Pac-10 Round-Up, Preview
Stopping the Wildcats will require stopping Derrick Williams, the nation's most efficient offensive weapon.
It's not easy.
Cal couldn't do it, as Williams scored a career-high 31 points to go with 12 rebounds in a 73-71 victory.
Stanford had more success, limiting Williams to five shots. But he made them all, including a pair of 3-pointers, and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in a 67-57 victory.
Williams, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, is a scoring machine but hardly a volume shooter. He attempted just 17 shots against the Bay Area schools, but he produced 45 points.
At just past the halfway point of the season, Williams was averaging 2.27 points per shot attempt -- the best in the nation through Jan. 9.
Over the past five games, that number was a staggering 2.90 points per shot.
Consider that Sean Elliott, the greatest player in Arizona history, averaged 1.46 points per shot attempt in college. Or that Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, two of college basketball's greatest stars, produced 1.58 and 1.54 points per shot, respectively, during their UCLA careers.
Through his first season and a half at Tucson, Williams' career number is 1.91.
How does he do it?
"He's got a good first step, gets to the rim, gets contact and makes foul shots," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "So yes, he is efficient."
Williams generates points for the Wildcats by converting a high percentage and earning repeated trips to the free-throw line. And it doesn't hurt that he's added a 3-point shot to his arsenal.
He was shooting 65.7 percent from the field this season through Jan. 9, and he had attempted 154 free throws, making 119 of them. Williams also was making 70.8 percent of his 3-pointers (17 of 24) and would be leading the nation if he had a few more attempts.
"He's got a huge, quick first step and he weighs 240 pounds. Put that all together and also consider how unselfish he is, and you have a dynamic offensive player," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "We're asking him to improve his defense. As he puts that together, his impact will be second to none."
--Arizona's game against Stanford, originally scheduled for Jan. 8, was moved back a day in the wake of a shooting spree in Tucson that left six people dead. The Wildcats won the game 67-57.
--Arizona has beaten Cal 15 of the past 16 seasons at McKale Center.
--The Wildcats trailed Cal 41-32 with 17 minutes left, then outscored the Bears 41-30 the rest of the way to pull out a 73-71 win.
BY THE NUMBERS: 22 -- School-record number of free-throw attempts by Derrick Williams against Cal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We can't defend the foul line. (Derrick) Williams (had) 22 foul shots. Our center had zero. Zero. That's hard." -- Cal coach Mike Montgomery, on Derrick Williams' steady parade to the free-throw line.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. Arizona State, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: The Wildcats will be fired up to beat their rival at McKale Center for the first time in four years. Arizona had won 12 straight at home against Arizona State -- and 24 of 25 overall -- entering the 2007-08 season. Arizona's advantage is sophomore Derrick Williams, for whom the Sun Devils have answer. But Arizona must be smart and patient against Arizona State's tricky matchup defense, which contributes to slowing the tempo.
FUTURES MARKET: Senior Jamelle Horne, a regular starter all of last season, came off the bench against Cal to score 10 points on 3-for-3 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. He also committed a foolish foul at the end of the first half, allowing Cal's Jorge Gutierrez to make two free throws with 0.7 seconds left that sent the visitors into the locker room with a 33-32 lead. Horne then delivered 16 points, including 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range, and grabbed 12 rebounds in Arizona's win over Stanford. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to start," Horne said, "but I'm getting more comfortable coming off the bench and providing the spark."
--Sophomore F Derrick Williams scored a career-high 31 points -- 19 of them in the second half -- and converted 16 of a school-record 22 free-throw attempts against Cal. He also had 12 rebounds.
--Junior G Kyle Fogg was the Wildcats' only double-digit scorer against Cal other than Williams, going for 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting.
--Sophomore PG MoMo Jones struggled against Cal, shooting 1-for-7 while scoring six points. For the weekend, he shot 5-for-18 and scored 14 points.
As the Sun Devils move forward after being swept at home by Stanford and Cal, coach Herb Sendek says the remedy is fairly simple.
Arizona State simply must play better.
"We have to get better at what we do, and I don't think it's a question of schematics," Sendek said.
The Sun Devils' lone Pac-10 victory came over Oregon, which appears destined to finish last. If Arizona State wants to avoid sitting in ninth place the rest of the year, it will need to execute better and make shots.
Rebounding seems out of the question. Stanford forged a 25-8 rebounding edge in the second half, and Cal followed that two days later by pounding the Devils 28-13 in the first half.
That's a 53-21 rebounding deficit over a 40-minute span.
Arizona State played both games without injured senior point guard Jamelle McMillan (groin), and while he wouldn't have helped the rebounding issue, he might have given more direction to the offense.
Sendek started junior transfer Brandon Dunson against both Stanford and Cal, but by the second half against the Bears, he switched to former walk-on Marcus Jackson, who had not played all season.
