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UCLA REPORT

Fey Needs to Connect

November 23, 2004|Diane Pucin | Times Staff Writer

Michael Fey had his first shot blocked Saturday when UCLA defeated Chicago State, 64-53. He missed at least two dunks and dropped catchable passes sent into the post another four or five times.

The 7-foot junior knows he is making mistakes.

"It's frustrating," Fey said after scoring six points (on two-for-seven shooting) and taking seven rebounds in 32 minutes. He was charged with three turnovers and he probably cost point guard Jordan Farmar two or three assists when he missed dunks and layups or just dropped the ball.

"I'm trying to do things too fast," Fey said. "I know in my head what to do and I want to do it, but I need to calm down."

Mostly because there are no other options, Coach Ben Howland keeps affirming his support of Fey. Even in the two exhibition games, when Fey was fouling out and fouling up, Howland said the Bruins needed Fey and needed to keep going inside.

Fey will get even more opportunities tonight at Pauley Pavilion against Western Illinois because freshman Lorenzo Mata, who is expected to back up Fey at center, will sit out for the second consecutive game because of a sprained ankle suffered in practice last Friday.

Howland gave Fey credit for holding Chicago State's 7-1 center Deji Akindele from Nigeria scoreless. There were pro scouts at Pauley to watch Akindele.

"I worked hard at that," Fey said. "But I've got to be better."

*

TONIGHT

vs. Western Illinois, 7:30, FSNW2

Site -- Pauley Pavilion.

Radio -- XTRA (1150/690).

Records -- Western Illinois 0-1, UCLA 1-0.

Update -- Derek Thomas, a second-year coach, came to Western Illinois from Nevada Las Vegas, where he was an assistant to Charlie Spoonhour. His first recruiting class was ranked No. 21 in the nation by Hoop Scoop. Eulis Baez, a senior transfer from Florida International, led the Leathernecks in their opening loss to Iowa, with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Tickets -- (310) 825-2946.

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