Ben Ball Roundup: Gameday Notes

Not surprisingly Bruins are taking the loss from Monday pretty hard:

All of the Bruins had a share of the blame for Monday's loss but Anderson seems to be taking a bit more. As the point guard, he feels he should have done a better job shooting and distributing the ball.

"I put a lot of the blame on myself because I feel that for our team to be successful, I've got to be a little more successful on the floor individually," he said. "That's the pressure I put on myself, regardless of what anybody has to say about whose fault it was to lose the game.

"I know what I did in the game and I know what I didn't do well. I didn't do a lot of things well in that game. I've got to be a little bit more of a better player out there for us to be better."

Coach Howland though is sticking by his starter:

"He's still catching up conditioning-wise, skill level-wise from missing those five weeks," Howland said.

"If he's able to stay healthy and work hard, he's going to continue to improve throughout the year."

And working on getting his players to be more patient:

"The biggest thing was that offensively we took so many bad shots," Howland said Thursday. "That's the most shots a team of mine has taken since I've been here at UCLA, by 14. It was just way too many shots. Malcolm Lee took 23 shots. That's the most any player has taken since I've been the coach here at UCLA."

The 84 shots would not have been much of a problem had the Bruins been a little more accurate with them. The Bruins connected on 31 percent of their field-goal tries, which made the 84 shots stand out even more.

"We've got to be more patient," Howland said. "Instead of going 26 for 84, we need to go 32 for 60. We play less time on defense when we do that. The most important thing about offense is shot selection. I think I counted either six or seven air balls, or air banks. I don't remember seeing that many in my recent memory."

The statistical sheet backs Howland. Lee hit 7 of his 23 shots in Monday's game. Nikola Dragovic was 2 for 14, and Jerime Anderson was 1 for 11.

Howland attributed some of the offensive problems to his team being "anxious and amped up" but Cal State Fullerton's second-half zone defense deserves credit.

"Right now, early in the season, we've only had one play for that zone," said senior forward James Keefe, who scored two points off the bench. "They had a great zone. It was kind of hard to emulate the zone that they played (in practice). Our zone offense was tearing up our zone defense. They (Fullerton) played it well."

Our guys will need to be especially patient because we will probably see every opponent try to fluster us by throwing zone. LAT has more practice notes from this week:

The big men have vowed to work harder at setting screens and Howland said he would use his bench more freely to avoid another situation such as Monday's when starter Michael Roll played 49 of a possible 50 minutes.

Also, every player reported for 30 minutes of shooting before the regular practice on Thursday.

"You've always got to make some shots for a zone to get stretched out and then have more driving lanes and more post opportunities," point guard Jerime Anderson said. "I think we'll do a little bit better against the zone this game coming up."

Well I hope those guys are also putting in extra work at the FT line because at least according to the box score it cost us a victory. Speaking of stretching the bench, Howland talked about using the energy displayed by RN:

UCLA coach Ben Howland admitted that not playing freshman forward Reeves Nelson more in Monday's loss was his biggest regret.

Nelson had 11 points and sixrebounds in 12 minutes, making 4-of-6 shots, while playing in the first half.

"Reeves Nelson was really dominant (in that game)," Howland said. "The biggest mistake I made Monday night was not playing him more minutes."

Well that's one of the more endearing qualities about Coach Howland. He never hestitates from taking responsibility after tough losses. However, it will be interesting to see how his allocates his mins tonight against Bakersfield. Right now I still don't think we have a decent sampling of games to get an idea on where he is heading.

BTW I hear the usual whine about how come someone like JMM is not getting any mins. The fact that JMM didn't log a single minute during the game against Fullerton tells me one thing. It tells me that coach think JMM hasn't proved himself during practices to earn PT. If that is the case I hope JMM is working his rear end of and completely dedicating himself to learn how to play Ben Ball defense.

As for our opponents after our season opening loss, the Bruins are not in position to take anyone lightly. Cal State Bakersfield (Roadrunners) are coming into this game after beating Utah Valley by a score of 58-51 on Tuesday night. They have a record of 1-1 as their season opening loss was a heart breaker against Santa Clara (81-84) which BTW is coached by former Howland assistant (ace recruiter) Kerry Keating. If you want to pour through their numbers you can check out their stats on KenPom here.

The tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm tonight (FS West). I am looking forward to getting my first real look on Ben Ball warriors this season. We will have a game thread up. Hopefully JA, ML and rest of our guys will show off the results of a good week of practice and get this weeked started off on the right note.


This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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