UCLA basketball notes: Cougars want to take it slow
Doctor knows best? Bruins center Lorenzo Mata was poked in the right eye in Saturday’s second half against Stanford and was bothered enough to have a CAT scan Monday. Mata said, “I’m pretty sure there’s nothing wrong with my eye,” but added doctors recommended he wear goggles for protection. To that, Mata laughed. “I’m not wearing goggles,” Mata said. “I don’t think it’s necessary. My eye is all right.” Culture shock: Howland said Cougars forward Ivory Clark “might be the most underrated player in our conference.” Clark also rates high on the conference’s list when it came to the level of culture shock he experienced upon enrolling at Washington State. He is from New Orleans and played for an NAIA school (Dillard University) before transferring to Midland (Tex.) College. He then was recruited by New Mexico, Wichita State, South Florida and Marshall before Washington State came calling. “It was a very different environment than New Orleans,” Clark said. “It was a tranquil and peaceful place that kind of soothed me and sat well with me.” Clark is averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Washington State leads the Pacific-10 Conference in scoring defense, is second in field-goal percentage defense and is a headache for opposing teams because of the slower tempo of their games. Bruins wing Josh Shipp said UCLA knows what it will take to trump Washington State’s defense when the No. 2 Bruins travel to face the 13th-ranked Cougars on Thursday. UCLA is second in the Pac-10 in 3-point percentage (38.1), paced by point guard and conference leader Darren Collison’s 49.4 percent. Bruins guard Arron Afflalo is shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougars are allowing a league-low 57.8 points per game, are second in field-goal percentage defense (39.4) and fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (32.5). “They’re really athletic,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “They’re second in the league in blocked shots, so they do a lot of things very well and they’re obviously very well coached.” What’s at stake: A UCLA win will give the first-place Bruins (25-3, 14-2) the outright conference title. Washington State (23-5, 12-4) can still share the crown with the Bruins, but that would require the Cougars to sweep UCLA and USC this weekend and UCLA to lose at Washington on Saturday. “They kind of play off on defense, not really aggressive & it’s kind of weak, and they try to play the passing lanes,” Shipp said. “Basically, we just have to knock down shots and force them to get out and run.” In that sense, it is a matchup of contrasting strengths.