Travis Wear is playing his best basketball of the season.
It’s not the first time he’s ever had five straight double-digit scoring efforts — he did the same last January — but his 16.6 point average over that stretch has often come during UCLA dry spells. Against Utah last Thursday, he scored eight of his team’s final 13 points. At Colorado less than two days later, the 6-foot-10 forward scored nine straight for the Bruins in the second half.
The five games prior to UCLA’s upset of Missouri, Wear averaged 7.2 points on 41.7 percent shooting. He said he hasn’t made adjustments to his shot in practice.
“I really didn’t like how I was playing individually a few games ago — six, five games ago,” he said. “I think I’ve just really focused on being more aggressive, playing with confidence. …
“I thought I was passing up some stuff (before). I thought I was second-guessing myself a little bit.”
Asked why he thought Wear hasn’t played at this level all season, head coach Ben Howland said: “He played really good for us at times early in the season. Against UNLV in our (preseason) scrimmage that was closed to you guys, he was dominant. I’m not dwelling on what happened in the past. We’re happy about how he’s playing right now.”
Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie called Wear the best player on the floor after the Bruins won 78-75 Saturday, but the UCLA forward hasn’t noticed teams defending him any differently. Until they do, he said he’s happy to keep taking those mid-range jumpers.
His 57 percent shooting from the field will probably regress — he’s at 51.1 for his career — but Wear should hit double-digit scoring again this Thursday at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon State ranks last in the Pac-12 in both scoring defense (69.4 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (.419). Wear also expects to find open spots against the Beavers’ zone defense.
“I’ll just move to an open spot,” he said. “With Larry (Drew II) being able to drive in and create, and Kyle (Anderson) being the same way, it just helps with getting easy shots.”