It's not getting any easier for UCLA's basketball team, which invited a string of top teams to play at Pauley Pavilion this month. Tonight, at 7:30, the Bruins will face Brigham Young.
BYU is not a team to let the Bruins coast between a tough loss to Temple Thursday night and a real test against St. John's next Saturday.
"We don't have an easy game on our schedule," UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said. "But I'm told by our people that it's good for us."
BYU is 3-0 after victories over Montana State, Utah State and Washington State. Last season, the Cougars were 21-11 overall and finished second in the Western Athletic Conference.
Which, by the way, is no consolation to the defending Pacific 10 Conference champions. It was a WAC team--New Mexico--that knocked them out of the Big Apple National Invitation Tournament two weeks ago.
UCLA is 1-2 and not likely to sweep the rest of its games.
"We have to keep remembering that we have a young team and we have to be patient," Hazzard said. "I have to keep reminding myself that these guys are sophomores."
Two of Hazzard's starters are sophomores--center Greg Foster and forward Trevor Wilson--as is the first man off the bench, Kevin Walker.
Thursday night, when the Bruins missed 11 free throws and lost by 5 points, Wilson missed 1, Foster missed 5 and Walker missed 3.
And Hazzard had to keep reminding himself about patience.
"Shooting is such a mental thing," he said. "You get on a down cycle and it's hard to break out of it. Sometimes it even gets contagious. I've seen it happen, not just at the free-throw line, but to good shooters who hit an 0-for-14 streak.
"We'll work on it. We'll get past it."
Free throws were on the agenda at practice Friday. And then at the hotel Friday night, the team was scheduled to watch a film of the end of the Temple game--which was where an otherwise well-contested game was lost--and then start looking at BYU.
"Brigham Young is a good team," Hazzard said. "They want to play up-tempo--which we also like. They press some. . . . We are a little bigger than they are, but they're quick."
BYU's leading scorer is 6-foot 6-inch forward Jeff Chatman, who is averaging 19.7 points a game. Another standout is 6-10 forward Michael Smith, a junior who is averaging 16.3 points. He is also BYU's tallest starter.
The Cougars' center is 6-9 senior Jim Usevitch, who is in the starting lineup for the first time this season. Usevitch is averaging 18.7 points a game and leads the team with 9 rebounds a game.
BYU is averaging 82 points a game, and Coach Ladell Andersen says this is the best-shooting team he has had. The Cougars have made 52.8% of their shots.
Bruin Notes There will be no telecast of tonight's game, but the game will be broadcast by KMPC (710). . . . BYU forward Michael Smith is from Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, and starting center Jim Usevitch is from Ocean View High in Huntington Beach. . . . With 11 rebounds Thursday night against Temple, Bruin forward Trevor Wilson equaled his career high.