise its demolition.

The Ducks scrapped out a 71-66 overtime victory Thursday night after the Bruins blew a 13-point lead in the first half. Matt Humphrey scored E.J. Singler both scored eight points in overtime to give the Bruins one last bad taste of Mac Court.

Singler hit two free throws with seven seconds left to clinch the victory.

Humphrey hit two three-point shots in overtime to keep UCLA at an arm’s length. His first broke a 55-55 tie and his second gave the Ducks a 61-57 lead with 1 minute 56 seconds left. Singler then had a tip-in and a fast-break layup to extend the lead to 65-59.

UCLA last chance came after James Keefe forced a held ball with 14 seconds left, giving possession to the Bruins. But UCLA did not go for a three-pointer trailing 69-66, as Nikola Dragovic was fouled driving to the basket. He missed the front end of a one-and-one.

The Bruins got the game to overtime on Michael Roll’s three-pointer, which tied the score, 55-55, with 10 seconds left.

Tajuan Porter missed a driving, well-defended layup with one second left and the game went to overtime.

The Bruins appeared headed toward a cordial evening in their last visit to McArthur Court. Dragovic made three consecutive three-pointers, part of a 15-2 run that gave UCLA a 24-13 lead.

The Bruins stretched that to 29-16, but then took a sabbatical, going the last 5:24 of the half without a field goal. The Ducks closed the half with a 12-2 run and trailed, 31-28, going into the second half.

UCLA's nap time carried into the second half. The Bruins had one field goal in the first five minutes, which became a 23-5 Oregon run for a 39-34 lead.

Bruins fall in the Pit


UCLA can't hold off Oregon in overtime after Michael Roll's late-three pointer.

By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 29, 2010

Reporting from Eugene, Ore. - UCLA spent one last stressful evening at McArthur Court.

Maybe it wasn't quite like the old days. The Bruins weren't toting the No. 1 ranking into the arena and Oregon has been less "Kamikaze Kids" and more roll over and play dead this season.

But once more, with feeling, there they squared off in an arena where the visitors usually shoot cold, but their locker room is always sauna-hot.

By the time the Ducks scrapped out a 71-66 overtime victory, the Bruins gladly would have agreed to supervise the arena's demolition.

Matt Humphrey and E.J. Singler, both reserves, each scored eight points in overtime after the Bruins' Michael Roll sent the game into the extra period with a three-pointer with 11 seconds left in regulation.

The Bruins had a shot to tie the score with 14 seconds left, trailing 69-66. But Nikola Dracovic went to the hoop instead of looking for a three-pointer. He was fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one.

"The play was for a three, but I saw a guy trailing me," Dragovic said. "I got fouled and I think that was the first time I have ever missed a free throw in the last minute."

Howland said that Dragovic, "could have made it a one-point game and there were 10 seconds left. That's an eternity."

Singler made two free throws with seven seconds left to clinch the victory.

"This place is loud, people are on top of you," Dragovic said. "But . . ."

In that pause was the what-might-have been.

The Bruins appeared headed toward a cordial evening in their last visit to Mac Court. Dragovic made three consecutive three-pointers, part of a 15-2 run that gave UCLA a 24-13 lead.

The Bruins stretched that to 29-16 but then took a sabbatical, going the last 5:24 of the half without a field goal. The Ducks closed the half with a 12-2 run and trailed, 31-28, going into the second half.

UCLA nap time carried into the second half. The Bruins had one field goal in the first five minutes, which became a 23-5 Oregon run for a 39-34 lead.

"I think the lesson we learned tonight was not to let up with the lead," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. "We should have closed out the first half with more of a lead."

The Bruins have dealt with difficult games in McArthur Court before, whether it was Bill Walton's team getting upset in 1974 or Kevin Love being showered with inappropriate comments two seasons ago.

This was another one for the Ducks' scrapbook and another for the Bruins' scrap heap.

The loss left UCLA (9-11 overall, 4-4 in Pacific 10 Conference) one game out of last place in conference. Of course, there are eight conference teams either in last or within one game of last, including the Ducks (11-9, 3-5).

The Bruins situation is precarious, as this started a stretch where they play five of seven games on the road.

"The crowds are very hostile and it seems like every team we play on the road, they shoot better at home," said Roll, who scored 16 points. "You're used to the rims, you're used to the environment, you're more comfortable."

The Bruins shot 39% from the field and were only 10 of 33 against Oregon's 2-3 zone. Point guard Malcolm Lee was one for nine from the field.

"We need to have more of an inside presence," Howland said.

The Bruins were down but not out, not this year.

"I think everyone feels they have a chance to win the conference," UCLA forward James Keefe said. "No one is just going to lay down and lose."

UCLA falls in its final McArthur Court contest
By Jon Gold Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Daily News
Updated: 01/28/2010 11:07:40 PM PST

EUGENE, Ore. - Just as UCLA's starters legs started to go, Oregon's reserves had theirs in reserve.

A pair of backup Ducks - sophomore guard Matthew Humphrey and freshman forward E.J. Singler - proved the difference Thursday night as Oregon defeated the Bruins 71-66 in overtime in UCLA's last visit to McArthur Court.

Humphrey had a pair of crucial 3-pointers and eight total points in the extra period and Singler added all eight of his points in overtime as the Bruins slumped at the end.

Were it not for porous 3-point shooting, UCLA would have run away with it. The Bruins shot 10 for 33 from long range - including 4 of 14 in the second half - as Oregon came back from a huge early deficit.

"I thought most of the 3's we took were pretty much open," said UCLA senior guard Michael Roll, who had 16 points and 4 of 9 3-pointers in a game-high 44 minutes. "There were a few of them at the end of the clock that we had to put up, but I wouldn't say we forced any out there. That's just what the zone gave us."

The Ducks played a paint-clogging 2-3 zone much of the game, clamping down after UCLA (9-11, 4-4 Pacific-10 Conference) jumped to a 24-13 lead. Oregon (11-9, 3-5) closed the gap to three going into the halftime break, and held a small lead for much of the second half until Roll tied the score with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in regulation.

