UCLA: UCLA basketball

Video: Steve Alford talks to Andy Katz

July, 25, 2013
Steve Alford talks about his move from New Mexico to UCLA and the legacy of John Wooden.

First look: UCLA vs. Arizona

March, 14, 2013
What: No. 21 UCLA Bruins (24-8) vs No. 18 Arizona Wildcats (25-6), Pac-12 Tournament semifinal

When: Friday, 6 p.m. PT

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: AM 570

Scouting the Bruins: Top-seeded UCLA has won six of its past seven games and is looking to get to the Pac-12 tournament final for the first time since winning it in 2008. The Bruins are coming off a hard-fought, 80-75 quarterfinal victory over Arizona State, in which they erased a 15-point, second-half deficit. In that game, the Bruins ended an 11-game streak of getting outrebounded and will need to keep that up to continue their success in the postseason. Shabazz Muhammad took his game to another level in the second half of that matchup when he scored 12 of his 16 points. Travis Wear also showed signs of emerging from his injury-related funk by making six of his last nine shots after starting the game zero for five. Larry Drew II continues to make teams pay for sagging off him. In the past 10 games, which includes when Arizona State and USC had success against UCLA by sagging off Drew, the senior point guard has shot 54.1 percent overall and 65.4 percent (17 of 26) on 3-pointers. He scored a season-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting -- including four for four on 3-pointers -- on Thursday and provided exactly the type of senior leadership this young team needs in the heat of the postseason. The Bruins lead all Pac-12 teams in scoring at 75.2 points per game, but Thursday represented the first time in nearly a month they had reached 80 points. They also lead the conference in shooting at 45.7 percent, but opponents are shooting 41.9 percent against UCLA, and the Bruins have allowed five consecutive opponents to shoot 40 percent or better.

Scouting the Wildcats: No. 4-seeded Arizona stumbled a bit down the stretch with losses in two of its final three regular-season games that knocked the Wildcats out of the conference title race and into the No. 4 seed for the tournament, but they are looking to reach the conference tournament final for the third consecutive year. After defeating Colorado 79-69 Thursday in the quarterfinals, the Wildcats have won consecutive games in fairly convincing fashion. The key number for them is 70 points on the defensive end, as they are 23-0 when holding teams under that threshold. They are very balanced on offense and are second to UCLA among conference teams in scoring at 73.6 points per game. Mark Lyons is the leader with 14.8 points per game, but Solomon Hill (13.5) and Nick Johnson (11.8) are not far behind, and all are very capable of scoring 20-plus points. The Wildcats like to score from all over the floor and lead the conference in 3-pointers made with 238. Lyons has 56 while Hill, Johnson and Kevin Parrom each have at least 35. Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-foot freshman center, presents a matchup issue for the size-challenged Bruins and leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game. Hill, Parrom and Brandon Ashley also average more than five rebounds for the Wildcats, who are among the conference leaders with a plus-6.1 rebounding margin.

The series: UCLA leads the series 51-37. The Bruins swept the regular season with an 84-73 victory in Tucson and a 74-69 victory at Pauley Pavilion and will be trying to go 3-0 against the Wildcats for only the second time in school history. The only other time the Bruins did so was in 2006. UCLA is 3-2 against Arizona in Pac-12 tournament history, including a 66-58 Arizona victory in the quarterfinals last season. UCLA and Arizona met in a conference tournament semifinal only once: UCLA's 71-59 victory in 2006.

First look: Washington State at UCLA

February, 8, 2013
What: Washington State Cougars (11-12, 2-8) at UCLA Bruins (17-6, 7-3)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m. PT

Where: Pauley Pavilion

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: AM 570

Scouting the Bruins: UCLA stopped the bleeding a bit with a 59-57 buzzer-beating victory over Washington on Thursday, ending a two-game slide. Still, the Bruins are 2-3 over their past five games and haven't won consecutive games since Jan. 12 and 17. Shooting and rebounding have been the Achilles' heel for the Bruins, who are shooting 39.9 percent the past five games, and 35.4 percent the past three games. That stretch includes three of their four worst shooting games of the season. On the glass, UCLA has been outrebounded, 146-105, over the past three games. No UCLA player has had more than eight rebounds during the past three games, and the Bruins are last in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin (+0.1). Shabazz Muhammad continues to lead the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game -- a figure that makes him the leading freshman scorer in the nation and second overall in the Pac-12. Jordan Adams is the team's second-leading scorer with 14.7 points per game, but he has been in a slump of late, shooting just 35 percent over the past five games. He was 2-of-11 on Thursday, and is 2-of-22 on 3-pointers over the past six games.

