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UCLA BASKETBALL

UCLA's Ben Howland wants Wear twins at the line

Travis Wear has made 21 free throws in a row and David Wear is a solid shooter, so UCLA coach wants them to be more aggressive.

January 10, 2012|By Diane Pucin
  • Brothers David, center, and Travis Wear look back at UCLA Coach Ben Howland, left, as they wait to enter the game during the Bruins' victory over Arizona on Thursday. Howland wants to see more from the Wear twins.
Brothers David, center, and Travis Wear look back at UCLA Coach Ben Howland,… (Danny Moloshok / Associated…)

This is what UCLA basketball Coach Ben Howland was talking about last week when he publicly commanded the Wear twins, David and Travis, to become more offensively aggressive, to find a path to the basket.

And if a few opponents are in the way, even better.

Howland wants the 6-foot-10 sophomore forwards to draw fouls and shoot free throws.

For good reason. They're good foul shooters.

Travis Wear, in UCLA's first two Pac-12 victories last week over Arizona and Arizona State, was 12 for 12 from the foul line.

He earned himself a mention in the weekly conference notes for that performance. He has now made 21 consecutive free throws, a longer streak than any Bruin over the last three years.

David Wear was a little less spectacular over the two games. He was four of six from the foul line. But David is a 79.3% free throw shooter for the season and Travis is 86.1%. This is on a team that is making only 66.8% of its free shots.

So sometimes the coach knows what he is talking about.

The rest of the team has plenty of time to practice. The Bruins (9-7 overall and 2-2 Pac-12) are off until Sunday's 6 p.m. matchup against USC (5-12, 0-4).

"That's good, from my standpoint," Howland said of the week off. "This will be the last time we'll be able to have four or five practices in a row before playing a game.

"Last week we worked hard on the execution of the offense and I thought we did better. These next two days we won't spend any time on USC. It will be all about us. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, we can focus on guarding USC for a couple of days."

Can't get tired

Lazeric Jones (32.3), Tyler Lamb (30.8) and Jerime Anderson (32.0) are all averaging over 30 minutes a game, a situation Howland said isn't ideal but is necessary. All three are guards and the only other scholarship guard who is uninjured and available is freshman Norman Powell, who averages 17.8 minutes a game.

It's another reason Howland appreciates the week off, so his backcourt players can get fresh legs.

De'End Parker, a junior college transfer, was also projected to help the backcourt depth, but he has played only 34 minutes in three games. Parker is on campus after being away from the team last week after his mother had surgery, but Howland said that knee tendinitis will continue to keep him sidelined.

diane.pucin@latimes.com twitter.com/mepucin

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