EUGENE, Ore. — The UCLA basketball team, which has had more misadventures on the road than Bob and Bing could ever have imagined, try again tonight in a Pacific 10 Conference game against Oregon at McArthur Court. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.
Actually, this is the first of many tries for the Bruins, who are 1-5 away from Pauley Pavilion this season and 9-10 overall. After tonight, they play at Oregon State (Sunday), USC (Feb. 11) and Notre Dame (Feb. 14) before returning home to meet Arizona State Feb. 18, so consider it the start of 11 days to make the season for a team hoping that 18 or 19 wins can be converted into an NCAA tournament bid.
Also consider this as good a place as any to start.
"I think we'll play well on the road," UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said this week. "We'll be focused. I think it will help that we'll be a little isolated, away from the hoopla around here (Los Angeles). We'll concentrate. I think we'll play well in Oregon."
UCLA, tied with Stanford and Arizona for second place in the Pac-10 at 5-4, has won five of its last seven, including a 65-60 victory over the Oregon Jan. 10. The Ducks (9-8 overall and 4-4 in conference) have dropped four of six, although last weekend they did beat Stanford, a team the Bruins lost to in December.
Oregon features Anthony Taylor, a 6-foot-4 guard who was an all-conference choice last season as a junior and leads the Pac-10 in scoring this season at 21.3 points a game. UCLA has had some success containing him the past, giving up 6 (on 2-of-14 shooting) and 24 last season and 12 (4 of 11 from the field) in the first game this season, when he spent most of the time in foul trouble.
The Bruins' plan against Taylor tonight will be simple: Defense by committee. Pooh Richardson, Dave Immel and Gerald Madkins should all get a chance to guard him, what with the Ducks setting numerous screens to spring Taylor open and then clearing out to let to let him work one-on-one.
Hazzard has seen before how well it can work.
"We'll try to make someone else beat us," he said. "We'll try to make him work as hard as we can."
Forward Trevor Wilson continues to lead UCLA in scoring at 15.5, with Immel (15.2) and Richardson (12.5) also in double figures.
Bruin Notes Junior guard Pooh Richardson is six assists away from passing Ralph Jackson to become the Bruins' all-time career leader in the category. He goes into the game with 518, while Jackson, who played from 1981-84, has 523. "I expected him to break the assist record when he came here," Coach Walt Hazzard said. "And his best days are ahead of him in this program." Richardson has also scored in double figures in six straight games. . . . Senior guard Dave Immel, from Hillsboro, Ore., makes his final collegiate trip to his home state, a homecoming that has rarely been quiet. "They'll be waiting for him as usual with boos," Hazzard said of the fans. "But I expect him to have a big weekend." Immel, UCLA's No. 2 scorer at 15.2 points a game, had his second-worst output of the season Jan. 7 against Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion, 8 points in 36 minutes. He came back to score 12 against Oregon three nights later, 5 shy of his career high against the two schools. Prior to this season, he had never been in double figures against the Ducks or Beavers, although he never played more than 22 minutes in a game.