Against Cal, the game boiled down to making shots, and Arizona State missed on four straight 3-pointers during a single possession in the final minute. Ty Abbott, who broke out of a slump to score 18 points, missed three of them.
"I couldn't ask for anything more," Abbott said. "Guys set multiple screens for me, and I got some looks. They didn't go."
--The offensive numbers against Stanford were ugly: 35.4 percent shooting, including 1-for-14 from 3-point range, 15 turnovers and just 18 second-half points, when the Sun Devils failed to make a field goal in the final six minutes. Arizona State was outrebounded 25-8 in the second half.
--In 2010, Arizona State jumped out to a 54-17 lead at home against Stanford before pocketing an 88-70 victory. This year, the Sun Devils were pounded 55-41.
--Arizona State was surrendering 13.8 offensive rebounds per game in Pac-10 play through Jan. 9. Cal had 18 against the Sun Devils, generating 19 second-chance points.
BY THE NUMBERS: 41 -- Arizona State's point total in its loss to Stanford, which represents the fewest points the Sun Devils have ever scored in a game at Wells Fargo Arena.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "In the second half, we played hard. That's the biggest thing that's killing us, not having the same effort and intensity throughout the entire game. If we do that consistently, these are games we win." -- Senior guard Ty Abbott, after the 65-61 loss to Cal.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at Arizona, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: The Sun Devils had not won in Tucson since 1995 when they began a three-year winning streak at McKale Center in 2007-08. So they have some psychological ammunition heading in their rival's facility these days. But Job 1 for Arizona State is containing sophomore F Derrick Williams, who earns more foul shots than any player in the Pac-10. He shot 22 free throws last week against Cal.
FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore C Ruslan Pateev seems ready to make a bigger contribution. The 7-footer from Moscow, Russia, totaled just 27 points through his first 12 games, and he was scoreless in Arizona State's loss at Oregon State in the Pac-10 opener. He followed that with a career-high 10 points at Oregon, then 10 more against Stanford, shooting a combined 10-for-15 in the two games. Those performances earned Pateev a start against Cal. He had just six points, but he shot 3-for-5 and contributed four assists and two blocked shots.
--Sophomore F Trent Lockett, who missed two games in Oregon with a toe injury, returned to contribute 10 points and seven rebounds in the home loss to Stanford. He had eight points and five rebounds while battling foul problems against Cal.
--Senior F Rihards Kuksiks shot 1-for-5 and scored just two points against Stanford. Through his first three Pac-10 games, Kuksiks totaled eight points on 3-for-18 shooting. He came alive a bit vs. Cal, hitting four of seven shots to score 10 points.
--Freshman F Kyle Cain, an early-season surprise, had no points and just one rebound against Stanford, then two points and no rebounds in six minutes against Cal. He had just nine rebounds in Arizona State's first four Pac-10 games after totaling 30 in the club's final two non-conference outings.
The Golden Bears return home to face a daunting double-dip in Washington State and Washington.
And they couldn't be feeling much better about themselves.
Last week started badly for Cal with the word on Jan. 5 that freshman Gary Franklin, who had started the first 11 games, quit the team because he wants to play point guard full time.
A day later, Cal just missed an upset at McKale Center, leading by nine points in the second half before falling 73-71 at Arizona.
The Bears found the win column at Arizona State, blowing all of a 15-point first-half lead, then holding on for a 65-61 victory.
"To come in and really have a legit chance (at Arizona) and the win (at Arizona State), I think it's fabulous," coach Mike Montgomery said. "It's a road win, baby."
No player provided a more encouraging performance in the desert than freshman wing Allen Crabbe, who matched his career-high with 17 points in both games. He missed a key late free throw in the Arizona defeat, then converted one he had to make in the final seconds against Arizona State.
"He's definitely stepping up and coming into his own," senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison said. "We're not surprised at all. It was just him getting more comfortable with the college game, and he's doing his thing now. I'm proud of him."
Crabbe was reluctant to shoot early in the season, not an affliction the trigger-happy Franklin suffered. But with Franklin gone, the Bears need Crabbe to be more assertive, and he responded with a career-high 14 field-goal attempts at Arizona State.
He was 7-for-15 from the 3-point arc in the two road games.
"He was state player of the year in California -- it's not like he's a dog," Montgomery said. "He's just getting more confident."
--Freshman G Gary Franklin, who quit the team the day before the Arizona game, told coach Mike Montgomery he believes he needs to play point guard full time to reach the NBA. Franklin averaged 8.2 points per game for Cal but was converting just 29.7 percent of his shots.
--The win over Arizona State was Cal's seventh in eight games at Wells Fargo Arena and allowed the Bears to avoid their first 0-3 Pac-10 start since 1999-2000.
--The Bears dominated Arizona State inside, outrebounding them 43-27, including 28-13 in the first half. They had 18 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 19 second-chance points.
