It’s apparent that these Longhorns from Austin, TX own UCLA in the high profile revenue sports.
First this University of Texas hooked the Bruins in football at the Rose Bowl back in September, 49-20, and now their burnt orange basketball counterparts have done the same as they like their gridiron brethren, they went into Los Angeles – the Sports Arena in this case – and took it to UCLA once again, beating Ben Howland’s Bruins 69-59, before a crowd of 6,177 that saw the Longhorns outscore the Bruins by 21 points after UCLA took a 30-19 lead in the first half.
Longhorn guard J’Covan Brown did the most damage, scoring a game-high 22 points.
Does anyone think that the power outage at the Sports Arena, which delayed the game for 14 minutes, did something to motivate Texas and deflate UCLA?
Perhaps, but it was much more likely the fact that the two players that the Bruins were counting on to lead the team and stand out with their play, Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith, have been absolute busts to this point as they both sat out the second half, Nelson for missing a defensive assignment and Smith for being out of shape and not being able to get up and down the court, as he is clearly in worse condition than last year and, in Howland’s words, “…has a lot of work to do in terms of conditioning.”
Smith managed six points and three rebounds in 12 minutes, but made only one out of seven shots.
As for Nelson, it is painfully clear that he is a head case as he has not only been suspended for his attitude, the power forward hasn’t seemed to greatly improve as he “…had a couple of practices that were not that great,” according to Howland, and did worse than Smith against Texas, grabbing three rebounds and missing his only shot during his 12 minutes on the floor.
To paraphrase a quote from a movie that I saw, what are these guys thinking about, because it sure ain’t basketball!
It’s not my intent to completely blame those guys, but if Reeves and Smith don’t turn things around, and fast, it will be a long season for UCLA hoops, which now has very sub-par 2-5 record.
That is something that Bruin Nation does not need after the football team’s struggles this year.
Travis Wear and point guard Lazeric Jones were the Bruins’ bright spots, Wear scoring 13 points while Jones scored a team-high 21 points and grabbing five rebounds, as well as accounting for three assists.
The fact that a point guard nearly led the team in rebounds – David Wear had seven – is indeed a sad thing and a sign of UCLA’s current ineptitude.
The question now is, is this bad stretch simply that, or is it a precursor of things to come?
Unless things change, it will definitely end up more one than the other.
UP NEXT: Pennsylvania Quakers, Honda Center, Saturday, December 10, 4:00 p.m.
The Bruins will next go up against this Ivy League school in Anaheim after the team takes fall quarter final exams this week. Two of their players, Miles Cartwright and Tyler Bernardini, are from Southern California, Cartwright from Van Nuys and Bernardini from Carlsbad.
EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT: As of today (December 6), Bruin power forward Reeves Nelson has been suspended indefinitely for the second time by coach Ben Howland for the same reason he was suspended the first time, “Conduct detrimental to the team”.
Being that he, according to Howland, had some bad practices recently and was fairly belligerent while on the bench during the second half of UCLA’s loss to Texas, it is painfully clear that Nelson has not improved his attitude one iota since his first suspension, and it is also painfully clear that this young man is a head case, the biggest one I’ve seen in the UCLA basketball program in the many years that I’ve been in the Bruin community.
In my opinion, I feel that Nelson is unlikely to improve his attitude to the level that he needs to to be a contributing member of this basketball team, and it may be best if he transferred to another school.
That’s my two cents about that issue.