UCLA basketball: Odds and ends from Ben Howland's media conference
There's already a full report on UCLA's attempt to shore up its defensive struggles as it enters its final exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion against Cal State Los Angeles. Here are some additional tidbits from Bruins Coach Ben Howland's afternoon media conference and a post-practice update provided by Ryan Finney of the sports information department:
Howland said it appeared as if freshman center Joshua Smith, recovering from a sprained right thumb, could play against the Golden Eagles if he practiced Monday. But according to the post-practice update, Smith's status remains a game-time decision even though he practiced. Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson will be sidelined with a strained right hip flexor and freshman guard Matt Carlino will sit out with a concussion sustained in practice Monday after taking a hard fall.
Howland said he was pleased with the energy redshirt freshman center Anthony Stover brought off the bench in the team's exhibition game against Westmont on Thursday. Stover contributed eight points, five rebounds and four blocked shots in 22 minutes.
"I don't think Anthony's necessarily going to be a big scorer for us this year," Howland said, "but he gives us a chance to have someone off the bench who can get some minutes defending, rebounding, setting screens."
That also seemed to be the role filled by sophomore forward Brendan Lane, who had six rebounds, two assists and two blocks while missing his only shot in 24 minutes against Westmont. But Howland said he expected for Lane to look to shoot more based on his play in practice.
Howland said he chastized junior point guard Lazeric Jones for taking a shot in a one-on-five situation, but the coach was pleased with some of the things Jones and fellow point guard Jerime Anderson did against Westmont.
Photo: UCLA center Joshua Smith forces Westmont's Evan Haines to pass during an exhibition game at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press