--Cal has lost 15 of its past 16 games vs. Arizona at McKale Center.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Total points scored by Cal's bench players in the 65-61 win at Arizona State.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Ladies and gentlemen, we're missing a Gary Franklin." -- A Southwest Airlines flight attendant's announcement over the intercom before Cal's flight home from Phoenix, eliciting an eruption of laughter from the Bears' players. Franklin quit the team four days earlier.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. Washington State, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: Cal has not lost to Washington State in two seasons under Mike Montgomery, but this will be a tougher matchup. The Bears were the veteran team the past two years, and the Cougars were young. Now the tables are turned, and Cal must find a way to slow Pac-10 scoring leader Klay Thompson, who has diversified his game and even become a good passer. The Bears' lone advantage may be inside, where Washington State is not particularly big or deep.
--vs. Washington, Jan. 16
KEY MATCHUPS: Even Cal's Pac-10 championship team of a year ago lost two of three to the Huskies, including the conference tournament final. This will be a very challenging assignment for Cal, which cannot match Washington's athleticism, speed or depth. Washington isn't quite the same team on the road, but it already got a leg up on the conference by sweeping a set in Los Angeles. Cal must start with neutralizing some of Washington's perimeter game.
FUTURES MARKET: Expect the Bears to continue trying to develop more depth. The loss of freshman G Gary Franklin, who quit the team the day before the Arizona game, leaves the Cal roster thin. Mike Montgomery said he would give reserves Richard Solomon, Bak Bak, Nigel Carter and Emerson Murray more opportunity to carve niches for themselves. Solomon scored 11 points on the Arizona trip, but the other three combined for just two points.
--Junior G Jorge Gutierrez played in front of his parents and 11 other family members, who drove 12 hours from their home in Chihuahua, Mexico, to watch the Arizona game. Gutierrez responded with 14 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists, then scored a career-high 21 points with three more steals against Arizona State.
--Senior C Markhuri Sanders-Frison had 13 points and 11 rebounds against Arizona State for his fourth double-double of the season, his third in the past five games through Jan. 9. He had 12 points and five rebounds against Arizona.
--Junior F Harper Kamp, who grew up in nearby Mesa, Ariz., had 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists vs. Arizona State two days after scoring 12 points at Arizona.
This was going to be a tough year for the Ducks under the best of circumstances.
Now they have been bitten by the injury bug, and the impact is obvious.
"I'm not sure we got their best shot," Washington State coach Ken Bone said after the Cougars' 77-63 win.
Oregon returns home this week and will christen the new Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday against USC.
First-year coach Dana Altman said everyone is excited about the occasion. But he entered the week unsure of which of his players might be available.
Junior point guard Malcolm Armstead, who leads Oregon in assists and steals, did not dress for the Washington State game because of a sore left knee.
Leading scorer Joevan Catron played only 12 minutes in the first half before retiring with a strained calf muscle. He scored a season-low four points.
And junior forward Jeremy Jacob, the Ducks' tallest starter at 6-foot-8, sat out the second half with his knees packed in ice. Jacobs played six minutes and took one shot.
The status of all three is unclear for USC.
"It is what it is, you just have to keep playing," Altman said after the Washington State game. "Our guys tried to compete."
Two days earlier, the problem was Washington, not attrition. The Huskies broke a close game open with an 11-0 second-half run fueled by Oregon mistakes and a leaky defense, and Washington rolled to an 87-69 victory.
"The bottom line was we didn't get any stops," Altman said. "When you don't make a couple shots there and they're converting every time, it jumped out pretty quick."
--The Ducks hit 14 of 15 from the free-throw line against Washington, but they weren't as good when they were being guarded, converting just 39 percent from the field. It was their fifth consecutive game shooting under 40 percent.
--Oregon's starters shot just 13-for-40 (32.5 percent) at Washington State.
--During the 11-0 Washington run that broke open the game in the second half, the Ducks shot 0-for-6 and had two turnovers in six possessions.
BY THE NUMBERS: 35.1 -- Oregon's field-goal shooting percentage through four Pac-10 games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We took a step in the right direction. We didn't get our goal accomplished. We had 'em on the ropes here at home -- we've just got to make that push to get over the hump." -- Senior Joevan Catron, after the Ducks' 87-69 loss to Washington.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. USC, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: The Ducks won both meetings with USC a year ago, and they should have a huge emotional edge in the first game played at the new $228 million Matthew Knight Arena. On the court, Oregon will have to match up with USC's physical frontcourt duo of Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson. Keeping Joevan Catron out of foul trouble will be critical.
--vs. UCLA, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: The edge of opening night at the Knight Arena will be gone, but another talented opponent with a huge frontline visits. UCLA features the sophomore forward tandem of Reeves Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt, but that's not the worst of it. Freshman center Joshua Smith is 6-foot-10, 305 pounds, and Oregon has no one to match against him. The Ducks' best hope is that their full-court pressure disrupts or tires out the Bruins.
FUTURES MARKET: The Ducks will continue to play pressure defense because that's the style first-year coach Dana Altman wants to implement. Through four Pac-10 games, Oregon is forcing an average of 15.8 turnovers per game, suggesting the tactic is effective. But the approach is double-edged because injuries are causing Oregon to have diminishing depth, and the effort required to press will have an impact on the Ducks' ability to execute. Their shooting percentage in Pac-10 games has suffered, and you have to wonder how much fatigue has to do with that.
--Senior F Joevan Catron shot just 5-for-14 against Washington, but he converted nine of 10 free throws to finish with 20 points. He also had 10 rebounds. It was Catron's fifth 20-point game of the season. He had a season-low four points and four rebounds in just 12 minutes against Washington State before sitting down because of a strained calf.
--Junior G Garrett Sim had 13 points each against Washington and Washington State, shooting a combined 10-for-14. In four previous games, Sim shot 6-for-25 from the field.
--Sophomore F E.J. Singler scored just six points against the Huskies and seven against Washington State, giving him four single-digit scoring game over a six-game span. In his first 10 games, Singler scored in double figures nine times.
As they return home this week to face UCLA, the Beavers may have to find a Plan C.
Neither Plan A nor Plan B worked.
Oregon State fell behind early at Washington State, battled back, then lost 84-70.
"You can't spot a team like that 19 points, and expect to win," said coach Craig Robinson, whose team got the attention of the Pac-10 with a home sweep of the Arizona schools. "We played tentatively. We played like a team who didn't think they should be 2-0."
The Beavers started fast at Washington, forging a 37-28 lead. They were outscored 75-35 the rest of the way in a 103-72 defeat.
Robinson sounded equally frustrated after the weekend's second defeat.
"I called timeouts when I thought I should have, but I don't think that is going to stop these guys," Robinson said of the conference-leading Huskies. "You have to defend these guys and play tough the entire game, or a tie game will turn into a blowout in five minutes."
Washington blew the game open with an 18-3 run to start the second half. Oregon State played into the Huskies' hands by shooting 1-for-6 with six turnovers during that critical stretch.
"Washington is a momentum team. Once they got going, it was like we were a completely different team," Robinson said.
But Oregon State reserve center Joe Burton said a lot of that is on the Beavers.
"(We) just made too many mistakes. We got relaxed. We got up by just chipping away, making layups and making easy plays," he said. "Then we starting shooting 3s and going away from our game plan."
--Oregon State shot 33.8 percent from the floor, including 7-for-21 from long distance, missed seven free throws and had 15 turnovers at Washington State.
--The Beavers led Washington 37-28 in the first half, then were outscored 75-35 the rest of the game.
--Sophomore G Jared Cunningham has scored in double digits nine straight games. But after getting five steals against Washington State to bring his season total to 46, Cunningham was held without a steal by Washington for just the third time all season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- Field goals Oregon State's starters, other than Jared Cunningham, totaled in the 103-72 loss at Washington. Those starters combined to shoot 5-for-21 from the floor.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "In the old days, we'd be 0-4. Now, we're 2-2 and we've got more games to play. We're still in the mix." -- Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, after his team was swept in Washington.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. UCLA, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: The Beavers have dropped 11 straight to UCLA, but they come into this game with better depth and athleticism than in recent years. The big question: Can Oregon State's tricky 1-3-1 zone defense bottle up UCLA's big frontline? Sophomore guard Jared Cunningham, who runs the baseline on defense and leads the conference in steals, must be a disruptive force.
--vs. USC, Jan 15
KEY MATCHUPS: The Beavers won both matchups a year ago, limiting USC to 44 and 45 points in the two games. That kind of defense would be welcome again here, but USC has improved its perimeter game and its 1-2 frontcourt punch of Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson is a handful for any team.
FUTURES MARKET: Freshman G Ahmad Starks had 10 points in the loss to Washington, but he has struggled to shoot the ball recently. He is 6-for-23 from the field over the past three games. You have to wonder if the emergence of Roberto Nelson, who became eligible at the semester break, is having an impact on Starks, whose playing time has diminished some.
--Sophomore G Jared Cunningham had 18 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists in the loss at Washington State. He added 21 points at Washington and was averaging 19.2 over his past six games through Jan. 9.
--Senior G Lathen Wallace scored 12 points off the bench at Washington State, his first double-digit game since scoring a season-high 15 points against Texas-Pan American on Dec. 12.
--Sophomore C Joe Burton, after totaling 33 points and 14 rebounds in wins over Arizona State and Arizona, was held to eight points and five rebounds by Washington State.