Before giving way to Singler and Humphrey, Ducks guard Tajuan Porter took control early, with nine first-half points.

"I don't think it was me, it was my teammates - we kind of spread them out in the zone," Porter said. "Malcolm Armstead got in the driving gaps, he got the ball in the middle and they kicked them out. I got open shots, and I knocked them down early."

UCLA's guards, though, could not match Porter's scoring.

While Roll had 16 points, sophomore Malcolm Lee and junior Mustafa Abdul-Hamid combined for just five, with Lee scoring only two points on 1-of-9 shooting in 37 minutes.

"Playing point guard did take my scoring a little bit, but that's just all on me - it's not just the position," Lee said. "I've got to learn when to pick my spots when we need a bucket. I needed to score more in this game."

Against the Ducks' aggressive zone defense and full-court trap, Lee simply could not. There was nowhere to go.

Oregon's post players - Jamil Wilson, Jeremy Jacob and Michael Dunigan - denied the paint, and UCLA forwards James Keefe and Reeves Nelson simply could not find any openings.

Keefe made his lone field goal and finished with two points, and Nelson added 11.

"We knew they were going to play that zone, that kind of man-zone like Arizona State," freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt said. "They haven't been using it that long, but it was pretty effective. Better than we expected."

Honeycutt was the lone bright spot for the Bruins, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. But he missed all three of his 3-pointers and Lee missed all five of his.

"I hadn't even noticed that until right now - when you play against a zone you are forced to take outside shots," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

"When you look at the numbers, both Nikola and Mike shot it well from three, and the rest of the guys did not. We need to keep getting the ball inside."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gunslinger Dragovic back on track?

UCLA's Dragovic recovers his shooter's touch
Published: Jan. 27, 2010
Updated: 4:29 p.m.

Patience seems to be paying off for the Bruins' senior forward.

LOS ANGELES -- He doesn't remember the violent war. He can't recall the bomb blasts that rocked homes, took out concrete walls and cracked the street.

Nikola Dragovic's most vivid memory of his childhood in Serbia-Montenegro came when he was about 5 and his father, Vitomir, a professional basketball player, grabbed him from the stands inside a crowded gym and carried him onto the court during halftime.

He clutched a ball twice the size of his head. He rose through the air in his father's arms and heaved the ball at the basket a few feet away.

"That was one of biggest games in Serbia-Montenegro, about 8,000 people were there, and I hit the shot," recalled Dragovic, the UCLA senior forward. "Growing up, everybody was always telling me to be a shooter because my father and uncle were shooters, but that day was the first time I knew what they meant."

Going into Thursday night's game at Oregon, Dragovic leads the Bruins (9-10, 4-3) in Pac-10 scoring, having averaged 13.7 points in the past seven games and reaching double figures in eight of the nine past contests. After an early season slump, he is their shooter again.

His three-point shot is back to having the kind of arc that kindergarteners' can use as a template for their rainbows. His touch has returned. His confidence is steeled.

But even Dragovic knows that his touch can go. He opened his senior season with a handful of bad shooting nights: 2-for-14 (1-for-9 from three-point range) against Cal State Fullerton, 2-for-10 (0-6) against Long Beach State, and what Coach Ben Howland called, "an all-around poor game," in going 0-for-9 against Mississippi State.

Dragovic also realizes, after four years away from home and his family, that few things are consistent. His college life, both on and off the court, has been even less predictable than a Magic 8-Ball.

Will Dragovic continue to play well? Ask again later. Can the young Bruins (9-10, 4-3) rely on him? Reply hazy, try again. Will he get arrested again? Cannot predict now.

What hasn't wavered through the shooting droughts and the two police arrests – one battery case was dropped, the other assault case is still pending -- has been the Bruins who've stood behind him.

"I've had confidence in myself all the time but I'm really appreciative that I've had a coach and team who believes in me and what I can do," Dragovic, 22, said. "These years haven't been easy, with all the adjustments to life, the language, the culture and the problems with the law. I've become a stronger person because of them."

Dragovic arrived in Westwood barely able to speak English. He couldn't understand his teachers in class or Coach Ben Howland's instructions on the court. He had to sit out the first 10 games of his freshman year on an NCAA suspension for unknowingly playing on a Serbian club team on which some of his teammates received money.

He was homesick. He grew sad, isolated and even lost in basketball oblivion before turning to his teammates, particularly his freshman year roommate Russell Westbrook, to learn the language and the culture.

He stopped playing for the Serbia-Montenegro junior national team, which he led to three European championships, to devote himself to offseason Bruin workouts and a rigorous conditioning regimen that trimmed his weight down by 25 pounds. This was a career decision for Dragovic, who grew up a fan of Reggie Miller and Kevin Garnett and who had aspired to play professionally in Greece, Spain or Italy.

But just when life started to get easier for Dragovic at the start of his junior year, he landed in jail for a day, arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery for allegedly pushing his former live-in girlfriend to the ground during an argument. The charges were dropped but the news, which made the Serbian papers, disappointed his family.

Still, his parents supported him. Howland backed him. The coach suspended Dragovic for the 2008-09 season opener, pushed for his progress and inserted him into the starting lineup for the final 21 games of the 2008-09 season.

Howland never lost faith in the 6-foot-9, 216-pound Dragovic, who entered this season as the returning Bruin with the most starts and highest scoring average (9.4 ppg). He believed Dragovic was a talented shooter and a good kid who would become a senior leader to this season's young Bruins.

Howland proved his unwavering support in accompanying Dragovic to turn himself in to police on a assault charge stemming from an Oct. 24 incident outside a Hollywood concert venue. Dragovic, who served a two-game suspension for the altercation, entered a not-guilty plea in the case, which has its next court date on Monday.

"Coach showed me what kind of man he his when he stood behind me, especially the second time," said Dragovic. "He didn't need to but he stood behind me and trusted what I told him. His help meant a lot to me."

