UCLA’s already slim chances at catching Arizona for the Pac-12 lead may have just disappeared.
The team suspended leading scorers Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson one game each for a violation of team rules. They will sit out when the Bruins tip off against Oregon at 8 p.m. tonight. The pair combines to average 32.1 points — over a third of the squad’s total output — as well as 14.2 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 4.6 steals.
The Ducks have the conference’s second-highest scoring offense behind UCLA, and lost their prior matchup in Eugene by just two points. With four games left in the regular season, the Bruins sit 2.5 games behind the Wildcats for first place.
Likely in line for their first career starts are freshman guards Zach LaVine and Bryce Alford. LaVine scored 14 points at Stanford last Saturday, his first double-digit effort in nearly a month, while Alford has averaged 7.8 points and 2.3 assists in his last eight games.
Kyle Anderson made another cut for a national award on Thursday morning, becoming one of 15 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
The UCLA point guard is one of two representatives from the Pac-12, joining Arizona guard Nick Johnson. Anderson and UConn’s Shabazz Napier are the only finalists to also make the midseason watch lists for the Wooden, Naismith and Bob Cousy Awards. Napier is averaging 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists to Anderson’s 14.9, 8.6, and 6.9.
UCLA big man Tony Parker’s 13-point outing at Stanford last Saturday was his best offensive showing in nearly a month. It also included just one foul — his first game with less than two since Nov. 24. It’s part of a small but not insignificant trend.
Through his first seven Pac-12 games as a sophomore, Parker committed 9.26 fouls per 40 minutes. Continue reading →
STANFORD, Calif. — With just over a minute left, the UCLA defense broke down again. Josh Huestis, left all alone, flushed in an emphatic two-handed dunk.
Some 30 second later, the forward snuffed out the Bruins hopes again — this time by blocking Kyle Anderson at top of the arc. Maples Pavilion rose to its feet, cheering an 83-74 victory that never felt all that difficult.
UCLA’s window for catching Pac-12 leader Arizona got a little bit smaller as they filed another deflating road performance. Continue reading →
BERKELEY, Calif. — For a moment in UCLA’s 86-66 win Wednesday night, Cal breathed in hope.
With less than four minutes left until halftime, senior point guard Justin Cobbs hit a running floater against heavy contact. He pumped his fist, and headed to the line. He hit the free throw.
What had been a double-digit Bruin lead less than three minutes ago was cut to four.
It would be Cobbs’ only field goal of the first half. He missed an 18-footer on the Bears’ next possession, and UCLA unleashed a 7-0 run in 88 seconds. The Bruins walked into the locker room with a commanding 44-32 lead, and never felt threatened again through the remaining 20 minutes.
Powered by Jordan Adams’ game-high 28 points, UCLA led by as much as 27 and never by less than nine after the break. Continue reading →
No. 23 UCLA (20-5, 9-3) at Cal (17-8, 8-4)
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion TV: Pac-12 Networks (JB Long, Don MacLean, Ashley Adamson) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
No. 1: Which Cal team will show up? The Bears may be the Pac-12′s most perplexing team. They gave USC its lone Pac-12 victory after winning five straight to start conference play, only to turn around 10 days later and knocked off undefeated Arizona. They then proceeded to lose to Stanford at home by 11 points.
Cal is trending up a bit again with dominant road win at Washington, but the Huskies are on track for their worst record in six years. The Bears do score 59.1 percent of their points on 2-pointers — the second-highest mark in the league — so they’ll need 6-foot-10 forward Richard Solomon to establish himself inside and the rest of the team’s jumpers to fall. In eight losses this season, Cal shot 40.8 percent from the field, down nearly six from their season average.
On paper, UCLA enters tonight with the clear edge. The Bruins have suffered lapses this season, but that’s happened most often on the back end of road trips. Even if they get off to a slow start, they’ve proven that they can flip the switch coming out of halftime.
No. 2: Cal’s fifth starter. The Bears haven’t found a consistent contributor to finish out its first-string unit, with Jordan Mathews, Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow getting 12, nine and seven starts, respectively. Injuries to Bird and Kreklow disrupted the lineup for weeks, but the former has seen the court just 29 minutes in his past three games — hardly building off his 12-point second half against UCLA. Continue reading →