Every time I am out in Southern California in December I realize how much I really miss home. It’s a gorgeous morning out here in the Southland. I got in yesterday afternoon and I knew the trip was off to a great start when I ran into three Bruins in LAX. We will be going all over Southern California next couple of weeks. So as I mentioned early am yesterday, I will do my best to keep up with Bruin news and notes, but it will be sporadic and not during my usual hours.
The best part of being home is that I get to watch the basketball game in normal hours and don’t have to stay up till insane hours to finish. Bruins get to play one more time before X-Mas eve tonight. They are going to have a pretty good matchup against a 9-1 Wyoming Cowboys program. Here are the capsule notes on tonight’s game via the Sports Network:
Wyoming is racking up an impressive average of 84.2 ppg, and the club has managed to hold the opposition to 69.6 ppg on 37.5 percent shooting from the floor. The Cowboys are outrebounding foes by nearly five boards per contest, and there are four players on the roster scoring over 15 points per game. Afam Muojeke leads Wyoming with 18.6 ppg, and Brandon Ewing adds 17.5 ppg and 6.4 apg. Sean Ogirri is netting 15.6 ppg, and Tyson Johnson checks in with 15.1 ppg and 9.5 rpg. In the 23-point romp over Sacramento State on Saturday, Ogirri posted 25 points to lead his squad. Ewing finished with 20 points and 11 assists while committing just a single turnover, and Muojeke also tallied 20 points to go along with nine rebounds. Johnson and Djibril Thiam contributed 11 points each for the Cowboys, who shot 50 percent from the field and finished with 18 assists against only 10 turnovers.
It appears that Afam Muojeke, a freshmen swingman is the key lynchpin of theie team as he is not only leading the team in scoring but also chipping in with 4.6 rebounds per game. I am going to guess JH might get the assignment to match up against him as Howland has mentioned before just like AA and RW, he wants JH to take on the role of the defensive stopper of this team.
The Cowboys appear to be a guard dominated team as the other two guards - Brandon Ewing and Sean Ogirri – have also been scoring at prolific pace as mentioned above. It will be up to our backcourt to slow the Cowboys' guards down a bit:
"We just need to slow them down," UCLA swingman Michael Roll said. "They definitely have the talent to be able to take shots."
More from the Daily News on how to defend the Cowboys:
"They get points in transition, but it's not their forte," UCLA power forward James Keefe said.
"We're going to have to stop them coming down and getting the ball in the post. Any team that averages that many points has a lot of lot of weapons we're going to have to stop."
On the other side, here are Coach Howland’s take on Wyoming defense:
On defense, Howland said he expects Wyoming to play a mix of zone and man-to-man defenses. The Cowboys are holding opponents to 37% shooting, which has also led to some fastbreak opportunities.
Cowboys and Bruins have couple of common opponents:
The Bruins and Cowboys have two common opponents. UCLA beat Loyola Marymount 75-44 and Prairie View A&M 82-58. Wyoming beat LMU 62-55 and defeated Prairie View 80-75.
JS is not going to be available tonight as Howland will continue to rest him so that he recover from his sprained finger. CBH did provide some interesting observations in answering a question re. minute allocation between JS and MR:
"What does Josh bring to the table that's better than Mike?" Howland said. "No. 1, he's our best defensive rebounder, which is really an important stat for this year's team. I guess it was our last game where we were getting beat on second- and third-shot opportunities.
"(Until) that game, Josh had been our best defensive rebounder, so that's a very important thing that we're continuing to emphasize."
Roll is shooting 57 percent from 3-point range, and has made 8 for his past 10. Shipp is shooting 20.7 percent from three. Roll had two defensive rebounds in 33minutes against Mercer. Shipp is averaging 2.9 defensive rebounds per game.
Although Roll appears to be playing better offensively than Shipp, Howland is first is looking at defensive discussing why Shipp will remain the starter.
"Mike had hard time matching up with (Damion James) from Texas who was 6-7, 220 (pounds)," Howland said. "I thought Josh did a good job on him. It depends on the type of guy that it is. On a bigger guy like that, I think Josh has had more experience playing against that kind of size.
"Josh isn't shooting the ball as well as Mike. I think Josh is better off the dribble."
It will be interesting to see how the Ben Ball warriors rebound tonight. As CBH mentioned above one of the negative points from last weekend’s game was how the Mercer Bears were getting in position to get second chance points. They almost had as many offensive rebounds as us, which is a stat I am sure gave Howland cause for concern. Hopefully tonight MR, ML and rest of our guards will do a better job of ensuring they are not out of position when it comes to securing the defensive rebounds.
I haven’t seen the Cowboys play this season at all. So if any of you have had a chance to see them please make sure to point out if I am missing something obvious in my notes. The game is set to tip off at 7:30 pm PST. We will have the game thread up about an hour before the tipoff.