Arizona faces another physical challenge against UCLA’s double screensby Javier Morales on Mar. 15, 2013, under Sports
LAS VEGAS — UCLA used its double-screen to perfection against Arizona’s man-to-man defense in the last meeting won by the Bruins 74-69 on March 2.
The Bruins’ perimeter players moved off the ball from one side of the court to another past two screens on each side of the lane. That freed UCLA’s shooters for uncontested shots.
The Bruins connected on jumpers when they effectively used ball screens and ball movement. They shot 41.2 percent from three-point range. UCLA reserve forward David Wear made two pivotal three-pointers in the second half because of the effective double screens.
Arizona showed its most active perimeter defense of the season against Colorado on Thursday, limiting the Buffaloes’ looks from three-point range, in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal game. The Buffaloes attempted only 12 three-pointers, making five, after trying only two by halftime in their 79-69 loss.
Colorado’s limited attempts were the story of the game, especially with Colorado lacking an inside game with Josh Scott hampered by foul problems and backup center Shane Harris-Tunks out with a concussion.
Arizona must be more aggressive tonight against UCLA in the seminal game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena because of the Bruins’ double screens.
“Everybody on our side of the fence is eager and knows that it’s going to be a really, really hard fought game,” UA coach Sean Miller said. “Maybe even a harder fought game than the one we played tonight (against Colorado).”
Another chapter will be added to the Nick Johnson-Shabazz Muhammad rivalry tonight. The last time these players met in Las Vegas was on Jan. 23, 2011, when Johnson’s Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep team defeated Muhammad’s Las Vegas Bishop Gorman team 89-86 in overtime at the Cox Pavilion adjacent to the Thomas & Mack Arena.
Muhammad had 32 points in that game, 12 in overtime after Johnson fouled out. Johnson, who defended Muhammad most of that game, scored a season-low 10 points because he concentrated on stopping the high school All-American.
Muhammad is 2-0 against Johnson in the UCLA-Arizona rivalry. Johnson has his last chance — unless the teams meet again in the NCAA tournament — to get at least one victory against Muhammad at this level.
UCLA coach Ben Howland has let it be known that Muhammad will enter the NBA draft in June.
“I can’t wait, personally,” Johnson said about facing Muhammad and UCLA. “It will definitely be a big challenge. I look forward to it.”
Muhammad told the Los Angeles Times before playing in the Pac-12 Tournament that he is “definitely looking forward to putting on a show in Las Vegas.”
If the Arizona-UCLA game tonight is anything like that Findlay-Bishop Gorman clash two years ago, it will be one of the best shows on The Strip tonight.
Read the rest of the preview at WILDABOUTAZCATS.net. Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner