UCLA basketball notes: Shipp struggling from perimeter

first_imgUCLA’s perimeter-oriented offense flows much better when three players are scoring consistently. Guards Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison are doing their part, but Shipp has gone from having a few sub-par performances to being in a colossal slump shooting the ball. Heading into today’s contest between No. 5 UCLA and No.19 Arizona at the McKale Center, Shipp said his confidence remains high despite his shooting percentage being so low. TUCSON, Ariz. – Sophomore wing Josh Shipp grabbed the ball on the left side, rapidly tried to set his feet and launched a 3-pointer. Clink. Or clank. “I feel comfortable,” Shipp said. “They’re all right there. A lot of in-and-outs. I just have to go in the gym and work on that.” Shipp is shooting a horrid 15.8 percent (6 for 38) from 3-point range in Pac-10 play, and has made 2 of his last 19 shots from beyond the arc. Since sitting out Jan. 13 at USC with a hamstring injury, he is 3 for 24 (12.5 percent) on 3-pointers, has not reached his season scoring average in any of the nine games, and saw his scoring average drop from 14.7 to 12.8 points. Also, in UCLA’s last three games, he did not score in the first half. “Josh is tantamount to our success,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “Having him out there has been key to our success all year long. Even though he may not be shooting as well as he’d like right now, we’re not winning if he’s not playing.” No rest for Afflalo: Arron Afflalo had five first-half points at West Virginia but finished with 27. He scored 15 points in the first half against Arizona State, but was scoreless for the first 15 minutes of the second half. center_img Such swings of scoring rushes and droughts have been part of Afflalo’s season, and Howland said part of the reason may be the number of minutes Afflalo is playing. In addition to carrying a scoring burden, Afflalo is UCLA’s best defender and often draws the opposition’s top scorer, like he will today in Arizona’s Marcus Williams (who is averaging 16.7 points per game). Afflalo is averaging a team-high 32.4 minutes per game, including 33.8 per game in Pac-10 play. “It’s a lot of minutes for anybody, especially somebody who plays so hard on the defensive end of the floor,” Howland said. “And he’s incredible in that respect. He’s not ever trying to pace himself. Sometimes that may affect his offense a little bit because I’m asking him to do so much, but that’s just the way it is. I’m much more comfortable with him on the floor.” So will Howland cut down Afflalo’s minutes? “Probably not,” Howland said. Injury update: Power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (eye), point guard Darren Collison (shoulder) and center Lorenzo Mata (hip) all came out of the ASU game fine and should play today. Controlling Alfred: Within moments of entering a game, UCLA backup enter Alfred Aboya is an odds-on-favorite to commit a foul … or four. The 6-foot-8 Aboya has been productive when on the floor lately, averaging 7.3 points and seven rebounds in the past three games. However, keeping him on the floor is an issue, and was again against Arizona State. Aboya is averaging a foul every 6.4 minutes of action, which is why he is playing 16.5 minutes per game. At ASU, Aboya fouled out in 19 minutes. One foul came 90 feet from the basket and another was on a hold during an inbounds play, which was set up by another Aboya foul. So what did Howland tell Aboya? ” `It’s not smart. We need you in the game,”‘ Howland said. “It’s hard for him because he’s so aggressive. He plays so hard. It’s not like he’s not trying to do what I want him to do. He just errs on the side of aggression, which, if you’re going to err on one side of the other, is where you want him to err on.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img