UCLA forward Travis Wear sprains ankle


UCLA will try to win its first game against a Division I opponent outside of Southern California on Saturday but will do so without 6-foot-10 forward Travis Wear.

Wear suffered a high ankle sprain in the Bruins’ 71-69 loss to Washington on Thursday and is unlikely to play against Washington State. He is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 11.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

High ankle sprains generally linger, but Coach Ben Howland said Wear’s is “mild.” “There’s not a lot of swelling.”

Joshua Smith, coming off a 24-point game against the Huskies, will start. Howland said Anthony Stover and Brendan Lane will “play significant minutes.”

Smith, a Washington native, made nine of 13 shots against the Huskies while playing a season-high 26 minutes.

Howland said Smith’s conditioning is improving. “I think he was also very excited to be playing in front of family and friends in Seattle,” Howland said. “It was obviously his best game of year.”


Road worriers

This will be the true test of whether UCLA is a bad road team. The last time the Bruins lost at Washington State, Howland was an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara.

The 18-game winning streak at Beasley Arena covers three head coaches at UCLA. The Bruins have won 44 of 47 games against the Cougars since 1989.

The Bruins were buried by second-half runs in their last three road losses, and their only road win in eight games outside Southern California this season came against Chaminade in Hawaii.

The Bruins led, 65-55, with six minutes left against Washington on Thursday. The Huskies finished the game — and UCLA — with a 16-4 run.

The Bruins were tied with Oregon State, 51-51, with 14 minutes left on Jan. 19. The Beavers went on a 15-4 run and won, 87-84.


UCLA led Oregon, 37-24, at halftime two nights later. That lead was cut to two points when the Ducks scored the first 11 points of the second half. UCLA lost, 75-68.

“We have to execute, whether it’s offense or defense,” Howland said.

Norman Powell is sick

Guard Norman Powell played with the flu Thursday.

“He’s a lot better today than he was yesterday,” Howland said Friday.

Powell played 20 minutes against Washington, making one of four shots. He missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.

Reviewing the tape, Howland saw a missed opportunity: “Josh [Smith] was wide open under the basket, and we didn’t see him.”