The UCLA Bruins close out a three-game homestand this evening, as they welcome the UC Davis Aggies to Pauley Pavilion. Ben Howland's Bruins snapped an ugly four-game losing streak over the weekend, topping Cal Poly 72-61. The victory brought UCLA back to .500 on the season at 4-4. Following this game, the Bruins will take on BYU as part of the John Wooden Classic at the Honda Center on December 18th. UCLA will not get its Pac-10 schedule underway until Dec. 29 against Washington State.
The Aggies are one game under .500 on the year. The team has been idle since a Dec. 4 blasting of Notre Dame de Namur (80-53). UC Davis, which competes in the Big West, will take on North Dakota State on Friday, before hosting Southern Utah five days later. The team will open its Big West slate on Dec. 28 against Cal State Fullerton.
This is just the third time that these two teams have met. UCLA has won both prior meetings, including a 76-48 rout the last time during the 2007-08 campaign.
The Aggies have had plenty of time to reflect on their biggest win of the season, as the team destroyed Notre Dame de Namur back on December 4th. UC Davis handed out a season-high 20 assists and hit a school-record 15 three- pointers in the lopsided affair. All nine active players scored in the game, led by Eddie Miller's game-high 15 points. Joe Harden and Tyler Les each posted 12 points. It hasn't been that easy to post gaudy offensive numbers on the year for UC Davis, as the team comes in averaging just 65.0 ppg. Harden has been reliable however, pacing the team in both scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.1 rpg). Mark Payne (12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is next in line in both categories and also tops the team with 31 assists.
Thanks to a big night from freshman center Joshua Smith, the Bruins were able to end their ugly four-game losing streak with an 11-point victory over Cal Poly on Saturday. Smith finished the game with a career-high 19 points and completed a double-double with 12 rebounds. Reeves Nelson added 13 points to the cause, while Tyler Honeycutt chipped in with an all-around effort consisting of 11 points, eight boards and four assists. The Bruins are averaging a rather pedestrian 72.4 ppg this year, but the team does have scoring depth and is shooting the ball well (.461). Four of the five starters come into this contest averaging double digits, led by Honeycutt (16.0 ppg). Nelson is next in line (13.9 ppg) and the two have formed quite a rebounding tandem, with 8.0 and 8.4 rpg, respectively. Lazeric Jones (11.0 ppg) and Malcolm Lee (10.1 ppg) provide backcourt balance.