(Steve Puppe photo)
News, notes and quotes on KU’s matchup with UCLA in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational today at 8:30 p.m. (CT) in the Lahaina Civic Center on ESPN while wondering if the Jayhawks can play with the same energy as they did in beating Georgetown on Monday, 67-63.
UCLA, which was ranked No. 17 in the preseason AP poll, dropped its
first two games at home to Loyola Marymount (69-58) and Middle Tennessee State (86-66) before beating Chaminade yesterday, 92-60. The
Bruins led just 40-38 at halftime before breaking the game open in the
second half with a 29-3 run.
Senior guard Lazeric Jones led five UCLA players in double figures with
19 points while senior guard Jerime Anderson added a career-high 18.
A loss to Chaminade would have given the Bruins (1-2) its first 0-3
start since losing its first eight games in the 1940-41 season.
Anderson leads UCLA in scoring thus far with 13.5 points per game,
followed by redshirt sophomore forward Travis Wear (10.7 ppg),
sophomore center Joshua Smith (10.7 ppg), Jones (9.7), redshirt
sophomore forward David Wear (9.5), sophomore guard Tyler Lamb (9.0),
and junior forward Reeves Nelson (7.0).
The Bruins average 72.0 points per game while allowing 71.7.
Ben Howland, who is in his his ninth year as head coach at UCLA, is
358-183 in his 18th year overall. He is 19-9 (.679) in the NCAA
Tournament, including 15-6 (.714) at UCLA.
SELF ON UCLA
The Bruins enters tonight's game with some momentum after their great
second half over Chaminade.
“UCLA’s labored as much as anybody, but the second half they got it
going and made a lot of shots,” KU coach Bill Self said. “They got all
their players playing. They haven’t had them all together yet until
Nelson, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, was
suspended for the Middle Tennessee State game last Tuesday and also the
first half against Chaminade. David Wear, meanwhile, was held out
against Chaminade with a concussion suffered last week.
With or without Wear today, Self knows it will be a big game between
two tradition-rich schools.
“Kansas-UCLA, that rings a pretty good bell with us and with most
people,” Self said.
Self was pleased with KU’s victory and effort over Georgetown. Junior
forward Thomas Robinson led Kansas with a career-high tying 20 points
and 12 rebounds for his third double-double this season, while Tyshawn Taylor added 16 points and Travis Releford scored 10 on 4-of-4 shooting
and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. KU won a grind-it-out game where
it shot 47.1 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from three-point
range, and 63.6 percent at the charity stripe.
The Jayhawks held the Hoyas to 40 percent shooting and just 29.2
percent from beyond the arc, while outrebounding Georgetown 37-30.
“It wasn’t the most artistic thing, but I love winning ugly games,”
Self said. “We haven’t won a lot of those the last coupe of years. This
year, we’re going to have to enjoy winning some ugly games because
we’re not always going to be fluid offensively. But that was a great
win against a really good team.
“...They guys enjoyed winning that tonight. They enjoyed playing that
way. They competed hard, I’m really happy for them.”
Self hopes the Jayhawks can continue to compete hard and win in Maui
playing UCLA today and then either Michigan or Duke on Wednesday.
“This team’s got to grow up fast, but I thought tonight we took a step
in the right direction,” Self said.
UCLA leads the all-time series with KU 10-6. However, the Jayhawks have
won the last two games in each of the last two seasons (73-61 on Dec.
6, 2009 in Los Angeles and 77-76 on Dec. 2, 2010 in Allen Fieldhouse).
UCLA won the previous showdown, 68-55, in the West Regional finals of
the 2007 NCAA Tournament in San Jose, Calif.
The Bruins won the first eight meetings in the series (dates back to
1958), while KU has won five of the last seven. The teams have met five
times in the NCAA Tournament with UCLA winning each time.
KU ranks No. 2 on the all-time college victory list at 2,040 with UCLA
No. 8 with 1,710. The Bruins and Jayhawks also rank in the top 10 all
time in NCAA Tournament appearances — UCLA 42, Kansas 40; NCAA
Tournament victories — UCLA 96, KU 88; and NCAA Tournament games played
— UCLA 131, Kansas 127.