Scouting the Cougars: Washington State has lost three consecutive games and five of its past six, though the Cougars have played tough in many of those games -- losing by four at USC, by four against Arizona State and by seven at Oregon. Seven of Washington State’s 12 losses have come by seven points or fewer. Forward Brock Motum, a 6-10 senior who led the conference in scoring last season, is back and averaging 18.2 points and 6.6 rebounds to rank third in the conference in scoring and 17th in rebounding. D.J. Shelton, another 6-10 forward, also presents a matchup problem because of his size and shooting range. He averages only 5.3 points, but gets 6.1 rebounds per game and has made 15 of 36 3-pointers. Guard Mike Ladd is also a threat with 11.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The Cougars play a slow, grinding style, and they are last in the conference in scoring at 63.7 points per game, but first in the league in scoring defense at 61 points per game. They have shot 457 3-pointers, which is third most in the conference, and average 6.6 made 3-pointers per game. Washington State plays a lot of zone on defense.

The series: UCLA has dominated the all-time series 101-14. The Bruins have won the past seven in a row and 37 of the past 39. Last season, UCLA won 63-60 in Pullman and 78-46 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins are 53-2 against the Cougars in Los Angeles. Washington State’s only victories at Pauley came in 2004 and 2009.

Quick Quote: “They are very capable,” coach Ben Howland said. “They run a lot of good stuff offensively and we’re going to have to play well and do a good job … We have to be ready for the type of game that will be grinding.”

Howland responds to Walton criticism

February, 8, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA coach Ben Howland on Friday responded to comments critical of him made by Bill Walton during the ESPN broadcast of UCLA’s 59-57 victory over Washington on Thursday.

Howland acknowledged that Walton is just doing his job and that, as a former UCLA player, Walton has extremely high expectations for the program.

“He’s been critical in all the games he’s done of ours this year,” Howland said. “I think he’s done three games -- last night’s, Missouri and Arizona. As a broadcaster and an analyst, that’s his job and it is perfectly within his right to be critical.”

Coincidentally, UCLA won all three of those games, and they are arguably the Bruins' three biggest wins of the season. Still, that didn’t prevent Walton from weighing in on the state of the program on Thursday. In one exchange, Walton, the color analyst for the game, began criticizing the lack of a crowd for the 6 p.m. game. Play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch pushed the conversation.
Pasch: You’ve criticized now the attendance five times. Give me a solution: How do you fix it?

Walton: Play better basketball.

Pasch: OK, well, that’s obvious. How do you play better basketball?

Walton: Better style.

Pasch: All right, so is that the coach? Is that the players?

Walton: That’s the coach.

Pasch: So you’re not a Ben Howland fan?

Walton: No.

Pasch: Well, he went to three straight Final Fours, but he hasn’t made the tournament two of the last three years -- so has his time run out here in Westwood?

Walton: I’m not in charge. If I were, things would be different.
Walton was a three-time national college player of the year while at UCLA, won two national titles with the Bruins and played on the John Wooden-coached teams that went 60-0 from 1970-72. Howland said he understands why a player from that era would be so critical of the current team.

“His reference point is pretty special, and I understand that,” Howland said. “What they had here and what they did I think will be hard to see often again in the history of college basketball. Their expectations are so high, and I get it. That’s part of what makes UCLA so special.”

The Bruins (17-6, 7-3 Pac-12) are currently tied for second place in the Pac-12. This has been a roller-coaster season for UCLA, with losses to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and USC mixed in with victories over Missouri and Arizona. It’s not exactly a slam dunk that Howland, who began the season on the hot seat, will be back next year unless the team makes a good postseason run.

Howland said criticism comes with the territory when you coach such a high-profile team.

“Obviously, he feels how he feels about me and there is nothing I can do about that,” Howland said. “It’s part of the job. Anytime that you are in a high-profile position, especially in a big metropolitan area like L.A. or New York or Philadelphia or Chicago -- where there are so many people and so many different media outlets and different forms of media -- you’re going to have that. I understood that when I took this job and I continue to understand that. It’s part of the job.”

One of the men who will make the decision on whether or not to keep Howland, senior associate athletic director Mark Harlan, seemed to indicate that all was well Thursday night. He greeted Howland with a handshake, smiles and pats on the back following the buzzer-beating win over Washington.

“Mark is always there,” Howland said. “When we lose, he is there. When we lost against Oregon, he was there. Mark is great and the support from our administration during my tenure here has been phenomenal, and I’m so appreciative of that. They’re there and have been there during my entire tenure, win or lose.”