Through the early season slump, Howland kept playing Dragovic and told reporters, "I expect him to bounce back. I believe he will."

Howland told Dragovic to stay patient, remain confident, to watch the target not the ball and to focus on all parts of the game. Howland knows Dragovic is his shooter.

And that's all Nikola Dragovic remembers being since he was a child.

UCLA's (one of several) Achilles' heels: FT shooting

Ben Howland is hoping to fix the Bruins' free-throw shooting woes. UCLA has made only 61% of its free throws this season.

Bruins spend time on free throws
By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 27, 2010

UCLA is making a woefully low percentage of its foul shots, a situation Coach Ben Howland aims to improve.

UCLA freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt was one free throw from being done in practice Monday.

"I had made 79 of 99 free throws," Honeycutt said. "I just needed one more and I missed it. So I had to start all over again."

Call it 15 feet to frustration.

If there is a glaring weakness for the UCLA basketball team, it comes when players stand alone, unguarded. The Bruins shoot like Bob Dylan sings these days . . . poorly.

UCLA has made a woeful 61% of its free throws this season, ranking them last in the Pacific 10 Conference and 323rd out of 334 Division I teams.

The question at this point is, can they get better?

"It won't be for lack of trying," Coach Ben Howland said.

UCLA spent Monday focusing considerably on the inability to make free throws, especially at key moments. The Bruins made 16 of 28 free throws Saturday against Washington State and were only 10 for 18 from the line in the last five minutes.

It was hardly an anomaly. UCLA's free-throw percentage has been above 70% in four games this season. They are un-Howland-like numbers. UCLA shot 72% from the line last season and 73% in 2007-08.

The solution?

"Just working at it, working at it, working at it," Howland said. "We have been putting them in different situations in practice, having them do it after they were tired."

"Bigs" (power forwards/centers) had to make 70 of 100 and "smalls" (perimeter players) 80 of 100 during Monday's practice. Coming up short meant starting again.

The problem is that simulating a game situation is difficult.

"You can stand there and just shoot them, and make a lot, but it's different in a game when you have the crowd, you have to score and there is little time left," Honeycutt said. "It's a whole lot different when you're shooting two down by one at the end of a game. You have to try to mentally prepare for that."

Honeycutt is shooting 55% from the line, one of four regular players under 60%. Jerime Anderson is shooting 58%, Reeves Nelson 55% and James Keefe 36%. "I shot free throws better in high school," said Nelson, a freshman. "To be honest, the crowd is not much of a factor. It's all in my brain, like I'm fatigued in my mind."

Porter patter

Howland's biggest concern about facing Oregon on Thursday is the Ducks' 5-foot-6 guard Tajuan Porter, who is averaging 12.5 points per game. The Bruins are now a committed zone team and Porter is a zone-buster. "He's a little guy who is a nightmare for a zone, especially at home," Howland said. "His range is 30 feet."

The Bruins handled Washington State's Klay Thompson, who was five for 17 from the field Saturday. But Porter "is more a penetrator with his size. He can get into gaps easier because he's low to the ground."


This is the last season Oregon will play in creaky, noisy, hostile McArthur Court, so for each game honorary captains are chosen. Oregon's captain will be Greg Ballard, whose number will be retired. UCLA's captain will be Bill Walton, whose last game at McArthur was a 56-51 loss to the Ducks. . . . UCLA's Anderson, who has played only nine minutes the last two weeks (hip flexor injury), practiced a half-hour Monday, but remains questionable for the game.

UCLA is foul from free-throw line
By Jon Gold, Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 01/26/2010 10:22:10 PM PST

Free throws have been anything but easy this season for the UCLA men's basketball team.

In fact, they've been quite costly.

The Bruins rank last in the Pacific-10 Conference in free-throw shooting percentage at a .613 clip, after hitting .724 percent last season.

The foul shooting struggles have left the players and the coaches frustrated, as even extensive work in practice - as much as 200 free throws in a day for some players - has not translated to success in the games.

"I don't have an answer for that, that's not an easy answer," senior forward James Keefe said. "We work on it a lot in practice. I don't think we have bad shooters on this team. A lot of the guys that are missing are confident when they go up to the line. I don't know what it is - I think it's just something that will come around."
It won't get easier in Oregon's notoriously loud McArthur Court.

Keefe and senior guard Michael Roll recall the backboard rumbling in 2005-06, when the undefeated and top-ranked Bruins traveled to Eugene and lost 68-66 to end a 14-game winning streak.

"I know what it's like - it's very hostile," Roll said. "The rim, the backboard were shaking. We're just going to jump out hopefully early, so the crowd isn't after us."

With just three road games so far - UCLA's other 16 have either been at Pauley Pavilion or on a neutral court in Southern California - the crowd isn't to blame, however.

Unfortunately for Howland, he isn't quite sure what is.

"I tell you it's not through lack of trying," Howland said. "We had a couple guys who had to hit 200 yesterday. (Sophomore guard) Malcolm Lee made 45 foul shots in a row. We spent a lot of time free-throw shooting yesterday. We'll spend a lot of time working for it."

The problem hasn't cost the Bruins in their past two games, both wins, over Washington and Washington State.

But, Howland said, it all adds up.

"The percentage is what's the key," Howland said. "Those free throws you miss in the first half are just as important as the ones with five minutes to go. Front ends of one-and-ones hurt you. Some of that also is we're not playing a lot of guys and there's more of a fatigue factor."

Middle of the Pac

Despite a five-game losing streak earlier in the year, disappointing losses to Arizona and Stanford that followed big wins, and a crushing defeat to crosstown rival USC, the Bruins are very much alive in this topsy-turvy season.

At 4-3 in conference play - and 9-10 overall - UCLA is in the thick of the Pac-10 race, with five teams at 4-3, one game behind Cal.

"We're in position, we're in the driver's seat," Keefe said. "We can still make a season out of this. I just think it's up for grabs. When we had that huge losing streak, there was a lot of indifference. Everyone's not happy when you're losing. That was just turmoil. We've got a couple wins, a couple big wins, and I think everyone is realizing we can do something."

