UCLA’s last two victories have been as dramatic as they come.
The latest came Thursday, when Mustafa Abdul-Hamid hit a shot at the buzzer to give the Bruins a one-point win over visiting Washington. In an act that has quickly drawn criticism, some students even dared to storm the floor. It was that kind of moment.
No word on what UCLA students would have done earlier this month had Michael Roll’s clutch, game-winning jumper in overtime against California come at Pauley Pavilion.
But thanks to a lackluster effort at Stanford three days later, whatever momentum Roll had given the Bruins dissolved.
“One thing that we really can’t do is go into (today’s) game thinking we’re going to win,” Tyler Honeycutt said.
Stanford’s Jeremy Green and Landry Fields combined for 46 points to overpower the Bruins in Palo Alto. Today, sophomore guard Malcolm Lee will have the task of containing Washington State’s Klay Thompson, who is perhaps the most explosive scorer in the conference. Thompson -- the son of former Los Angeles Lakers forward Mychal Thompson -- leads the Pac-10 with 23 points per game.
“Washington State has great shooters,” Honeycutt said. “They shoot better than Washington. We’ve got to come in with the same focus and not take them lightly.”
The 2-3 zone didn't work against Green and Fields, so it’s unclear whether coach Ben Howland will implement the same defensive scheme in an attempt to slow down Thompson. Howland also has to worry about guard Reggie Moore, whose 21 points led the Cougars (14-5, 4-3) to a come-from-behind win over USC on Thursday.
“Against the zone, you’re going to get some open shots,” Howland said.
Reeves Nelson thinks UCLA has to worry about itself first.
“We just need to take another big step,” he said.