Saturday, September 23

Men’s basketball beats Humboldt State in exhibition match, 74-57

If the two exhibition games are any indication, the UCLA men’s basketball team still has a ways to go.

While the Bruins closed out the exhibition portion of their schedule with a 74-57 win over Humboldt State today at Pauley Pavilion, it was far from the dominant preseason victories the team has grown accustomed to over the past few seasons.

Sophomore forward Drew Gordon notched his second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and senior guard Michael Roll returned to pour in a team-high 17 points, yet the Bruins shot just 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field.

Noticeably absent was the lockdown defense and solid rebounding that have become staples of Ben Howland-coached teams. A number of Humboldt State players were able to drive by UCLA defenders, resulting in 28 points in the paint.

Yet most painful of all for Howland was the fact the Bruins were out-rebounded 46-38, including a 24-11 margin in the first half, in which the Bruins failed to secure an offensive rebound.

“Our offensive rebounding is just not very good right now,” Howland said.

Gordon believes it was a matter of the Humboldt State players, led by center Brian Morris’ 19 points and 16 rebounds, crashing the glass harder than the Bruin players.

“Humboldt State did an excellent job of keeping us off the glass, which resulted in them boarding harder than we did,” Gordon said. “I think with time we’ll definitely see the tables turn a little bit.”

If there was a significant difference between today’s game and last week’s game against Concordia, it was that the offense seemed to flow much smoother, thanks in part to the return of Roll and sophomore point guard Jerime Anderson.

After sitting out almost a month with a groin injury, Anderson saw his first action, scoring nine points and dishing out two assists in 29 minutes. A week after redshirt junior point guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid committed seven turnovers as the Bruins’ point guard, Anderson turned the ball over just twice.

“Obviously we were much smoother tonight with him in the ball game as opposed to last week when we played our first game,” Howland said.

For Anderson, it was great to be back on the floor.

“It feels real good,” Anderson said. “I definitely wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do tonight because I was cramping out there a little bit. It felt real good just to get out there on the court and play with my team and kind of get the feeling back.”

Near the end of the game Anderson began to cramp up and had to leave the floor, but after the game he said everything was fine.

Another Bruin who had to deal with some cramping was Roll, who also made his season debut today after sitting out the Bruins’ first exhibition game with a sprained ankle.

Howland praised the leadership Roll displayed on the floor against Humboldt State, pointing to one play in particular. With both teams running up and down the floor at a breakneck pace to start the game, Roll had the ball and found himself wide open for a three-pointer. Yet rather than taking the shot, Roll opted to run pass the ball, much to the displeasure of some of the 6,852 in attendance, and let the Bruins catch their breath.

“I’ve been here for a while and just kind of being a part of it, you understand what (Howland) wants, what he doesn’t want,” Roll said. “A lot of us were pretty tired at the time, so I just set it up, kick it out, and just set our offense so we could get a quick breather.”

As for the cramping?

“Game is a lot different than practice as far as intensity-wise, so we need to drink a little more water,” Roll said.


It was announced Monday that former Bruin great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is being treated for a rare form of leukemia.

The Associated Press reported that Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed last December with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Prior to UCLA’s exhibition game against Humboldt State, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero released a statement.

“Kareem is one of the most revered figures in our athletics history for his success both on and off the court, and we were shocked to hear the news of his illness,” Guerrero said. “He is a man of great dignity, and knowing Kareem, I am sure that he will win this battle and all of UCLA is in his corner.”

Howland also commented.

“Kareem is the ultimate competitor and with the fight he has, he’ll beat this thing,” Howland said. “Everyone in the UCLA family is praying and pulling for him.”

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