Bruins had their first "game action" of this season yesterday against Cal State Fullerton at the Sport Arena. It was a "closed scrimmage" which means per NCAA rules Coach Ben Howland cannot talk about the scores of the game. However, after the game he mentioned to reporters that he was concerned about our defense:
"We've got a lot of work to do," Howland said. "We got hurt a lot defensively in transition, we got hurt a lot off of the dribble. They shot the ball at a high rate against our defense."
The teams kept scores and statistics, but Howland was not allowed to disclose that information because it would violate NCAA rules. He said that Fullerton had a difficult time against UCLA's inside players, but Howland, a stickler for defense, clearly was not pleased with the defensive effort of his team.
"My biggest concern is our defense being able to stay in front of the ball and not get beat in transition," said.
Hmm. That sounds like the same problems from last year when our guards couldn't stay in front of the ball (except for Lee and Lamb) and Reeves Nelson jogging back on transition defense.
More from the LA Times:
Howland said his team's conditioning needed improvement because the Bruins have been practicing on the high-school-length court inside the old men's gymnasium on UCLA's campus while Pauley Pavilion undergoes renovations.
Of course, the space underneath the basket belonged to the Bruins' big men, as expected.
"They couldn't match up with our size inside," said Howland, whose front line includes 6-foot-10 Joshua Smith and 6-10 twins David and Travis Wear. "That was our advantage."
Apparently the Sports Arena is all dressed up in Bruin colors and according to Howland feels "fine" as our home court. Hopefully it will not be like the Pauley morgue of last three years featuring a team often sleep walking through sloppy offense and more disturbingly lethargic defense.