Leading the charge

Howland again mentioned the team's willingness to take charges against the Cougars, a point of emphasis in practice that had fallen by the wayside.

Nelson and Keefe each took a charge against Washington State, eliciting an excited reaction from Howland on the sideline.

"I looked over at the bench when I took my charge. He talks about Alfred (Aboya) sometimes, just the toughness, do whatever you can do to make the team win," Nelson said. "But it's not really instinct to want to get run over."

UCLA hits rock bottom

The UCLA Bruins 4-3,9-10 hopes to keep their winning streak alive (currently at 2 wins) as they visit co-Pac-10 cellar dweller Oregon 2-5,10-9 today. Then off to the other bottom-feeder Oregon State 2-5,8-11 on Saturday.

UCLA Travels to Oregon for Final Game in McArthur Court

The Bruins lead the series with the Ducks 81-25 (.764), including a 32-19 (.627) all-time mark in Eugene, Ore.

"Hear ye, hear ye" from The Official UCLA Men's Basketball website

Jan. 27, 2010


DATE: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
SITE: McArthur Court (9,087)
TIP-OFF: 7:36 p.m. (PT)
TELEVISION: FSN and Prime Ticket
TALENT: Barry Tompkins (play-by-play) and Don MacLean (analyst)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Tracy Murray (analyst)

Sophomore J'mison Morgan sustained a partially torn (second degree strain) quadriceps in his right leg in practice on Jan. 12, 2010. He is slated to be out for at least one more week and will miss the Bruins' games this week. Sophomore Jerime Anderson has a hip flexor and has missed the last two games against Washington (Jan. 21) and Washington State (Jan. 23). He is a game-time decision for the Oregon game.

This is the 107th meeting between UCLA and Oregon with the Bruins leading the series 81-25 (.764). UCLA is 32-19 (.627) all-time in Eugene, Ore. The Bruins have won nine of the last 10 games overall and four of the last five in McArthur Court. The last six games in Eugene have all been decided by nine points or less. The Bruins swept the season series Last year, posting an 83-74 win at Oregon on Jan. 4, 2009. Darren Collison had 22 points and nine assists, helping the Bruins race out to a 40-29 lead at halftime. Josh Shipp added 17 points while Alfred Aboya and Nikola Dragovic scored 12 points, respectively, for UCLA. Tajuan Porter scored a game-high 24 points for the Ducks. Joevan Catron chipped in 13 points while LeKendric Longmire added 10 for Oregon. UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland is 10-2 all-time against the Ducks and 4-2 at Oregon.

Up next for UCLA: Thursday vs. Oregon
By Chris Foster
The Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2010

UCLA tonight

When: 7:30.

Where: McArthur Court, Eugene, Ore.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570.

Records: UCLA 9-10, 4-3 in Pacific 10 Conference; Oregon 10-9, 2-5.

Update: The Ducks have lost five consecutive games and have slipped into a tie for last place in the Pac-10. But, of course, UCLA Coach Ben Howland is worried. "They were 10-4 and playing great before that, with two road wins in Washington," Howland said. Still, that 10-4 record was built on the bones of lesser opponents: Winston-Salem State, UC Davis, Montana State. The Ducks are next to last in conference play in field-goal percentage (42%) and three-point field-goal percentage (27%), which bodes well for UCLA's 2-3 zone. Oregon is also last in scoring defense, giving up 79 points per game.

Now, from the Ducks side...again, always more info from the opposing team. UC budgets cuts really taking its toll.

Oregon to Host UCLA, USC this Week
from The Official University of Oregon Men's Basketball website
Release: 01/27/2010

EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon men’s basketball team (10-9, 2-5 Pac-10) will host UCLA and USC this week at McArthur Court in Eugene. The Ducks will battle the Bruins (9-10, 4-3 Pac-10) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (PST), while Saturday’s contest with the Trojans (12-7, 4-3 Pac-10) will begin at 3 p.m.

UCLA leads the series history with Oregon, 79-27, with the Bruins winning both contests a year ago. The Ducks’ last home win over UCLA was a 68-66 thriller on Jan. 6, 2007.

USC leads the all-time series over UO, 60-44, including a pair of victories last season and wins in their last four trips to Eugene. UO’s last home win over USC was a 90-83 result on Dec. 31, 2005.

• TV: Fox Sports Net; Barry Tompkins, play-by-play; Don MacLean, color commentary
• Radio: Oregon Sports Network; Jerry Allen, play-by-play
• Satellite radio: SIRIUS 214, XM 193
• Internet: Links to live streaming audio and statistics at

• TV: OSN on Comcast SportsNet NW; Joe Giansante, play-by-play; Rob Closs, color commentary
• Radio: Oregon Sports Network; Jerry Allen, play-by-play
• Satellite radio: XM 193, SIRIUS 122 (USC call),
• Internet: Links to live streaming audio/video and statistics at Follow UO men’s basketball on twitter @duckbasketball for in-game updates and the latest news on the squad.

Oregon’s Larry Holliday and UCLA’s Bill Walton are the honorary captains for the Ducks-Bruins match-up on Thursday, Jan. 28. Holiday, a Duck from 1969-71, played a key role in UO’s upset of then No. 1 UCLA on February 21, 1970, one of the most memorable games in the history of McArthur Court. Walton, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, earned three consecutive Naismith College Player of the Year awards and was also part of UCLA’s 88-game winning streak.

Greg Ballard, a key member of the Kamikaze Kids who was an all-american selection in his senior season, will have his jersey retired as honorary captain for the USC game. Ballard ranks fourth all-time in school history in scoring (1,829 points) and is the only UO player to have amassed over 1,000 rebounds (1,114 rebounds, 9.7 rpg).

The first 3,500 fans who arrive will receive a commemorative ticket featuring the honorary captains.