The Cardinal gets another chance right away to show it's ready to play with the big kids in the Pac-10 Conference. League-leading Washington visits Maples Pavilion on Jan. 13.
After opening conference play with a home win over rival Cal and a road conquest of Arizona State, Stanford played competitively at Arizona on Jan. 9 before falling 67-57.
The game was postponed one day after the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., on that left six dead.
"We wanted to make sure we respected a tragic situation and a loss of life and injuries," coach Johnny Dawkins said on agreeing to push the game back one day.
Stanford showed grit against the Wildcats in front of more than 14,000 fans, but not enough skill and physical toughness.
The Cardinal shot 2-for-12 from the 3-point arc, allowed the Wildcats to convert 10 of 17, and was outrebounded 41-26.
It was a far cry from three nights earlier, when Stanford's defense and work on the boards paved the way for a 55-41 victory.
"That's what we want our intensity to be," junior Josh Owens said. "We want it to be defense and rebounding, so we really try to pride ourselves on that. Every game we're trying to create a defensive masterpiece."
The young Cardinal wasn't able to duplicate that against the Wildcats, but Stanford didn't give in after Arizona built a 54-39 lead with just over nine minutes left. Stanford battled back within 59-54 with four minutes left but could not get over the hump.
--Stanford won at Arizona State a year after falling behind the Sun Devils 54-17 in Tempe on the way to an 88-70 defeat.
--Stanford outrebounded Arizona State 25-8 in the second half and held the Sun Devils without a field goal over the final six minutes.
--Ex-Cardinal stars Josh Childress, Robin Lopez and Landry Fields were in the stands at Arizona State, cheering for their alma mater.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- Games in which Stanford had held the opposition to fewer than 60 points, through Jan. 9.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If anything, I think it made both teams want to get out there and play even harder given the tragedy. There are other things more important and bigger than basketball." -- Junior G Jeremy Green, on playing the day after a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., took six lives.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. Washington, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: The teams have played six times the past two seasons, and Washington has won each time. Given that Stanford has no seniors on its roster, that means no Cardinal has experienced defeating the Huskies. The trick here will be coaxing Washington into a poor perimeter shooting game on the road and limiting the Huskies' transition opportunities. That's been a strength of Stanford, which surrenders offensive rebounding in favor of quickly retreating to set its defense.
--vs. Washington State, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: The Cardinal and Cougars have split games the past two seasons, each winning at home. But for Stanford to continue that trend, it will need to keep track of two dangerous perimeter scorers, star junior Klay Thompson and JC arrival Faisal Aden. The Cardinal may have an edge inside, where the duo of Josh Owens and Dwight Powell could give trouble to a smallish Washington State lineup.
FUTURES MARKET: Freshman PG Aaron Bright is gradually becoming more comfortable as the Cardinal's floor leader. Over the past five games through Jan. 9, he was averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 assists and just 1.4 turnovers. Coach Johnny Dawkins did not start him early in the year so that Bright could become more proficient defensively, but the presence of junior Jarrett Mann, a defensive stopper, helps that situation.
Bright had a tougher time in the loss at Arizona, shooting 1-for-6. After making his first 20 free throws this season, he missed twice from the line.
--Junior F Josh Owens had 15 points and 11 rebounds at Arizona State, his third double-double of the season. He added 18 points in the loss at Arizona.
--Junior G Jeremy Green shot just 2-for-10 in his seven-point performance at Arizona State. It was his lowest-scoring game since he logged just two points in Stanford's Nov. 15 season opener vs. San Diego. He 15 points but shot just 5-for-14 in the loss at Arizona.
--Junior G Jarrett Mann reached double figures for the first time this season with 11 points to go with seven rebounds against the Sun Devils.
UCLA fans can expect Malcolm Lee back for his senior season next year, but they may not see Tyler Honeycutt return for his junior campaign.
That was the evaluation an NBA executive gave the Los Angeles Times regarding the two Bruins.
The 6-foot-8 Honeycutt, who had 10 points and nine rebounds but also seven turnovers in the Bruins' 63-52 loss to rival USC on Jan. 9, projects as a likely lottery pick in what the NBA executive termed "probably the worst draft in 10 years."
The source was unnamed because NBA officials are not allowed to discuss college players publicly.
"Should Tyler Honeycutt be mid-to-late lottery?" the executive said to the Times. "In a normal year, absolutely not. But in this draft, it's awful. You start wondering, what wing players go ahead of him?"
Honeycutt said he hasn't given the question much thought yet.
"That's something I'd have to sit down with my family and talk about," he said. "It just depends on the type of year I have and how my mind-set is after this year."
Lee seems almost certain to be back.
The executive said Lee should make the decision because he "is not a first-round pick." One mock draft projects Lee to go in the middle of the second round, and another suggests he will go undrafted.
Lee, who shot 1-for-5 and scored five points against USC, said he has not given next year any thought.
