October 13, 2010 |
Ben Howland gingerly descended the steps outside Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday afternoon, the UCLA coach still recovering from a ruptured Achilles' tendon sustained in June. "I can't dunk," Howland quipped when asked if he was 100%. That wasn't a problem for the players in uniform at the team's media day, a pleasant departure from a year ago, when the Bruins had no fewer than six players sidelined by injuries during some early practices. With only 10 eligible scholarship players, the Bruins cannot endure a similar spate of injuries if they hope to rebound from a 14-18 season in which numerous key players missed considerable stretches.
January 29, 2011 |
Two halves still don't make a whole lot of sense for UCLA. At the midpoint of Pacific 10 Conference play, the Bruins continue to play superbly for 20 minutes only to unravel after halftime. They lost all of a 17-point lead against Oregon State and a 15-point lead against California before hitting a new second-half low Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena. UCLA squandered a 15-point lead against Arizona State, which had lost seven of its first eight conference games, before pulling out a 73-72 victory in overtime thanks to a barrage of three-point baskets.
February 26, 2011 |
They lingered on the old court, arms waving and legs leaping and smiles widening. The celebration was just getting started as the UCLA players raced over to the student section, exchanging high-fives and accepting pats on the back. Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson wrapped a classmate in a bearhug and hoisted him into the air. Saying goodbye had never been so much fun. In a fitting final tribute to their basketball home of 46 years, UCLA delivered a 71-49 victory over No. 10 Arizona on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion that wasn't so much a showdown as a smackdown, the Bruins holding the Wildcats to their lowest point total of the season.
November 24, 2011 |
Reporting from Lahaina, Hawaii -- Changes in defensive schemes and player rotations may not be enough. For UCLA to put a season already adrift back on course, the Bruins might need a renewed commitment from a few wayward players. "They've got some guys that I think need to really take a look at themselves and decide whether they're in this for the long haul or not, and I don't say that lightly because a number of those guys are," ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas said after watching the Bruins lose two of three games in the Maui Invitational, with the victory coming against Division II Chaminade.
November 6, 2011 |
There was a roll call, a familiar voice over the public address system and even the fan with blue hair heckling opponents when they shot free throws. Good thing UCLA also remembered to pack Joshua Smith and Reeves Nelson for the start of its season-long show. The interior duo helped the Bruins overcome a mostly ragged performance during an 80-72 exhibition victory over Cal State San Bernardino on Sunday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Smith's 26 points and seven rebounds were complemented by Nelson's 16 points, 10 rebounds and one commandment to his teammates.
December 17, 2011 |
Addition by subtraction. That was the argument being tossed around when UCLA dismissed volatile forward Reeves Nelson on Dec. 9 — that it lost a good player but was better off for it. It might be too early to know if that equation is accurate, but these numbers don't lie: The Bruins have added three consecutive wins to their record and evened it at 5-5 since Nelson left, the latest an 82-39 demolition of UC Davis before 5,132 at...
January 8, 2011 |
Most basketball coaches pray for one, just one, grade-A big man . But if a coach has two, as UCLA's Ben Howland has in Joshua Smith and Reeves Nelson and USC's Kevin O'Neill has in Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic, then consider that coach lucky because good big men are hard to find, harder to keep and even harder to stop. Just ask Washington State Coach Ken Bone, whose Cougars recently visited Los Angeles and were feasted on by the L.A. schools' down-low duos. The foursome scored 55 points, grabbed 38 rebounds and threw Bone two losses, which left him gushing, "They're very efficient, very good.
January 20, 2011 |
Their best defender had fouled out. Their star big man had long since departed with a mild concussion. Their ability to make free throws or get the ball cleanly past midcourt had largely failed them. Somehow, with everything deteriorating around them, the UCLA Bruins managed to pull out an uglier-by-the-second 86-84 victory over California on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion after Reeves Nelson tipped in a missed shot with two seconds left. Nelson returned to the scoring column in a big way after his zero-point, five-foul effort against Oregon, scoring a career-high 24 points and the winning basket when he sprinted into the lane and used his right hand to put back a missed turnaround jumper by Tyler Honeycutt.
February 5, 2011 |
The morning had been one of hugs and handshakes for Steve Lavin. As he milled about on the Pauley Pavilion court before the game, the St. John's coach momentarily forgot where he was and nearly took a seat on the UCLA bench. "Coach [Gene] Keady thankfully reminded me that we were on the other end" of the court, Lavin said. There was also something reassuringly familiar for Bruins fans about Lavin's return to Westwood. His team lost. Shrugging off some manic full-court pressure and poor free-throw shooting in the final minutes, UCLA held on for a 66-59 victory that solidified its NCAA tournament standing with a month left in the regular season.
March 20, 2011 |
Ben Howland likes to tout UCLA's history of producing 106 NBA draft picks, more than any other school. The Bruins coach probably would not mind if that figure didn't grow this summer. If junior guard Malcolm Lee and sophomore forwards Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson decide to return for one more year of college basketball, UCLA would likely be considered a top-10 team nationally going into next season. The trio of first-team All-Pacific 10 Conference selections would comprise the kind of deep and dynamic core the Bruins have lacked since their run of three consecutive Final Fours ended in 2008.