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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Practice report: Reserves take the floor

The Los Angeles Sports Arena isn’t as bad as I remember. It’s plenty old, but UCLA spruced the place up a bit with a baby blue paint job and championship banners.
After Saturday’s game against Washington, the Bruins will say goodbye to their rented digs and return to renovated Pauley Pavilion next season.
The Huskies practiced at the Sports Arena and no one complained of dead spots in the floor. The starters and key reserves got a bit of a break today and watched several games between the backups that was at times entertaining and mildly competitive.
One team included: Scott Suggs, Andrew Andrews, Shawn Kemp and Brendan Sherrer. The other team comprised Hikeem Stewart, Martin Breunig, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jernard Jerreau.
Assistant coaches tracked the results of the first-to-five scrimmages, but I got to admit I wasn’t paying close attention because I was too busy yacking it up on the sideline. However, I did catch a few nice dribble drives from Suggs, Andrews picking Stewart clean in the open court before dropping a tomahawk jam and Stewart draining a three-pointer from the wing.
The on-court action thrilled the rest of the team who cheered and jeered from the sidelines. The Huskies appeared loose and unfazed by the pressures surrounding Saturday’s game. They know what’s at stake and understand what a victory will deliver.
Junior center Aziz N’Diaye said he’s excited and looking forward to the rematch with UCLA. He knows Bruins backup Joshua Smith had his way with the Huskies in the first game, but plans to take a different tactic tomorrow.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said it’s important for the Huskies to be physical with UCLA’s big front line and not allow them to establish position in the post.
“We have to be more aggressive,” he said. “We have to put our bodies on them a little earlier and more aggressively. They kind of picked spots where they wanted to go on the floor last time and just took the spot. We can’t let them take the spot.
“Once he (Smith) establishes himself on the low block he’s just going to move you out of the way. Some guys that big and just run you over. He doesn’t do that. He just kind of moves and moves. It’s hard. It’s a tough cover. Now you’re getting turned. And if he feels he wants to drop step, here comes the violence. That’s tough to deal with. It’s not dirty. It’s not illegal. … You got to get to that position before he does.”
Smith and senior guard Lazeric Jones left Thursday’s game with an ankle injury.
During a teleconference today, UCLA coach Ben Howland downplayed the injuries and said both players are expected to play.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON LINKS:
— ESPN’s bracket guru Joe Lunardi projects Washington will be a No. 10 seed in the Midwest region and playing No. 7 San Diego State. California is also a No. 10 seed and Arizona is No. 11 in Lunardi’s bracket. Oregon and Colorado are included on a bubble list of teams who did not make the tourney.
— SI.com’s Seth Davis believes UCLA will beat Washington 68-66.
— Former UCLA star Reeves Nelson refuted his portrayal in the Sports Illustrated story that characterized him as a malcontent.
— Here’s video of Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham flushing a highlight dunk in Thursday’s win over Utah.

Comments | Topics: Scott Suggs, UCLA

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