In the first half of Oregon’s 95-64 home win over UC Davis Saturday, Nov. 14, senior guard Tajuan Porter set a new school record for career 3-pointers. He passed Orlando Williams (1991-95) who held the previous mark with 282 made 3-pointers in 112 games. Porter has made 317 in 113 games played (317-of-818, .388).

Porter needs 26 more 3-pointers to break the Pac-10 Conference record held by Arizona’s Salim Stoudamire who made 342 career 3-pointers from 2002-05. Next up on the conference list: No. 3 Jason Gardner of Arizona (318, 2000-03). Porter is in reach of the Pac-10’s 3-point field goals attempted record held by Arizona State’s Stevin Smith who took 891 career 3-pointers from 1991-94.

Senior guard Tajuan Porter recently took over ninth place in career scoring at UO (1,623 points in 113 games). Porter is just 22 points shy of moving into sixth place. Stan Love, Fred Jones and Malik Hairston are in a four-way tie for sixth place with 1,644 points (Stan Love, Fred Jones, Malik Hairston). Ron Lee (1972-76) is UO’s all-time leading scorer, recording 2,085 points in 112 career games. If Porter continues to score at his 14.3 ppg clip, he will be on pace to move into fifth place in school history (behind Lee, Luke Jackson, Anthony Taylor and Greg Ballard).

Last season Porter became the 29th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark. Porter reached the milestone in the Ducks 84-77 road win over UC Irvine. He is the 10th player to do so under Ernie Kent, and the fifth player in the last four seasons (Brooks, Malik Hairston, Bryce Taylor, Maarty Leunen) to eclipse the figure under Kent’s direction.

Sophomore center Michael Dunigan is tied for 10th in school history for blocked shots. The 6-10 post from Chicago, Ill., has 53 blocks in just 46 career games. With a 1.1 blocks per game average, Dunigan is on pace (with an assumed 74 games remaining) to become the all-time leader in that category with a projected total of 133. Blair Rasmussen (1981-85) ranks first with 116 blocks in 114 career games.

Senior guard Tajuan Porter ranks 10th in school history with 527 career field goals made (527-of-1337, .394). He recently passed Charlie Warren who made 503 field goals in 80 career games. Next up on that list: No. 9 Fred Jones (1998-02) who made 554 field goals in 125 games. Porter (4.7 FG/g) is projected to finish eighth all-time with 592.

Porter needs just one more steal to jump into Oregon’s top 10 in that statistical category, now with 90 steals in 113 career games. Next on the list: No. 10 Felton Sealey (1977-81) who had 91 steals in 117 games. Porter has averaged 0.8 steals per game, and is projected to finish with 101 steals - good for ninth place at UO.

Oregon has a 9-2 record this season when out-rebounding opponents (1-6 when out-rebounded, 0-1 with even number of rebounds). The Ducks have out-rebounded their opponent and lost on two occasions (at Missouri, UO held a 43-35 rebounding advantage; vs. Arizona State with a 36-27 edge). The Ducks have a 262-185 edge in offensive rebounds through 19 games, with that leading to the UO’s 265-193 advantage over opponents in second-chance points this season.

Three Oregon players rank amongst the top five in the Pac-10 Conference in key statistical categories. Sophomore guard Malcolm Armstead is second in the league in steals (2.1 spg), third in assist to turnover ratio (1.8) and fifth in assists (3.9 apg). Sophomore center Michael Dunigan ranks fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.565, 61-of-108), while ranking fourth in blocks (1.5 bpg). Senior guard Tajuan Porter’s 2.7 made 3-pointers per game ranks him fourth amongst conference performers. Freshman forward E.J. Singler is hitting 83.3 percent of his free throws (30-of-35) which would have him in fourth, but he does not have the minimum number of attempts to register in the standings.

Stanford’s Landry Fields and Jeremy Green combined for 57 points in an 84-69 home win over Oregon last Saturday at Maples Pavilion. The victory improved the Cardinal to 10-9 overall and 4-3 in Pac-10 Conference play. The Ducks dropped to 10-9 overall and 2-5 in league games.

Fields had a career-best 32 points on 9-of-15 shooting and 14-of-19 on free throws. Green was 8-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 on 3-pointers, to finish with 25 points.

The Ducks were led offensively by senior guard Tajuan Porter who went for 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Sophomore guard Malcolm Armstead added 12 points and matched a career-best with four steals. Fellow sophomore Jeremy Jacob came off the bench to score 11 points and add five rebounds.

UCLA expects a different Oregon
Published: Jan. 26, 2010 7:57 p.m.

The Bruins know that Ducks, losers of five in a row, will do anything to end the slump.

LOS ANGELES -- The UCLA basketball team knows what Oregon is going through.

It wasn't too long ago the Bruins had lost five games in a row and were beginning to wonder when, or if, the bleeding was going to stop.

The Bruins ended the skid with a 32-point victory over New Mexico State at Pauley Pavilion.

If the Ducks are going to end their losing streak at five games, they'll have to do it against the Bruins on Thursday at McArthur Court.

"I'm sure they'll come out as hard as they can because it's not good to lose five games," freshman forward Reeves Nelson said. "I'm sure they don't want to make it six. I'm sure it'll be a battle, pretty much like every other game in the Pac-10 this year."

The Ducks should have a distinct home-court advantage.

Oregon played its first basketball game at McArthur Court in 1927. The building is old, fan-friendly and known as one of the loudest venues in which to play.

"It's one of the most exciting places to play, I think," senior forward James Keefe said. "I remember my freshman year, last-minute free throws, the backboard was actually shaking because of the crowd noise. It's an experience. We're going to have to go in there and take a game from them. They're not going to give it up easily."

Adding to the Ducks' hunger is their 0-3 Pac-10 record on their home court this season.

"We're going to definitely get their best shot," Keefe said. "At home, five in a row, they're not happy. They're not happy with their season. They need a win, just like we needed a win in the past. We're going to get their best shot for sure."

Nelson hasn't played in McArthur Court but hopes that the Bruins' Jan. 6 game at Cal was enough to prepare him for what he'll be facing Thursday night.