Rapid Reaction: UCLA 59, Washington 57

February, 7, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- Larry Drew II made a 15-foot jump shot at the final buzzer to give UCLA a 59-57 victory over Washington Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. It ended a two-game losing streak for the Bruins.

Here's a quick recap:

How it happened: The game was tight all the way, with neither team taking a lead of more than six points, so to have it come down to a game winner was no surprise.

Washington tied the score at 57-57 on a driving shot by C.J. Wilcox with 10 seconds to play. UCLA had a timeout left, but did not use it. Drew, the point guard, took the in-bounds pass, dribbled the ball up the court, broke out to the left wing and swished the game winner as the final horn sounded.

Washington's 36-32 lead with 16:44 to play was the largest lead for the Huskies in the second half. Shabazz Muhammad made a 3-pointer to cut Washington's lead to 36-35 with 16:16 to play, and neither team led by more than two points until Jordan Adams scored on a fast break to give UCLA a 47-43 lead with 7:06 remaining.

The Bruins extended their lead to 49-43, the largest lead of the game for either team, but Abdul Gaddy made a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to tighten things back up.

Muhammad had a game-high 22 points on 8-of-23 shooting and added eight rebounds. Wilcox had 15 points for the Huskies and Aziz N'Diaye had 11 points and a career-high 18 rebounds.

Player of the game: Drew's game winner trumps Muhammad's point total. Drew had nine points on an efficient 4-of-7 shooting. The game winner was his third of the season, adding Washington to a list of victims that includes UC Irvine and Utah.

Stat of the game: The Bruins shot a season-low 33.3 percent (22-of-66) and were outrebounded 46-36, yet won the game. It is the third consecutive game the Bruins have shot below 40 percent, and the third consecutive game they have been outrebounded -- but the first of those three they have won.

What it means: The Bruins keep their Pac-12 title hopes alive, but their rebounding and shooting woes the past few games are a major concern.

What’s next: UCLA plays Washington State on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT at Pauley Pavilion. Washington heads across town to play USC on Saturday at 7.

"Outside The Lines" tackles the Sports Illustrated article suggesting Ben Howland lost control at UCLA.

Report: Ben Howland lost control

February, 29, 2012

The recent downturn in UCLA basketball can be blamed on coach Ben Howland losing control of his program when a group of prima donna players began to rebel without consequence, according to a Sports Illustrated story.

Read the rest of Peter Yoon's report here.

News story on Tyler Honeycutt getting X-ray on his right elbow here.

UCLA looking for a sweep in Oregon

January, 13, 2011
UCLA has reached a pivotal point in the season as the Bruins prepare to hit the road for a two-game Pac-10 Conference swing through Oregon.

A two-game Pac-10 losing streak has cast doubts on UCLA's ability to contend for the conference title and the Bruins (9-6, 1-2 in Pac-10) almost certainly need a sweep against Oregon State (7-8, 2-2) and Oregon (7-9, 0-4) on Thursday and Saturday to keep from falling too far behind in the conference title race.

UCLA faces Oregon State in Corvallis at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and will play at Oregon's new Matthew Knight Arena Saturday at 2 p.m.

"We can either sink or swim on this trip," UCLA guard Malcolm Lee said. "It’s an opportunity to get back on track if we go up there and take care of the Oregons or it’s an opportunity to keep proceeding this two game losing streak."

On paper, the Bruins should be able to take care of business, but that presents a problem. UCLA has had a tendency to play down to its competition this year, with a loss to Montana mixed in with closer-than-they-should-have-been victories over Pepperdine, UC Davis and UC Irvine.

But coming off a couple of tough losses against Washington and USC should help prevent a letdown, center Joshua Smith said.

"I know our guys will be up for these games," Smith said. "We know they are two teams that are kind of down, but we need these wins and so we’re going to be focused."

Another factor working against the Bruins is the these are road games. UCLA is 1-4 away from Pauley Pavillion this season, having defeated only Brigham Young in a pseudo-home game at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Plus the Bruins will probably face a good deal of zone defense against Oregon State--another Achilles heel for UCLA--so a sweep, despite playing two teams with losing records, won't be easy.

"As far as we know, we don’t have a good record ourselves, so we have to approach them as anybody," Lee said. "We know our back are against the wall losing two games out of three conference games. We feel the sense of urgency that 'OK we just lost two in a row, we just started the Pac 10, we need these two wins.' It’s real vital to go up there and get these two wins."

Here, coach Ben Howland and his team discuss Thursday's game against Oregon State:

Katz and Leung preview the West

November, 10, 2010

ESPN.com's Andy Katz and Diamond Leung look at the slipping Pac-10 and which team could be the best out west.

Doug Gottlieb previews the UCLA men's basketball team for 2010-11



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