Georgia-UCLA Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 20, 2012
The much-anticipated debut of freshman Shabazz Muhammad couldn't produce a win for UCLA. Perhaps a matchup with slumping Georgia will. The 11th-ranked Bruins will try to rebound from their first loss of the season Tuesday night against the Bulldogs in the third-place game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. Declared ineligible by the NCAA earlier this month following an investigation regarding impermissible benefits he received while making unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina, Muhammad finally made his collegiate debut on Monday after the NCAA ruled on Friday that the school's sanctions, which included $1,600 in repayment, were sufficient. The 19-year-old from Las Vegas hit two 3-pointers and scored 15 points off the bench in 25 minutes, but it wasn't enough as the Bruins (3-1) lost 78-70 to Georgetown. "It was really exciting to get down to the court for the first time,'' said Muhammad, a McDonald's All-American last season. "I just finally was getting the jitters out and playing college basketball for the first time and hopefully I'll get better. I think a lot better. I didn't do a lot well tonight.'' Coach Ben Howland disagreed, but there is no debate about the outstanding start fellow freshman Jordan Adams has enjoyed. The team leader with 23.5 points per game, Adams scored 22 on Monday to extend his freshman school record for consecutive 20-point games to start a season. It is the longest such streak by any Bruin since Don MacLean started with six in 1990-91. UCLA had its worst defensive performance of the season on Monday as the Hoyas hit 54.5 percent from the field, but the Bulldogs (1-3) might not present the same challenge. Georgia is shooting 36.3 percent from the field after missing 33 of 50 shots in Monday's 66-53 loss to top-ranked Indiana. "We started slow out of the gate this season and played very poorly,'' said coach Mark Fox, whose team is winless since a 68-62 victory over Jacksonville. "For 30 minutes tonight we looked like the team we thought we could be (up 30-29 at halftime) but we just couldn't make it last all game. The key is to learn to play 40 minutes, not 30 and that is the next step for our group.'' Off to their worst four-game start since 2004-05, the Bulldogs will likely try to run as much offense as possible through Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The sophomore guard, the team leader with 18.8 points per game, is the only Bulldog to reach double figures in each contest. Caldwell-Pope and Vincent Williams, a senior guard, each scored 14 on Monday. Forward Nemanja Djurisic added eight points and seven boards, but the Bulldogs were outrebounded 40-24. Georgia has 35 fewer boards than its opponents this season. Bruins forward David Wear, tied for third on the team with 6.3 rebounds per game, is questionable after sitting out the final 12:13 on Monday when he crashed to the court after trying to defend a layup attempt. "David Wear's back is really sore right now from the fall he took,'' Howland said. UCLA has won both matchups with Georgia. This is their first meeting since a 68-63 Bruins win at the Georgia Dome in 1992.
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