"We don't expect to go up there for any cupcake win," Nelson said. "We're going to go up there and play as hard as we can."


Nelson was surprised to see UCLA coach Ben Howland show some reaction to a charge he took in last Saturday's victory over Washington State.

Howland has been stressing for his players to take charges and he was finally able to see the Bruins take two charging calls in their latest outing.

"You just have to make a concerted effort to do it in your mind," said Nelson, who quickly reminded the media Tuesday that he had taken a charge earlier this season. "You really have to think about it because it's not really instinct to want to get run over. You just have to do that."


Former UCLA great Bill Walton will be honored before Thursday's game at Oregon.

University officials are inviting back former players who competed at the facility, which is will not be the Ducks' home court after this season.


UCLA's Jerime Anderson (hip flexor) and J'mison Morgan (quadriceps) are not expected to play against Oregon or Oregon State this weekend.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Arron Afflalo has Carmelo Anthony's back

UCLA alum 2005-07 Arron Afflalo had a big night for the Carmelo Anthony-less Denver Nuggets on Monday. Arron started and played for 36:12 and clocked the Charlotte Bobcats with 24 pts (6-7 3-pt), 7 assists, 2 rbds, and 1 steal. The Nuggets beat the Bobcats, 104-93.

Arron started the previous Saturday as well against Darren Collison (UCLA 2006-09)'s New Orleans Hornets. Arron finished with an equally impressive line of 19 pts, 3 rbds, 2 assists and 1 steal. The Nuggets won, 116-110.

Arron is averaging 9 pts, 2.7 rbds and 1.8 assists per game (Efficiency rating: +9.59) this season. Arron stats, courtesy of

Role players come up big as Nuggets top Bobcats
By Michael Kelly, for
Posted Tuesday January 26, 2010 1:36AM

DENVER ( exclusive) -- Carmelo Anthony was out with a sprained left ankle, J.R. Smith's attitude was in question and then Kenyon Martin gets tossed.

The Bobcats couldn't have asked for a better script to beat the Nuggets on Monday, but there was no Hollywood ending for them. Instead, the undercard for the Nuggets stepped up and helped deliver a 104-93 win, the team's seventh straight.

Arron Afflalo, coming off a strong game Saturday, was 6-for-7 from 3-point range. Joey Graham started for Anthony and had 13 points to go along with a solid defensive effort on Gerald Wallace. Malik Allen, who played a total of 16 minutes in the previous eight games, logged 20 after Martin was ejected late in the first half.

The win had coach George Karl feeling proud.

"It was a game for me where Joey, Arron and Malik had a huge opportunity to help us win a game and play above and beyond," Karl said. "The result is we had an easy win because those guys played pretty well everywhere and every opportunity they were in."

The face of the Nuggets is guys like Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin, but Karl knows he can only ride those players so far. To be the championship team they aspire to be the Nuggets need role players to play well, and it happened Monday.

"The thing about this team is if somebody gets hurt we have a lot of guys step up and fill their shoes," Graham said.

Afflalo is a soft-spoken player who has a reputation for defense. The past two games, however, he has been an offensive force. He had 19 points including two big 3-pointers in overtime against New Orleans on Saturday. Monday, he had a career-high 24 points and kept punishing the Bobcats with 3-pointers from the corner.

"I was just trying to find a good rhythm in my shooting," Afflalo said.

Smith hasn't been able to find his rhythm since dropping 41 on Atlanta last month. The fifth-year guard has struggled ever since, and Karl has been critical of his focus and shot selection.

Smith's frustration boiled over Saturday when he played a season-low 12 minutes and was sulking on the bench. Karl called Smith's behavior "eclectic" and the team considered suspending him but decided against it.

In 28 minutes against Charlotte, Smith had 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting. He shot well early but finished 2-for-9 from 3-point range.

"I still wish he'd shoot the ball better, but in general he played with a focus and an intensity that I think he knew it had to be a serious game and he gave us a serious game," Karl said.

Smith didn't address the media but he told the team's website that he is looking forward and "I don't worry about that stuff no more."

Nothing seems to be worrying the Nuggets these days. At 30-14, they're second in the Western Conference and are getting strong play from Billups. Earlier Monday he was named the Western Conference Player of the Week and he responded with 27 points and 11 assists.

"When was the last game Chauncey hasn't been huge?" Karl said. "Talk about an All-Star push. Since he's been back from injury, the numbers he's been putting up and the leadership both offensively and defensively, orchestrating the team, has been incredible."

Billups has scored 20 or more points in six straight games and is averaging 25 points in the last nine games.

"Chauncey can drive the ball, he can post up, he can shoot the three and he makes foul shots," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said.

The Bobcats were ready for Billups to step up but they didn't expect the bench players to have such an impact on the game.

"I would rather play a team when they have everybody than when they have someone out," guard Raymond Felton said. "That's when a team really elevates their game. You are getting a guy's best game when they're missing their top players."

The Nuggets don't know if they'll have Anthony back from his sprained left ankle when they play Houston on Wednesday, but they have other concerns, too. Chris Andersen sprained his left ankle 58 seconds into the fourth period and didn't return. His status for Wednesday is unknown.

Based on Monday's performance the Nuggets shouldn't have much to worry about.

Seattle Times: "Zone diet helps UCLA get healthy"

Zone diet helps UCLA get healthy | Pac-10 basketball
By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter
Originally published January 26, 2010 at 8:44 PM | Page modified January 26, 2010 at 9:03 PM

After a slow start, UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland reluctantly had his Bruins play more zone defense, and it has paid off.

At the same time Ben Howland devised a plan that might salvage UCLA's season, Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times wrote a column speculating on the future of the Bruins' coach.

Things had become so bad in Westwood, an 8-10 start warranted an inspection of the man who guided UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours, three Pac-10 regular-season championships and two conference tourney titles.

Despite the immediate concerns, Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero gave Howland his full support.

"There are few coaches in country in the last five years who have performed at the level that Ben has," Guerrero told Plaschke. "He didn't just forget how to coach."

How prophetic.

