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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

December 30, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Scouting report: UCLA

Washington_St_UCLA_Basketball.JPG
UCLA
Game info:
1 p.m. Friday at Pauley Pavilion
TV/Radio: FSN/KJR-950 AM
Record: 9-4, 1-0 Pac-10. RPI rank: 61.
Previous game: Beat Washington State 80-71.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Prediction: Picked to finish third in the Pac-10 in a media poll.
Coach: Ben Howland is 173-76 in his eighth season with the Bruins. He is 343–175 overall in 17 years.
Series: UCLA leads 91-37 in a series that began in 1936. The Bruins split last season’s games. UW coach Lorenzo Romar, a former Bruins assistant, is 8-9 against UCLA.
Last meeting: Washington hosted the ESPN GameDay crew before destroying UCLA 97-68 in front of a nationally televised audience. Playing in his final home game, former UW star Quincy Pondexter finished with a game-high 20 points. Isaiah Thomas added 17, Matthew Bryan-Amaning 12 and Justin Holiday 11. Reeves Nelson led UCLA with 14 points. The defeat was the worst loss Howland has ever had at UCLA.
Photo credit: AP Photo – Lori Shepler
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt returned Wednesday after sitting out with a shoulder injury. He leads UCLA in scoring (14.8) and rebounding (8.1). Honeycutt was among the 50 players on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list and many believe he’ll be taken in the first round of the NBA draft next summer. Last year he was picked on the Pac-10 all-Freshman team.
— Bryan-Amaning likes to call Reeves Nelson “Baby Brockman” because the burly sophomore forward reminds him of former UW standout Jon Brockman. Nelson plays like a raging bull. He’s notched five double doubles this season and has twice captured the Pac-10 Player of the Week award.
— Freshman center Joshua Smith is a former Kentwood High star who chose UCLA over Washington. He has great hands and nice touch around the basket. He’s struggled with his weight in the past and said he lost about 50 pounds this summer. Howland recently said Smith still needs to improve his conditioning. Smith is also foul prone. He hasn’t fouled out of a game this season, but he’s collected four fouls in seven games.
OVERVIEW:
— UCLA is the hottest team in the Pac-10. The Bruins have a six-game winning streak, which includes an 86-79 win over No. 18 BYU.
— Perhaps the biggest blight on UCLA’s schedule is a 66-57 loss at home to Montana. The Grizzlies packed the paint with defenders, which stymied the Bruins’ interior offense.
— Junior guard Malcolm Lee gets overlooked sometimes, but he’s thrived this season since moving from point guard to shooting guard. He wasn’t comfortable running the team last season and his play dipped. This season, he’s scored in double figures in seven games, including a season-high 23 points.
— Junior college transfer Lazeric Jones beat out Jerime Anderson for the point guard duties this season. The results have been mixed.
— UCLA has four McDonald’s All-Americans on its roster in Lee (2008), sophomore forwards Travis and David Wear (2009) and Smith (2010). The Wear twins transferred from North Carolina and are sitting out this season.
— UCLA had its national-leading streak of 13 straight years with an NBA Draft pick come
to a halt this year. There are 14 former Bruins on a NBA roster at the start of the season.
STARTING LINEUP:
F – Reeves Nelson, 6-8, 235, So., 14.7 ppg., 8.0 rpg.
F – Tyler Honeycutt, 6-8, 188, So., 14.8, 8.1
C – Joshua Smith, 6-10, 305, Fr., 10.1, 6.8
G – Malcolm Lee, 6-5, 200, Jr., 12.8, 3.2
G – Lazeric Jones, 6-0, 187, Jr., 11.3, 3.5 apg.
KEY MATCHUP:
— Slowing down a young but talented front line is the priority concern for the Huskies. Nelson, Smith and Honeycutt have the ability to take over the game. In many ways they’re similar to USC, which is good for the Huskies who pounded the Trojans 44-28 in the rebounding battle. Nelson and Smith are favorable to USC’s Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson, however, Honeycutt is an upgrade offensively to Trojan forward Marcus Simmons. Justin Holiday will likely draw Honeycutt, which should be a stiff challenge for UW’s defensive stopper.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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