UCLA forward Travis Wear was cleared to play Wednesday against Washington State, but played just fifteen minutes in the Bruins’ 73-61 loss, appearing to have re-injured the same foot that has limited his availability in recent weeks.
Wear played just 15 minutes before being fouled around the rim and leaving the game with the injury. He returned to the UCLA bench, reportedly with a wrap on his right foot.
As for the Bruins, three major concerns emerged Wednesday night against Washington State, the first of which was a slow start shooting from the floor that remained throughout the game.
UCLA began 1-of-10 from the floor Wednesday, falling behind 17-2. They ultimately shot 39 percent from the floor and freshman Shabazz Muhammad was 4-of-19 from the field, including 2-of-11 from three-point range for 14 points. That leads into point No. 2: rebounding.
The Bruins were outrebounded by 23, outrebounded at that rate by a team that ranks 251st in the nation in that category. Part of that had to do with the absence of Wear, the team’s second-leading rebounder, but it also had to do with a lack of a patchwork of rebounders that usually helps UCLA to secure the glass.
And added to the shooting and rebounding problems, UCLA allowed the Cougars to shoot 49 percent from the floor, seven percentage points above the team’s average.
Now, is this a cause for long-term concern? Considering how well UCLA had played in the seven games previous, the answer would seem to be “no.” But some of the defensive problems and concerns about the lack of offensive flow first showed up during rough patches earlier in the season. UCLA will have a chance to bounce back Saturday against Washington.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.