Howland, a staunch supporter of man-to-man defense, recognized he didn't have the athletes or the veteran experience to play the type of aggressive defense he preferred, so he reluctantly switched to a zone.

"We're not super athletic (enough) to chase around some of the people in our league," Howland said. "We're playing a couple of freshmen a lot of minutes, and to really play good man defense, there's so much that goes into it.

"The combination of some of the youth that we're playing, along with some of the veterans, I think it's the best fit for us."

In the second half of last Thursday's last-second victory against Washington, the Bruins held the Huskies to 29.6 percent shooting (8 for 27).

UCLA followed that strong defensive effort by shutting down Washington State in a 74-62 win. The Cougars were the top-shooting team in the conference before the game, but shot only 35.6 percent (21 of 59).

Admittedly, Howland was unsure what the switch to a zone would produce.

"The first time we really worked on it, where we actually practiced what we were doing was last week," he said. "I thought they did a great job.

"What's really disappointing is just how slowly I recognized that this is what we need to do for at least part of our defensive scheme is to zone more. I'm disappointed in myself more than anything."

UCLA, which won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 31, moved into a second-place tie in the Pac-10 at 4-3. The Bruins are still under .500 for the season at 9-10.

Howland declined to commit to the zone for the remainder of the season. But after losing six underclassmen to the first round of the NBA draft in the past four years, he admits it's UCLA's best option.

"It is, as long as we're winning," he said.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

UCLA gets into the (2-3) zone, starts knocking down the opposition

UCLA 4-3,9-10 hopes to bring winning ways on the road. The Bruins visit co-Pac-10 cellar dwellers Oregon 2-5,10-9 (Jan 28, Thu) and Oregon State 2-5,8-11 (Jan 30, Sat).

Here are 3 great Daily Bruin articles on the change happening at UCLA.

Taking the lead - UCLA Coach Ben Howland, right, and assistant Scott Garson celebrate as the Bruins pull ahead of Washington State in the second half Saturday afternoon.(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / January 23, 2010)

For once, UCLA men's basketball is dominating

By Sam Allen
The Daily Bruin
Jan. 25, 2010 at 12:51 a.m.

You could feel it when the Pauley Pavilion crowd roared as time wound down in the Bruins’ 74-62 victory over Washington State on Saturday.

There is still some life in this UCLA basketball team.

Yes, this team is 9-10 overall and 4-3 in the Pac-10, and if you choose to compare it to recent teams in the past, this group falls far shorter.

But no one was thinking about those things this weekend, not while UCLA swept the Washington schools and showed some real signs of improvement.

The Bruins delivered their first dominating performance of the Pac-10 season Saturday against Washington State. They controlled the game entirely. At the offensive end, they effectively and consistently distributed quality shots.

The offensive efficiency showed up in the stat sheet. The Bruins played patiently, making 14 of their 19 field goal attempts in the second half. Reeves Nelson scored 19 points, Nikola Dragovic had 18, and Michael Roll finished with 11. Two others, Malcolm Lee and Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, finished with nine.

The UCLA defense was even more impressive. In the second game in which the Bruins featured a zone defense, they held the Cougars to 36 percent (21-59) from the field. Klay Thompson, who entered the game as the fourth leading scorer in college basketball with 22.8 ppg, was held to only 13 points on 5-17 shooting.

Howland said it was “poor coaching” to not recognize that this team needed to play a zone sooner. Now that they’ve made the switch, it’s paying big dividends. Washington State looked helpless, Thompson couldn’t find anything.

This all comes after a season-changing moment Thursday, when Abdul-Hamid sank a buzzer-beater to beat Washington, 62-61.

Clearly, the Bruins are riding momentum from that win over the Huskies, who were picked to win the Pac-10 this preseason.

Abdul-Hamid had another solid day, again providing a spark of energy for UCLA. The team’s freshmen also played confidently. Reeves Nelson tallied seven rebounds in addition to his 19 points and made seven of his 12 free throw tries. Freshman Tyler Honeycutt had eight points and eight rebounds.

And you could see the buzz on Howland’s face and in his demeanor.

The coach was flying around the court; when his players took charges, Howland leaped out toward halfcourt, clapping in his trademark, shoulder-hunched style.

“I would have jumped through the roof if I could,” Howland said. “I just love to see those guys take charges.”

Howland truly hates losing. I think people lose sight of that amid all the criticism Howland has received this year. They start to forget that Howland is one of the most intense college basketball coaches imaginable.

Abdul-Hamid tells me that Howland is more intense than anyone he’s ever met in basketball – player or coach.

We saw a bit of that Saturday, in what was probably Howland’s best coaching job of the season. Howland was fired up, and his team responded.

The question now is, can the Bruins sustain it?

They now have a golden opportunity, a rare gift from the Pac-10 schedule makers: a trip to Oregon to face the two worst teams in the conference, Oregon and Oregon State.

These won’t be automatic victories, but the Bruins have a definite chance to sweep the road trip, push their win streak to four games, and move to 6-3 in the Pac-10.

It’s hard to see any further into the distance in this crazy conference season, but there’s still a conceivable route for the Bruins to get into the NCAA tournament – if they peak in February and March and streak to a Pac-10 tournament title.

So I guess it’s fair to say one thing for sure – don’t give up on the Bruins just yet.

Patience key to Bruins’ victories
By Andrew Howard
The Daily Bruin
Jan. 25, 2010 at 12:55 a.m.

Patience on offense.

It’s something that UCLA men’s basketball coach Ben Howland has been preaching to his young team all season long and an aspect the Bruins have struggled with.

In losses to Stanford and USC, Howland lamented how his team had a tendency to force shots early in the shot clock, resulting in low shooting percentages and poor offensive performances.

Yet in the Bruins’ two huge wins this weekend, that patience Howland has implored his players to have was clearly evident.

“We did a good job again for the second game in a row. Something I’ve been talking about a lot is being patient on offense,” Howland said.

