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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UCLA’s Collison questionable this week

    Darren Collison
    Darren Collison

    UCLA guard Darren Collison may play in this weekend’s games at ASU and No. 19 Arizona after missing the No. 5 Bruins’ 70-65 loss at West Virginia Saturday with a left shoulder injury.

    “”We’ll see how it feels,”” said UCLA head coach Ben Howland. “”I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll be ready to go by Thursday.””

    Collison injured his shoulder after getting fouled hard by USC forward Taj Gibson Feb. 7. He said it’s a day-to-day thing, in which he won’t know for sure if he’ll be available against Arizona until getting a feeling out on the court tomorrow if he goes up against the Sun Devils.

    “”It’s feeling better as the days go on,”” Collison said last night. “”I’m not exactly sure if I’ll play Thursday. For the most part I’m feeling very good.””

    Collison averages 13.0 points and 5.7 assists per game, ranking second in the conference behind UA guard Mustafa Shakur.

    Kent tears right rotator cuff this time

    Oregon head coach Ernie Kent confirmed that he tore his right rotator cuff after colliding with a UO assistant right after guard Tajuan Porter gave the Ducks a one-point lead in the final seconds of the No. 15 Ducks’ 77-74 loss to Arizona Saturday.

    “”I instantly felt the pain,”” Kent said. “”I can’t explain the pain unless you’ve gone through it, and most people who’ve gone through it know exactly what I’ m talking about.””

    Kent will wait until after the season for surgery and said he should be able to function until that time so long as he doesn’t swing his arm in the wrong direction. Kent previously tore the exact same tendons on his right side.

    After suffering the injury, which occurred while trying to call a timeout, Kent went to the floor to get his shoulder in as comfortable a position as possible to relieve the pain. Then the team doctor approached Kent and joked with him after seeing he was not seriously hurt.

    “”(He) said, ‘Are you OK?’ And I said, ‘I think I tore my rotator cuff,'”” Kent said. “”He says, ‘Well, good, you didn’t have a heart attack, go finish the game. We can fix that later.’ So spoken like a true doctor.””

    Losing is simple algebra for ASU

    Unless it springs a big upset, ASU appears headed to the first winless season in conference play since the Wildcats and Sun Devils joined the Pac-10 before the 1978-79 season.

    After losing 59-55 Saturday at Oregon State, whose only two conference victories have come against the Sun Devils, ASU faces three home games against ranked opponents before making a season-ending road trip to the Bay Area schools.

    But things aren’t as bad as they may seem. The Sun Devils have lost their last four by an average of 3.5 points per game, and they were a Christian Polk 3-pointer, which just rimmed out, from beating second-place Washington State Feb. 3.

    ASU head coach Herb Sendek compared his team to students in an Algebra I class having to take tests in Algebra II, with some trigonometry occasionally mixed in.

    “”It doesn’t mean our students aren’t doing their homework and preparing and working hard or we’re not doing a good job teaching,”” he said. “”It’s just that we haven’t been able to pass a test that’s more advanced than we’ve been at this point.””

    Because his squad is playing in a Pac-10 with as many as seven teams with legitimate NCAA Tournament aspirations, it’s as if the young Sun Devil squad, which starts three freshmen, has skipped a few grades too soon.

    “”I don’t know if we’re better than our record shows. We are what we are,”” Sendek said. “”In some cases we’ve played great basketball for our team and not been good enough to get a win on that particular night.””

    UA head coach Lute Olson said it comes down to learning how to win by finishing games.

    “”They have played people really tough, and I think that will continue to be the situation,”” he said.

    “”They’ve been right in there. It’s a case of you have to have personnel to get it done, and I’m sure it’s a difficult year for them to go through, but they can see the sun on the horizon.””

    Big week ahead for Washington

    Left for dead a few weeks ago, the Washington Huskies are back.

    Or, at least, back in the discussion as a bubble team after a 1-6 conference start, having won five of their last six games to move within striking distance of the NCAA Tournament after sweeping the Bay Area schools last week.

    But UW head coach Lorenzo Romar doesn’t expect his squad to be overconfident as the Huskies host No. 10 Washington State today before traveling to No. 7 Pittsburgh.

    “”We were 1-6 at one point, and we’re still recovering from that a little bit,”” Romar said. “”I don’t think we’re at a point where we feel like we’re invincible. I think we emotionally will be where we need to be.””

    The Cougars head to Seattle in the favorite role for once, with things being the other way around the past few seasons with the Huskies at the top of the conference and WSU near the bottom.

    Although Washington State won in Pullman, Wash., 75-47 on Jan. 20, the Huskies were playing without center Spencer Hawes and forward John Brockman wasn’t coming off conference player of the week honors like he is this time around.

    “”I don’t know if our players realize or think much about the reverse of the status,”” said WSU assistant Mike Heideman. “”We’re just working on trying to become the best we can and work on the thing we need to do to defend the Huskies and score on them.””

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