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Ben Ball Gameday Roundup: Going For 100

There is a basketball game tonight at Pauley and it's kind of a big deal if you are a fanatic of Ben Ball. Coach Howland is going for number 100. From Bruin Basketball Report:

Coach Ben Howland seeks his 100th career victory at UCLA when his No.8 ranked Bruins host the Idaho State Bengals Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Howland, in his fifth season at the helm in Westwood, has a 99-42 record as head coach at at the school.  Only four coaches in UCLA history have more than 100 wins: John Wooden (620), Jim Harrick (192), Pierce "Caddy' Works (173), and Steve Lavin (145).
Yeah, I crossed out the last name because it doesn't belong in that list. My personal preference is to redact everything from the record books from 1996-2003, but that's another story.

Anyway, so the Bruins are taking on Idaho State, and apparently this means some painful memory. Pucin of course loves recalling bad Bruin basketball memories and she doesn't disappoint this am:
It was truly the end of the UCLA basketball dynasty.

On March 17, 1977, Idaho State upset the second-ranked Bruins, 76-75, in the second round of the NCAA West Regional in Provo, Utah. Steve Hayes, the Bengals' 7-foot center, had 27 points and 12 rebounds. Jeff Cook, a 6-10 forward, had 14 rebounds and eight points. The loss ended UCLA's run of 10 consecutive Final Fours.

"They were just better than us," recalled UCLA forward Marques Johnson, who had 21 points -- 19 in the first half before the Bengals switched to a box-and-one defense.

Today, eighth-ranked UCLA plays Idaho State at Pauley Pavilion in the fourth meeting between the teams. The Bruins have won twice, but it is the first game the teams played in the 1977 NCAA tournament that was dynasty-ending.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland remembers watching the game. He was a sophomore at Santa Barbara City College and his team was playing in the state tournament in Fresno.

"We all rooted for UCLA," Howland said. "And we couldn't believe Idaho State was going to win, a small Big Sky school against the almighty Bruins."
If you love torturing yourself you can go on to read rest of the story. I will move.

Yesterday, we read about how DC is adjusting himself after coming back from injury. Today we get to read about Roll playing through pain:
Roll has played in two games since rupturing the plantar fascia in his left foot but has yet to find a rhythm. He played just five minutes against Texas and 11 against Davidson - with just one point - in the Wooden Classic.

UCLA was down by 16 and 18 points, respectively, in those games, so there wasn't time to allow Roll to find his groove.

"He was 0 for 5 in 11 minutes," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "I thought he was pressing a little bit. His first shot of the game against Davidson was a bad shot, a leaping, leaning, off-balance, bad shot. I want Mike to take good shots. When he does that, he really helps his team.

"If he's forcing the issue, it's a problem. That's natural. He's getting back out there. He's excited. He wants to get it going. He's pressing a bit to get back, to make up for lost time because he was playing so well before his plantar fascia ruptured. It's a normal human-nature type thing."

Howland said he thought Darren Collison - who is still wearing a brace on his sprained left knee - was pressing a bit in his return, too. He thought Collison played well in the second half against Davidson.

"Like any kid that's just coming back, I think both he and Mike were pressing a little bit," Howland said. "The second half, Darren really settled down and played really well. I think Darren is getting closer and closer to where he was before he hurt his knee."
Hopefully neither Roll nor DC force the issue tonight and play within themselves. Right now I couldn't care less whether they have monster games during this time of the year, we will need them for protracted battles through the conference season and then of course the Big Dance.

Back to today's game BBR has the notes on Idaho State:
Idaho State (2-6) play in the Big Sky Conference.  In their last contest on Wednesday, they lost to Boise State at home, 93-61.  The Bruins last played Idaho State in a regular season game during the 1983-84 season.

The Bengals have not played particularly well this season, they average an anemic 59.2 points a game on 40.4% field goal shooting and make just 24.2% on three-pointers.  In the meantime they allow opponents 72.1 points a game.  They've also been outrebounded by an average of 35.9 to 31.1. in games this season.

Idaho State is led on offense by junior guard Matt Stucki (6'6, 210) who is averaging 12.6 points on 44.4% shooting.  Stucki can shoot from the perimeter and take it to the basket.  Against Boise State, he scored a game-high  23 points.

UCLA's best perimeter defender Russell Westbrook will be matched up against Stucki.  Westbrook has impressed Coach Howland with his improved defense this season, having held both Texas's A.J. Abrams and Stephen Curry well below their respective season scoring averages.
As usual make sure to read the rest of the excellent preview. Guess what Idaho State is yet another team that loves playing zone. Talk about perfect timing. That is exactly what our warriors need to work on heading into January, and in the process of doing so they get to present the second best basketball coach in the UCLA's history win number 100. Sounds like a pretty good Saturday night to me. Open thread will be up later on tonight.