In Saturday’s 74-62 win over Washington State in front of 8,349 at Pauley Pavilion, the patience came in the form of the Bruins taking just 19 shots in the second half and making 14 of them.

Senior forward Nikola Dragovic provided a perfect example of the type of offensive play Howland wants from the Bruins.

After struggling from the field in the first half of Saturday’s game, Dragovic rebounded in the second, making five of eight shots, including three of four from 3-point territory. Two of his 3-pointers were part of an 11-0 run that pushed UCLA’s lead from four points to 15 and put the game out of reach.

“Coach told me over the past couple weeks that I need to be patient and wait for the ball and wait for it to come to me,” said Dragovic, who finished with 18 points. “That’s what I did in the second half.”

Asked what the difference was in the second half, when the Bruins turned a three-point lead at halftime into a 12-point win, freshman forward Reeves Nelson was quick to the point.

“Nik started making shots,” said Nelson, who led the Bruins in points for the second consecutive game with 19.

Dragovic said that despite the ups and downs of shooting the ball so far this season, he has remained confident in his ability to make shots.

“As any shooter, I keep believing in myself, coach believes in myself, my teammates believe in me,” Dragovic said. “I just kept working and getting some extra shots in.”

Abdul-Hamid important to Bruins’ chemistry

The loud ovations began during the customary “Roll Call” by The Den and continued every time he entered the game.

It was quite a weekend for redshirt junior guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid. The former walk-on shot himself from seldom-used bench player to hero with a game-winning jumper to beat Washington on Thursday.

On Saturday, Abdul-Hamid continued his strong play with eight points on three-of-five shooting in 18 minutes.

At the postgame press conference, Howland said that after back-to-back wins, he believes the team is beginning to come together as a unit and that Abdul-Hamid has played a crucial role.

“I think Mustafa’s come in and really, really played well in these last two games,” Howland said. “He’s definitely earning his keep here now as we move forward.”

For Abdul-Hamid, the most important aspect of this weekend wasn’t the game-winning shot that was the top play on SportsCenter or his increased playing time, but the fact that the Bruins may be starting to turn the corner.

“It feels good more than anything to win two games in a row,” Abdul-Hamid said.

Bruins take charges

Howland was ecstatic, walking out toward mid-court emphatically clapping his hands.

The reason for Howland’s reaction?

A charge taken by senior forward James Keefe.

For Howland, a coach who appreciates defense above anything else, seeing his players take charges stood out clearly.

“Probably the greatest thing of the whole day, beyond the win, is to see James Keefe and Reeves Nelson step up and take charges,” Howland said. “I’m telling you right now, we haven’t done that very well in the last month of these games. That is so big. I would have jumped through the roof if I could.”


The win was the Bruins’ first win on a Saturday this season. The team had lost its previous five Saturday games. ... UCLA improved to 7-0 this season when leading or tied at halftime.

Momentum of men's basketball picks up after two consecutive Pac-10 wins

Improved defense, efficient offense help men’s basketball sweep Washington schools

By Eli Smukler
The Daily Bruin
Jan. 25, 2010 at 1:06 a.m.

There’s a new feeling making the rounds in Pauley Pavilion’s home locker room. It’s called momentum, and it’s a powerful force.

UCLA (9-10, 4-3 Pac-10) never trailed Washington State (14-6, 4-4 Pac-10) in its largest Pac-10 win of the year, a methodical 74-62 victory at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. With their win over Washington on Thursday night, the Bruins have two consecutive conference wins for the first time this season and stand at second place in the up-for-grabs league standings.

After Thursday night’s dramatic buzzer-beating win over defending conference champion Washington, UCLA was looking to ride out the wave of emotion through the weekend.

“A lot of guys were still hyped off that game,” starting freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt said.

Despite using just seven players, the team’s energy was clearly visible in an improved zone defense and efficient offensive rotation, which led to open shots for the team’s primary shooters.

“Our team has to play exactly how we’re playing right now to have success,” coach Ben Howland said.

Freshman forward Reeves Nelson came off the bench to lead the Bruins with 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half, when UCLA finally pulled away from its opponent. As a team, the Bruins made 14 of their 19 shots after the break.

Senior forward Nikola Dragovic, who hadn’t made a 3-pointer in the first two games of the home stand, single-handedly raised the arena volume level in the second half with multiple crowd-pleasing shots from long range. He finished the game with 18 points on 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Bruins stayed in the 2-3 zone that has worked for them in all four of their conference wins and that helped to hold the Cougars to a 35.6 percent shooting average on the day, a season low for UCLA opponents.

“We’ve been practicing it more, especially last week,” Dragovic said of the defensive scheme. “I think we’re a lot more comfortable in it right now.”

Cougar freshman guard Reggie Moore was the exception; he took over his team’s scoring duties for the second straight game, nailing 6-of-10 3-pointers to finish with 24 points.

Washington State’s sophomore guard Klay Thompson, the conference’s leading scorer averaging more than 22 points a game, appeared frustrated at times, making just five of a game-high 17 field goal attempts to finish with 13 points.

Honeycutt completed an all-around impressive weekend, totaling 18 points on nine-for-10 shooting, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and four steals over the two games. Howland attributed Honeycutt’s play under the basket on defense to better numbers on the boards.

“He’s a long, active pogo stick that goes up ... and gets rebounds,” Howland said. “Being down there along the baseline a lot because of where he’s stationed in our zone really has helped us be a better rebounding team.”

Redshirt junior guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, who nailed the game-winning shot against the Huskies on Thursday night, was given a warm welcome by the Pauley fans when he came off the bench in the first half.

He didn’t disappoint the home crowd, giving the Bruins eight straight points in two minutes in the first half with three deep jump shots to beat the rotation of Washington State’s zone defense.

“Mustafa gave us a big lift off the bench,” Howland said.

Washington State, who came back to beat USC at the Galen Center on Thursday night, has now split each of its Pac-10 weekend sets this year going into its rivalry game against Washington next Saturday.

UCLA now heads to Oregon in an attempt to continue its winning streak against the bottom two teams in the conference.