The most difficult stretch of UCLA’s trip wasn’t flying to Indiana to play Purdue at 9 a.m. PST. It was where the Bruins were headed after the game. Because of scheduling conflicts, they were unable to book tickets on a flight to Los Angeles through Chicago. So, when they left Purdue, their plans were to fly to Washington then catch a cross-country flight from there.
A team official said the Bruins expected to be home about midnight Saturday, although with snowstorms expected on the East Coast, it was anyone’s guess.
The UCLA basketball team travels on commercial flights, but not every school does the same. Indiana, for instance, has its own jet to transport the Hoosiers. Not surprisingly, the plane is featured prominently in the media guide.
Had UCLA lost to Purdue, it would have been the first time since the 1987-88 season that the Bruins entered Pacific 10 Conference play with a losing record.
Jason Flowers started at shooting guard for the Bruins, who have changed their starting lineups five times in nine games. Coach Steve Lavin said he started Flowers to “give the team a spark” and to try something different with Ray Young, letting him watch from the bench for a few minutes to get a feel for the tempo of the game.
“Jason practiced very hard the last couple of weeks,” Lavin said. “He’s kept a great attitude in spite of playing limited minutes. . . . I think it’s important to reward the kids that have a great attitude and work hard every day in practice. It sends a message also to the rest of the team. You’ve got to keep working because you don’t want a country-club environment.”
* Thursday vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m., Pauley Pavilion, Fox Sports Net 2--The Bruins split their series with the Huskies last season, winning at home and losing on the road. Washington finished 10-20 and in a tie for eighth in the Pac-10.