December 28, 2006
Bruins Open Conference Play
The top ranked UCLA basketball team will open up its conference slate with a tricky contest against the 11-1 Washington State Cougars at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday evening.
The Cougars have been the most pleasant surprise of the Pac-10 thus far, beating a ranked Gonzaga team and a talented San Diego State group over the course of the last two weeks. Washington State's only loss of the preseason came at Utah, 69-55 at the beginning of this month.
Tony Bennett has taken over for his father as the head coach, and has brought back three starters and a few key reserves to form a veteran group which knows how to run the Princeton-style offense to perfection.
The Cougars have a lot of balance on the offensive end, but are led by point guard Derrick Low and his 16 points per game. Low is a very good distributor and a smart basketball player who has been consistent from the outside this year shooting at a 44% clip from beyond the arc.
Fellow junior Kyle Weaver provides Bennett with one of the best backcourt combinations in the conference, as the 6-foot-4 shooting guard has begun to tap into that wealth of potential everyone saw from him when he came out of the Midwest two years ago. Weaver is more of a slasher than a shooter, and his long arms allow him to defend bigger wings with ease.
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