The last time a team from the Big Sky conference visited Pauley Pavillion, the end result wasn't particularly comforting for Ben Howland's UCLA team. On Dec. 5, the Bruins welcomed the Montana Grizzlies to Westwood, who subsequently bested their host in a nine-point victory. "I don't think it will ever happen again," sophomore forward Reeves Nelson told Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
The Bruins are hoping history doesn't repeat itself Tuesday, as Montana State travels west to face off against a UCLA team that has amassed three consecutive victories. Conversely, Montana State has been on a down spin, losers of four of its last five, with the only win in that span coming against Johnson and Wales - an NAIA school. Yet, despite recent struggles, the Bobcats feature a zone defense, which has given the Bruins troubles thus far in 2010, notably against Montana.
But if Saturday's 86-79 over No. 18 Brigham Young is any indication, the Bruins are playing much better as of late. Despite trailing early in the contest 16-6, the young bunch managed to crawl back behind a career-high 23 points from Reeves Nelson, who was named Pac-10 Player of the Week as a result.
"I liked how aggressive he was," Howland told Peter Yoon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. "He scored in a lot of different ways. He attacked the basket when we needed, he hit a really nice jump shot against the zone. He's just going to keep getting better and better. It was really gratifying to see him rewarded for his hard work."
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