--The Bruins shot 57 percent (12-for-21) in the first half against USC, then cooled to 26 percent (7-for-27) in the second half. They finished with 16 turnovers.
--UCLA has lost four straight to its cross-town rival, and the series is even at 11 wins apiece dating back to the start of the 2001-02 season.
--Junior PG Lazeric Jones, who suffered a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger during the Dec. 31 game against Washington, was fitted with a split. He shot 0-for-7 and scored two points against the Trojans.
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Consecutive shots UCLA missed in the second half against USC while starting the period 3-for-18 from the field.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I never boxed out in high school. I was always a more athletic guy. But at the next level and the better players you play (in college), guys are just as big and athletic, so it can cost you." -- UCLA sophomore F Tyler Honeycutt.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at Oregon State, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: The Bruins will need to unlock Oregon State's 1-3-1 zone defense in order to add to their 11-game winning streak in this series. Guards Lazeric Jones, Malcolm Lee and reserve Jerime Anderson must be patient and smart with the ball and make certain the Bruins work to exploit their advantage inside.
--at Oregon, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: The assignment here is somewhat different than at Oregon State. The Ducks' defense will pressure all over the floor, hoping to create transition opportunities for its offense. If UCLA can get the ball into the frontcourt, it should be positioned to exert its advantage inside against an Oregon lineup with no player taller than 6-foot-8.
FUTURES MARKET: Very quietly, sophomore Brendan Lane was giving the Bruins steady play as a backup frontcourt player. Playing behind the league's best frontline, Lane gives coach Ben Howland between 20 and 30 minutes each night, and over the past seven games before Jan. 9 had produced 4.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. However, he had no points and one rebound in 21 minutes against USC.
--Sophomore F Reeves Nelson scored 14 points and had eight rebounds in the loss to USC, but he managed just two points in the second half.
--Freshman C Joshua Smith had eight points before fouling out vs. USC.
--Junior G Jerime Anderson shot 4-for-5 from the field and scored a season-high 11 points off the bench against USC.
Believe it or not, USC once defeated UCLA 44 consecutive times in basketball. Sure, it was back during the Franklin Roosevelt administration, well before John Wooden arrived at UCLA.
But you have to go back to the end of that run in 1943 to find a USC winning streak longer than the four-game run the Trojans are enjoying in the wake of beating the Bruins 63-52 in front of a sellout crowd at the Galen Center on Jan. 9.
UCLA coach Ben Howland told reporters in the days before the game he didn't realize USC had won three in a row over his club. Bet he knows the score now.
The Trojans, 11-11 against the Bruins since the start of the 2001-02 campaign, dominated in the second half Jan. 9 to come back from a 30-28 deficit.
USC allowed UCLA to shoot 57 percent in the first half, then clamped down and held the Bruins to 26 percent in the final 20 minutes. USC's past eight opponents have been held under 40 percent shooting.
USC tried to undermine itself by missing seven of its first 10 free throws, then made five of its last six. While the Trojans delivered in the clutch, UCLA fell apart, missing 10 straight shots from the floor at one point in the second half and turning the ball over 16 times for the night.
The Trojans may not own Los Angeles, but if they beat UCLA on Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 2, they'll own a win streak against their rivals longer than any they have enjoyed since World War II.
--The emergence of transfer PG Jio Fontan has diminished the playing time of freshman G Bryce Jones, who averaged 28.1 minutes and 11.3 points through 10 games but contributed just 12.5 minutes and 3.7 points per game the past six games through Jan. 9.
--Senior F Alex Stepheson, who broke his left hand Nov. 13 during the Trojans' season opener vs. UC Irvine, had worn a brace on the hand since. But he had it examined last week by his doctor, who said it "looked good," prompting Stepheson to begin practicing without the brace.
--USC had won six of its past eight games through Jan. 9, and its only two losses since Nov. 29 were in overtime and by two points in regulation.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Times before now that USC had beaten UCLA four straight games, dating back to 1944.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "My mom has been taking me to these games ever since I was little." -- USC freshman Bryce Jones, on the L.A. rivalry with UCLA. Jones contributed six points to the Trojans' victory over the Bruins on Jan. 9.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at Oregon, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: The Trojans are the lucky team designated to help Oregon christen its new $228 million Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks -- and their fans -- are sure to be emotionally charged for this game, so USC must weather the game's beginning and try to deflate the atmosphere. If the Trojans can turn this into just a game, their strength up front should provide them the winning advantage.
--at Oregon State, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: USC struggled mightily against the Beavers last season, squandering a 10-point lead on the road and scoring just 44 and 45 points in two losses. USC shot a combined 34 percent in the two games, made just 29 percent of its 3-point tries and turned the ball over 39 times. Anything will be an improvement over that, but junior PG Jio Fontan shoulders the load of running the offense against Oregon State's 1-3-1 zone.
