Freshman point forward Kyle Anderson will be a game-time decision for UCLA’s Thursday night game against James Madison. He was tested Wednesday after injuring his hand Tuesday night; preliminary results from an X-ray were negative, and an MRI indicated a bone contusion.
Anderson left briefly in the first half of the 80-79 overtime win over UC Irvine after he dove for a loose ball and landed on his right hand. Bruins head coach Ben Howland said that in watching film, he noticed that Anderson tripped over a cameraman’s foot on the baseline. Unlike photographers, the cameraman shot video was permitted to position himself closer to the court.
“I don’t like that rule at this point,” Howland said. “That’s not a UCLA rule, that’s a conference rule.”
Anderson shot just 2 of 7 from the free throw line against the Anteaters.
Junior guard Tyler Lamb, who is recovering from knee surgery, is also a game-time decision for Thursday’s tipoff against JMU.
— Four-star recruit Zach LaVine, who committed to UCLA in June, has officially signed his letter of intent. The 6-foot-4 combo guard out of Washington’s Bothell High is expected to play more of a shooting guard role next year, although Larry Drew’s graduation and Anderson’s potential departure for the NBA draft leaves a gap at the one spot.
“He is going to be a very good player,” Howland said. “Can really shoot it. … He’s got a lot of upside. He went from 6 feet going into his junior year and is now about 6-foot-4 going into his senior year.”
— Although the Bruins held UC Irvine to 39.7 percent from the field, their defensive performance was still a patchwork affair. The Anteaters shot 10 of 22 from beyond the arc, including two in the final three minutes that gave them a two-point lead. If it weren’t for Jordan Adam’s late free throws — and UCI’s subsequent missed free throws — UCLA likely would have lost in regulation.
“Our sense of urgency on defense was not great,” Howland said. “You could see the freshmen are all learning stuff for the first time. That last 3-point shot by (Michael) Wilder, Jordan had no clue. That guy was curling around and got a wide open three. These freshmen are going to make a lot of mistakes defensively. Kyle’s trying to learn how to play defense at this level for this first time. Everybody made mistakes.”
— The Bruins were outrebounded 51-39 Tuesday night, and were beat 16-8 on the offensive boards.
“Norman (Powell) continues to leak out on the shot like we’ve got Patrick Ewing down there rebounding for us,” Howland said. “That’s not the case. There was a lot of scramble situations. They beat us to a lot of those. Again, credit Irvine.”