UCLA breezes past Prairie View A&M in 24-point blowout

— UCLA handled Prairie View A&M with ease in Saturday’s 95-71 win, running out a 20-point lead late in the first half and stretching it to as much as 34 in the second. The main story of the night, though, was Travis Wear’s return to the starting lineup.

Following his appendectomy in late October, the senior forward has looked rusty early on, going without a field goal in his past two games. Originally penciled in as a starter alongside twin brother David before the season, he told Alford he was fine with a reserve role. Continue reading “UCLA breezes past Prairie View A&M in 24-point blowout” »

Basketball notes: Bruins focusing on finals

— Head coach Steve Alford said UCLA has yet to really scout Prairie View A&M leading up to Saturday’s 5 p.m. tipoff. The Bruins have been solely focused on finals week.

Ranked No. 324 in the country on kenpom.com, the Panthers are almost certainly the weakest team on UCLA’s schedule. They lost 95-53 in last year’s visit to Pauley Pavilion. Continue reading “Basketball notes: Bruins focusing on finals” »

UCLA 95, Prairie View A&M 53: Shabazz’s career highs

The most encouraging part of UCLA’s runaway win over Prairie View was Shabazz Muhammad’s best performance of the season.

No, the competition wasn’t top-notch, even if head coach Ben Howland tried to talk up how worried he was about this game. But by both the eye test and the box score, Muhammad looked like a different player than he has most of the season. His 25 points and four assists were both career highs, the latter doubling his season total. (Stunning that Shabazz only had four assists on the season before Saturday. His ability to create was one of his weaknesses coming out of high school, but four?)

“I’m starting to get a lot more confident. … I’m feeling real comfortable with my game,” he said.

On defense, the Bruins man defense worked OK as UCLA allowed just 29.4 percent Continue reading “UCLA 95, Prairie View A&M 53: Shabazz’s career highs” »