FUTURES MARKET: USC expected a big group of potential recruits for the UCLA game, including SG Shabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas, regarded among the top five prospects nationally in the class of 2012. Also expected were Santa Ana Mater Dei junior forward Xavier Johnson, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon sophomore guard Jahmel Taylor, and Playa del Rey St. Bernard sophomore guard Brandon Randolph.
--Junior F Nikola Vucevic had 20 points to lead USC's win over UCLA. Vucevic had reached the 20-point plateau five times this season through Jan. 9.
--Senior F Alex Stepheson had 13 points and 16 rebounds against the Bruins, his third double-double in the past four games. He was averaging 11.5 points and 12.0 rebounds over that stretch.
--Junior PG Jio Fontan contributed 10 points to the win over UCLA.
This is how it works right now for Washington and its enviable depth:
Starting guard Abdul Gaddy goes down with a knee injury that will cost him at least the rest of the regular season.
So senior sixth man Venoy Overton moves gracefully into the starting lineup.
And freshman Terrence Ross explodes onto the scene as a dynamic new bench force.
The Huskies did not skip a beat after Gaddy suffered a torn left ACL in practice two days before the game against Oregon.
Ross took advantage of the increased opportunity to score a career-best 25 points in Washington's 87-69 win. Two days later, he contributed 14 points to a 103-72 rout of Oregon State.
Over the past four games through Jan. 9, the 6-foot-6 wing had averaged 16.0 points on 45.5 percent 3-point shooting and 56.3 percent overall accuracy.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said Ross began to show his massive potential during a practice session a couple weeks earlier.
"There's no coincidence we're seeing Terrence Ross' athleticism more," Romar said. "When you're thinking, it takes your athleticism away. He hadn't learned how to play right yet.
"That day (in practice), defensively he was in the right spots. He was doing what he was supposed to do."
Making that connection, that shooting is only a part of the game, is a big leap for freshmen, according to Romar.
"If you're going to play for a program that's going to be successful," he said, "you have to guard, you have to run certain things and get the ball to the right people in the right spots, you have to remember everything that you're doing offensively and defensively."
Ross said the college game is becoming more second nature now.
"I'm getting more used to it. It's a little faster now," Ross said. "I'm just settling down and getting used to it, and not thinking so much."
In his 25-point outburst against Oregon, Ross shot 11-for-18, including three dunks that energized the crowd of 9,692 fans.
"I can't say that's the best I'm able to play because, honestly, I feel there's so much more that I can do," Ross said. "I'm just reacting. I don't plan any of it. I'm just doing what feels right."
--At least one opposing coach wonders how much the Huskies will actually miss sophomore G Abdul Gaddy, out for the remainder of the regular season after tearing his left ACL. "He's a good player," Oregon coach Dana Altman stressed, "but the great thing about (the Huskies) is they've got a lot of depth. They've got a lot of players who can play."
--Washington enjoyed its fifth 100-point game of the year against Oregon State, but coach Lorenzo Romar said offense has not been the key to the Huskies' success. "Our team understands ... if we go on a run, if we begin to create distance between our opponent, it's because of our defense, not because we started hitting shots," Romar said. "It's because we started getting stops, and once we start getting stops, everything else takes care of itself."
--The Huskies shot 51.4 percent against Oregon, then converted 55.7 percent against Oregon State.
--The Huskies had won 11 straight games against Pac-10 opponents through Jan. 9, 10 straight home games and eight straight vs. Oregon State.
BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Years since Washington last opened the Pac-10 with four straight victories. The Huskies were 6-0 to start the 1984 conference schedule.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think that second half was as close to the best half as we've played all year." -- Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar, after Washington scored 63 second-half points against Oregon State.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at Stanford, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: The Huskies want to maintain the status quo against the Cardinal, against whom they are 6-0 the past two seasons. Washington has greater depth, quickness and experience than Stanford, but it must be wary of the Cardinal's improving frontcourt. Josh Owens will challenge Matthew Bryan-Amaning, and freshman Dwight Powell recently had a 20-point breakout game against Cal.
--at Cal, Jan. 16
KEY MATCHUPS: The Huskies will try to use their depth to exhaust a Cal team with no experienced depth. The Bears will want to keep this game played in the 60s, so Washington's assignment is to push the pace, score in transition and not allow the Bears to establish Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison inside.
FUTURES MARKET: Senior G Venoy Overton, long regarded as a shut-down defender as the Huskies' sixth man, is in the starting lineup after the season-ending injury to starter Abdul Gaddy. There will be no drop-off with Overton in the lineup. He had eight points, seven assists and two steals in the Huskies' 103-72 win over Oregon State.
--Senior F Matthew Bryan-Amaning, the reigning Pac-10 player of the week, had 13 points and eight rebounds in the win over Oregon. He shot 11-for-14 and had 24 points to go with 15 rebounds in the win over Oregon State.
