UCLA moved to 2-0 Tuesday night, easily dispatching Oakland University 91-60. The Bruins ended the first half on a 27-9 run, then stretched out another 18-2 run midway through the second half.
Sophomore center Tony Parker set new career highs with 21 points and 12 rebounds, crushing his previous bests of 12 and five. After playing just 20 minutes due to foul trouble in last week’s season opener, he said he made an emphasis to keep his hands up. He also added three blocks through 34 minutes.
“I just try to do my dirty work early,” he said of his offensive performance. “Get in position early. … It was hard to box me out. I just kept crashing.”
Norman Powell also had a nice game, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He flushed in a pair of impressive alley-oops, both assisted by freshman Bryce Alford.
“If you throw the ball up near the rim, I’ll go get it,” the junior guard said. “I’ll finish it for you 9 out of 10 times.”
Still recovering from an appendectomy, UCLA forward Travis Wear could return by the Bruins’ Nov. 18 home game against Sacramento State.
Wear was hospitalized on Oct. 28 when he started feeling pain in his abdomen. UCLA is hurting for frontcourt depth right now, with just David Wear — Travis’ twin brother — and sophomore Tony Parker available as big men. In their season-opening win against Drexel, the pair combined for 20 points and 11 rebounds. Parker played only 20 minutes after picking up three quick fouls.
Freshman forward Wanaah Bail (knee) is also sidelined for approximately another two weeks.
UCLA opened the season with a narrow 72-67 win over Drexel, sprinkling some good moments of transition offense in with uneven defense. Coach Steve Alford was generally positive afterward, and maintained that the problems he saw were very fixable.
“You either win that opener or you lose that opener,” he said, “and winning the opener feels a lot better than losing.”
Q: The Bruins usually tank in Arizona. What’s your take on how the trip may turn out this Saturday? Do the young guys know about the team’s history playing in Tucson? Has there been any extra motivation and focus this week for the trip in light of what happened in 2011 with the blowout loss and bench-clearing brawl that was the beginning of the end of the Neuheisel era?
I think they’ll come out on top this Saturday, though it could end up a close one. They match up well against Arizona, but the Wildcats will be able to set up the run a lot more than it did last year as long as it doesn’t fall into a huge early hole. None of the players are even much acknowledging last year’s game let alone the 2011, at least publicly. I think too many just weren’t around then for that to have a significant impact. The recent losses at Stanford and Oregon probably weigh more heavily in terms of motivation.
Q: Is Marcus Rios just going to take a medical redshirt year at this point? Continue reading →
» A fight between Cal running back Fabiano Hale and an unnamed player sent the former to the hospital last Friday. University police know who the suspect is, but have not disclosed his name and did not say whether charges will be filed. Hale is now home recovering from a concussion, and does not remember being taken to the hospital.
A source told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Hunter Hewitt that coaches asked players to “deal with” Hale for oversleeping a practice, and that it took two hours for his parents to be notified that he was in the hospital. Cal disputed those allegations.
» At an average price of $183, tickets to Stanford’s home game against Oregon on Thursday could be the most expensive ever in program history.
Another exhibition game, another 30-point win. Lifted by a pair of strong sophomore showings Monday night, UCLA easily dispatched Cal State San Marcos, 109-79.
Kyle Anderson, entrusted with more ball-handling duties his second year, stuffed the box score: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists. He also hit both his attempts from beyond the arc, where he struggled a year ago with a 21.1 percent conversion rate. Continue reading →
The limbo ended, but not in the way UCLA had hoped.
Five-star guard Isaac Hamilton’s appeal to play immediately has been denied, the school announced Thursday. The former St. John Bosco standout will sit out the 2013-14 season and play the following year as a sophomore.
Originally signed with UTEP, Hamilton broke his national letter of intent and instead enrolled at UCLA. He loses a year of eligibility for reneging on his NLI, but is allowed to continue practicing with the team. Continue reading →