Thursday , Apr , 01 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Wooden Classic features Top-10 matchup

Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) – The John Wooden Classic in Anaheim will feature
a top-10 matchup, as the sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies take on the top-
ranked UCLA Bruins from the Honda Center.

The Bruins have won all seven of their games this season and have made it
look easy for the most part, including a 78-54 rout of Cal State Fullerton
four days ago.

The Aggies have enjoyed a great deal of success this season as well. The
team opened the year with an extended seven-game homestand, winning all
seven games. However, the team ventured outside of College Station on
Tuesday and suffered a 64-52 loss at LSU, its first setback this season.

This is just the third all-time meeting between these two teams, with UCLA
winning each of the two previous matchups. However, these programs haven’t
met since 1971. UCLA is making its 10th appearance in the John Wooden
Classic and is 6-3 in this event, including a perfect 5-0 as a ranked team.

The Aggies are getting it done with efficient play at the offensive end of the
court. The team is averaging 74.3 ppg and is converting a solid 51.9 percent
of its shots. Forward Joseph Jones and center Antanas Kavaliauskas have
certainly been sharp in the frontcourt. Jones is shooting .635 from the floor,
trumped only by Kavaliauskas’ .638 shooting percentage. Jones leads the team
in scoring with 14.8 ppg, with Kavaliauskas not far behind (12.8 ppg). Veteran
guard Acie Law provides adequate perimeter balance with 13.6 ppg, shooting a
ridiculous .526 from behind the arc. Fellow guard Josh Carter gives the team
another perimeter threat with 11.0 ppg. Efficient offensive play was not
exactly what A&M brought to Baton Rouge this week, as the team scored a
season-low 52 points, on just .373 shooting, which included a mere 2-of-12
from long range (.167). Kavaliauskas and Jones were the only Aggies to finish
in double figures, accounting for 18 and 12 points, respectively.

It isn’t hard to see why the Bruins sit atop the national polls, as they are
simply getting it done in just about every phase of the game. Ben Howland’s
squad is shooting .502 from the floor, resulting in a hefty 79.7 ppg.
Defensively, the team has shined as well, limiting the opposition to just 60.4
ppg, on .413 shooting. In addition, the team is forcing 20 turnovers per game
and holds a +5.5 rebounding advantage. Four of the five starters are averaging
double figures, led by All-American candidate Arron Afflalo’s 17.1 ppg. Josh
Shipp (13.9 ppg), Darren Collison (12.4 ppg) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (1.7
ppg) can fill up the basket as well. Mbah a Moute is strong in the paint,
shooting .660 from the floor, while pulling down just over eight rebounds per
game (8.1). He is joined on the glass by center Lorenzo Mata (team-high 8.3
rpg). The Bruins actually trailed by 10 points in the win over the Titans last
time out, but in the end, the team was able to distance itself to remain
perfect on the season. UCLA forced a whopping 28 turnovers in the game,
turning them into 30 points. Afflalo led the way with 20 points. Shipp and
Collison poured in 16 and 15 points, respectively. Mata scored nine points in
the win, but made his presence felt much more on the boards, hauling in a
career-high 16 rebounds.