--Junior G Isaiah Thomas, sharing time at the point and off the ball, had 20 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three steals vs. Oregon. Thomas also had his first dunk in three seasons at Washington on a breakaway in the final minutes against the Ducks. Thomas had 19 points, eight assists and just one turnover against Oregon State.
--Junior G Scott Suggs, who went scoreless in two games in Los Angeles the previous week, came off the bench to score 13 points vs. Oregon. He added 12 points against Oregon State and shot 9-for-14 from the field in the two games.
According to the box scores, it was a great week for Washington State sophomore point guard Reggie Moore.
Moore had 11 points, a season-high nine assists and six rebounds in the Cougars' 84-70 win over Oregon State, then equaled his season high with 15 points to go with five assists as Washington State topped Oregon 77-63.
"He took good shots and set the tempo on offense and played well," said teammate Klay Thompson. "He had a lot of opportunities to make some plays, and Reggie's a good player, so when he has those opportunities, he will capitalize."
"Reggie did a nice job. He hit some big shots when we really needed him to early when other guys like Klay and Faisal (Aden) were not hitting those shots," coach Ken Bone said. "It was good to see Reggie step up and put a couple down."
The news earlier in the week regarding Moore was less pleasant.
The Spokane Spokesman Review reported that Moore was cited on Dec. 11 for possession of marijuana less than 40 grams and use of drug paraphernalia. The charges each carry mandatory minimums of one day in jail and a fine that usually ranges between $250 and $500.
The Whitman County prosecutor's office issued the citations after a search of Moore's dorm room.
"This is a team matter that we take very seriously," Bone said in a statement. "We initially learned about this incident Dec. 12, and at this time we have dealt with, and are still dealing with the issue.
"We will take further appropriate action if necessary."
Moore did not start the Cougars' subsequent game following the incident, Dec. 19 at Santa Clara, but he played 36 minutes and scored 15 points.
He has not missed any games since.
--The 77-63 win over Oregon was payback for last year, when the Ducks won all three meetings, including a controversial 91-89 double-overtime defeat at Pullman, Wash., that the Cougars appeared to have won until they were whistled for a celebration technical foul with 0.3 seconds left.
--While beating Oregon State for the seventh time in their past nine meetings, the Cougars scored more points (84) against the Beavers than they have since 1999.
--Washington State had 19 turnovers against Oregon State, but it shot 51 percent from the field, made 11 3-pointers and converted 21 of 26 free throws.
--Wins over Oregon State and Oregon gave second-year coach Ken Bone his first Pac-10 weekend sweep.
BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Times during his career that Washington State junior Klay Thompson had scored double digits in both halves of the same game, through Jan. 9.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That left a bad taste in our mouth for the whole year." -- Washington State junior Klay Thompson, referring to a controversial 91-89 double-overtime loss to Oregon last year at Friel Court that Washington State appeared to have won until the Cougars were whistled for a celebration technical foul with 0.3 seconds left. The Cougars avenged that defeat with a 77-63 home victory Jan. 8.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at Cal, Jan. 13
KEY MATCHUPS: Klay Thompson and his teammates will be looking for their first win over Cal after four straight defeats the past two seasons. Washington State has a big edge on the perimeter, but the Cougars must guard against the Bears' frontcourt 1-2 punch of Harper Kamp and Markhuri-Sanders Frison, which is playing with increasing confidence.
--at Stanford, Jan. 15
KEY MATCHUPS: Stanford has been very solid at home and will try to attack the Cougars with a physical style. Klay Thompson is likely to face defense from 6-foot-4 junior Jarrett Mann, whose spot in the starting lineup is based almost entirely on his ability to take on the opponent's top scorer. The Cougars have averaged just 56 points in two defeats at Maples Pavilion the past two seasons.
FUTURES MARKET: The Cougars need more rebounding from junior PF DeAngelo Casto, their one truly physical frontline player. Washington State ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin, and Casto's only real help on the boards is from Washington State's guards. Castro is averaging 6.0 rebounds a game, and his only double-digit outing of the season was a 10-rebound game against Santa Clara back on Dec. 19. A year ago, he had eight games of at least 10 rebounds, including two in which he pulled down 14.
--Junior G Klay Thompson had 29 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the win over Oregon State. It was Thompson's third career double-double, his second in as many games. He added 16 points in the win over Oregon, moving into ninth place on Washington State's career scoring list with 1,379 points through Jan. 9.
--Junior G Faisal Aden, finding his comfort zone as Washington State's sixth man, had 15 points and shot 3-for-7 from 3-point range against Oregon State.
--Junior G Marcus Capers had 13 points and nine rebounds in the win over Oregon. Capers, who is 6-foot-4, was averaging 5.1 rebounds per game through Jan. 9.
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