UCLA: Jared Cunningham

Video: UCLA vs. Oregon State preview

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
4:49
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- UCLA heads to Oregon State on Thursday night looking to keep alive its streak of three consecutive victories and its chances of winning the Pac-12 regular season title.

In order to do so, they will have to contain Jared Cunningham, the leading scorer in the conference at 17.6 points a game, and Ahmad Starks, who is 12th in the league with 13.7 points per game. In conference games, Cunningham and Starks are averaging 19 and 16.2 points per game, respectively, to rank first and fourth.

"This is going to be really challenging," said coach Ben Howland, whose team has won 13 consecutive games against Oregon State. "They have really good guards, I’m telling you. Starks and Cunningham are really good."

The Beavers (11-7, 1-5 Pac-12) have lost five out of six conference games, but are the only conference team to have defeated California and also had an overtime victory against Texas earlier this season. Oregon State is 8-2 at home this season.

They use a pressuring 1-3-1 trap defense and are fourth in the nation with 331 turnovers created. That should be an interesting contrast with UCLA, which is 10th in the nation in fewest turnovers per game at 10.9.

"They’re much improved and they can beat anybody in our league," Howland said. "Obviously they already beat Cal, who is one of the best teams in our conference so it’s going to be a real challenge, especially playing on their home floor. They play well up there."

Getting road victories is no easy task in the Pac-12. Road teams are 9-23 so far in conference play, with Oregon, at 3-1, the only team with more than one conference road victory.

UCLA won its first road game Sunday at USC, but was swept in the Bay Area the last time the Bruins got on a plane.

"It’s a tough road trip," Howland said. "Oregon State and Oregon are both good teams and it’s a quick turnaround because the games are Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. We’ve just got to build on what we’re doing."

Bruins look to make it six straight at Gill

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
9:00
AM PT
A few notes to preview Thursday's game at Oregon State:

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

UCLA (9-6, 1-2 Pac-10)
C Joshua Smith (9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds)
F Reeves Nelson (14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds)
F Tyler Honeycutt (14.3 points, 7.7 rebounds)
G Malcolm Lee (12.2 points, 1.8 assists)
G Lazeric Jones (10.1 points, 3.3 assists)

Oregon State (7-8, 2-2 Pac-10)
C Angus Brandt (5.2 points, 2.8 rebounds)
F Omari Johnson (9.0 points, 6.5 rebounds)
F Devon Collier (4.4 points, 2.8 rebounds)
G Jared Cunningham (14.6 points, 2.1 assists)
G Calvin Hayes (11.0 points, 2.7 assists)

KEY MATCHUP

Tyler Honeycutt vs. Creativity -- Tyler Honeycutt is the first to admit that, sometimes, he tries to do a bit too much. The stat sheet shows it. Honeycutt goes into Thursday's game with a team-worst 47 turnovers. The next closest player, point guard Lazeric Jones, is far behind with 30. Let's just say Jones has no plans of making a run at Honeycutt. And we're not sure he could catch up even if he tried to.

Not all of it is Honeycutt's fault, though. Balls slip through hands, passes are unexpected, opponents make good plays, etc. Sometimes Honeycutt's creativity gets the best of him; teammates just aren't on the same page and Honeycutt's numbers suffer because of it. The turnovers have come in bunches in large part because he is a key component of the team's transition offense. That's just how it goes.

The problem is that Honeycutt's giveaways outweigh his good decisions. He has a nauseating 0.81 assist-to-turnover ratio. Keep an eye out for the choices he makes against Oregon State, one the nation's leaders in steals.

ABOUT THE BEAVERS

Oregon State has lost 11 consecutive games to UCLA, including five straight at Gill Coliseum. ... Is Gary Payton still suiting up for the orange and black? The Beavers rank No. 2 nationally in steals per game (10.87); Payton is third on the NBA's all-time steals list, behind John Stockton and Michael Jordan. ... Malcolm Lee has his work cut out for him: Jared Cunningham has averaged 19.2 points over the past six games. ... Oregon State allowed 103 points to Washington last week.

CORVALLIS CHRONICLES: 2010

Don't be surprised if Reeves Nelson is the target of some loud boos -- or opponent animosity -- on Thursday. As you may recall, Nelson broke sportsmanship code when he dunked in the final seconds of last year's 62-52 win at Gill Coliseum. UCLA led by eight before his emphatic, buzzer-beating flush gave the Bruins a double-digit win. "I was kind of upset, I tried to take it out on the rim," Nelson said afterward.

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