Weekly Q&A — 3/9/13 Answers

Q: How do celebrities (e.g. NBA players) get courtside seats at Pauley Pavilion?

UCLA holds back courtside seats for donors, recruits, etc., with the number varying depending on the overall demand of that game. The seats are usually free, but sometimes the school will charge if — for example — an NBA player calls up at the last minute. Broadcasters (CBS, ESPN) typically reserve seats for on-air talent, who then use them however they see fit.

Q: Has there been any mention of Larry Drew II as an NBA prospect? Not that he’s first-round material by any stretch, but he looks the part of a solid young PG coming off the bench on the right NBA team. Also, who else is slated to play the point next year besides Kyle Anderson? Continue reading

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Bruins win outright Pac-12 title

UCLA has won the Pac-12 regular season championship for the first time since 2008.

The Bruins clinched a share of the title with a 61-54 win over turnover-prone Washington, their first road victory over the Huskies since 2004. A few minutes later, Utah finished off Oregon with a 10-point win in Salt Lake City, leaving UCLA alone at the top of the conference. Continue reading

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Drew claims UCLA’s single-season assist record

Nearing the end of his lone season at UCLA, senior point guard Larry Drew II carved a place at the top of the program’s record books. The North Carolina transfer set a new single-season assist record with his fourth on Saturday against, feeding the ball upcourt to forward David Wear for an open dunk at 13:10 in the second half. He broke Pooh Richardson’s old mark of 236, set in 1989.

Drew entered the game ranked third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.38) and assists per game (7.8).

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UCLA at Washington: Halftime update

Washington holds a 31-30 lead at halftime, but UCLA surprisingly holds a 20-16 edge on the boards. Another anomaly? Point guard Larry Drew II only has one dime for the Bruins, who are very much in this game despite five assists against seven turnovers. Forward Travis Wear’s right foot looks healed and he leads the game with 10 points.

UCLA is only shooting 1 of 6 from 3-point range, but the Huskies are just 2 of 6 at the free throw line.

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UCLA at Washington: What to Watch

No. 23 UCLA (22-8, 12-5) at Washington (17-13, 9-8)
Tipoff:
11 a.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion
TV/Radio: CBS/AM 570

At a glance: If UCLA wins, it will clinch a share of the Pac-12 championship and get either the No. 1 or 2 seed in the Pac-12 tourney (depending on whether Oregon wins or loses at Utah).

The Bruins haven’t beaten Washington on the road since 2004, but Hec Ed hasn’t been as intimidating as usual this year. Six teams, including three outside the top 150 in RPI, have won there by an average of eight points. The Huskies hadn’t lost more than two games at home in a season since 2007-08. Continue reading

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UCLA at WSU: Halftime update

The night couldn’t have started worse for No. 23 UCLA, which is lucky to be down just 35-24 to Washington State at halftime.

The Bruins opened the game 1 of 10 from the field while playing some porous defense against the conference’s worst team. WSU used a matchup zone to keep UCLA from getting its second field goal until almost 10 minutes had elapsed. Even without its No. 2 and No. 3 scorers — Mike Ladd (thumb knee) and DaVonte Lacy (knee) — the Cougars ran out a 25-4 lead with eight minutes to go. Continue reading

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UCLA at WSU: What to Watch

UCLA (22-7, 12-4) at Washington State (11-18, 2-14)
Tipoff:
6:30 p.m., Beasley Coliseum
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/AM 570

At a glance: A loss in Pullman would be inexcusable for a conference contender. Washington State hasn’t beaten UCLA in Pullman since February 1993, seven months before any of the Bruins’ four freshmen were born.

WSU has lost nine straight games, and 11 of its past 12. No other team in the conference has lost more than five in a row all season. The Cougars aren’t trending up either. Since one-point losses at home to both Oregon and Oregon State, they’ve lost their last three by an average of 11 points — allowing opponents to shoot 52.9 percent from the field over that stretch. Most comically, they’ve had 14.3 percent of their shots blocked, the worst mark in the country. Continue reading

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Howland softens comment on Shabazz’s NBA future

Ben Howland didn’t see what the fuss was all about.

The UCLA coach had presumed that Shabazz Muhammad’s entry into the NBA Draft was practically common knowledge. So when the media asked if the Bruins’ star freshman had played his final game at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Howland said yes.

On Monday, he clarified that he hadn’t received the information from Muhammad and apologized for speaking out of turn — while suggesting that a player of that caliber would still be better off going pro.

“I’m sometimes too honest,” Howland said. “It would have been better to answer that question differently the other day. I’ve never discussed it with Shabazz. It’s kind of obvious when a kid’s a lottery pick that they’re going to the NBA in this day and age. … Continue reading

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UCLA 74, Arizona 69: Extra notes

UCLA earned itself a solid 74-69 victory against Arizona Saturday night, a convincing win that keeps the Bruins controlling a share of the Pac-12 lead (game story here). The Bruins also clinched a first-round bye in the conference tournament, and will finish no lower than a third seed. Look for them to finally be ranked again for the first time since January.

Some notes: Continue reading

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Howland on Shabazz: ‘This was his last game at Pauley Pavilion’

Ever since his hype as the nation’s top recruit, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been almost universally regarded as a one-and-done — bound for the NBA Draft after his spending a season showing off his wares in college.

After the Bruins beat Arizona 74-69 in their last home game of the season, coach Ben Howland said he expected that to still hold true.

“I’m very much a realist now,” Howland said. “I knew going into this that it was a one-year deal. And it should be. He’s a lottery pick. He’s a top-five pick. When you have that going for you, it is absolutely the right thing for him. That was his last game at Pauley Pavilion, no doubt about it. Continue reading

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