UCLA forward Travis Wear drives against Cal State Northridge's Tre… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
TEMPE, Ariz. — Tune in Saturday afternoon to see UCLA Coach Ben Howland's juggling act.
The Bruins learned Friday that they will be without forward Travis Wear, who suffered a concussion in their 84-73 victory over Arizona on Thursday.
UCLA has only eight players on scholarship and now has one less. It will leave Howland trying to find respites for players as he did against Arizona.
"We got to play smart," Howland said.
The Bruins were proving that eight was enough. Now they need their seven to be magnificent.
They were in beating sixth-ranked Arizona. Whether that was merely an adrenaline rush can be seen Saturday when UCLA (16-4 overall, 6-1 in Pac-12 play) faces Arizona State (15-4, 4-2).
Howland said he was already working on a substitution pattern to give quick rests for players, pointing out that he got guard Larry Drew II "two subs in the first half" Thursday.
But there will be increased workloads for all, something freshman Shabazz Muhammad said was already being felt Thursday.
"We were all getting a little tired," said Muhammad, who had 23 points in 34 minutes against Arizona. "We just had to suck it up and play."
Howland said extra conditioning helped.
"We ran a lot this week," Howland said. "I thought I hadn't been pushing hard enough. I wanted us to push, even with limited numbers, because we get easy baskets in transition."
Still, even he saw that "early in the game, you could see both teams got tired."
Muhammad said that playing without Wear in the second half was a strain.
"There's no question that it was hard," Muhammad said. "Arizona has so many good players, guys who would start on other teams. We have six or seven guys when Travis got hurt."
Wear is the Bruins' third-leading scorer, averaging 12.2 points per game. UCLA has been relying on him more in recent weeks. He is averaging 14.4 points in Pac-12 play.
He was injured in the first half Thursday, when Arizona's Grant Jerrett inadvertently clipped him with an elbow.
"I got a stinger and both arms went numb," Wear said after the game. "I was out of it."
Wear had hoped to play against Arizona State. But Howland said Friday, "There is a normal protocol when it's determined you have a concussion. There are a certain amount of steps and days."
David Wear played 31 minutes against Arizona, 10 more than his season average. He had 15 points and eight rebounds.
But the focus was on freshman Tony Parker, who played 10 minutes, the most floor time he has seen in a month.
Parker's season has meandered while UCLA's other three freshmen have flourished. Parker's numbers Thursday — six points and three rebounds — were modest, but he did hit one of the key baskets. He scored on a turnaround jumper and was fouled. His free throw pushed the Bruins' lead to 63-55 with 6 minutes 48 seconds left.
"I thought Tony played fantastic," Howland said. "I thought his minutes were critical."
And they will be again Saturday.
Howland needs no encouragement to rave about Drew. Thursday was another opportunity.
Drew adeptly handled the team when Arizona made second-half runs.
"My job is to settle everybody down, get guys shots where they can score," said Drew, who had nine assists and only two turnovers.
After the Wildcats cut the Bruins' lead to 63-58, Drew set up Muhammad for a three-pointer. Moments later, he found David Wear for a jumper.
But what was Howland really excited about?
"He started doing jump stops in practice the other day," Howland said. "I felt like stopping practice and running up and down. He is so good at getting into the paint, when he starts doing jump stops, he is incredible. He is such a good decision maker and reads the defenders so well."