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UCLA basketball: Bruins already at the crossroads

November 23, 2011 |  4:18 pm

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Depending on the outcome of UCLA's game against No. 15 Michigan on Wednesday in a Maui Invitational consolation game, the Bruins will either:

  • Have notched their first signature victory of the season, moved back to within a game of .500 and gained some much-needed momentum heading into a much softer portion of their nonconference schedule.

Or...

  • Have lost for the fourth time in five games, with the victory coming over Division II Chaminade, and moved to the brink of a complete meltdown heading back to a game against another mid-major at the Sports Arena, where they are already 0-2.

For UCLA to beat Michigan, the Bruins will have to handle the Wolverines' 1-3-1 defense and get much better production out of a disappointing front line. Forward Reeves Nelson was late in arriving to Hawaii and center Joshua Smith was essentially a no-show against Kansas with one point in 13 minutes before fouling out. Forwards David and Travis Wear have continued their shooting struggles and backups Anthony Stover and Brendan Lane have been mostly glued to the bench.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland said he was considering giving senior Jerime Anderson more minutes at the point guard spot after his inspired play against the Jayhawks, something that could give the Bruins a boost. Senior guard Lazeric Jones has shot abysmally while appearing to press too much over the season's first four games.

ALSO:

Eight basketball teams to battle it out at 76 Classic in Anaheim

UCLA can't climb out of hole, loses to Kansas, 72-56

Life of a football walk-on at USC can be punishing yet rewarding

-- Ben Bolch in Lahaina, Hawaii

Photo: UCLA forward Travis Wear, right, tries to block a shot by Kansas forward Justin Wesley during the Bruins' 72-56 loss Tuesday. Credit: Eugene Tanner / Associated Press

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