Friday, November 26, 2010

UC Riverside here - Sunday - 2 p.m.

The great Scottish poet Robbie Burns' heart was always in the Highlands although we're quite sure it wasn't Riverside, CA that he had in mind. Said city was named for a spot on the Santa Ana River and does have an elevation of 860 feet but, yes, there are some surrounding mountains.

Nevertheless, it is the Highlanders from southern California coming to Walt McPherson Court on Sunday for a 2 p.m. game. There was some confusion about start times but it is 2 p.m.

Jim Wooldridge is the UCR head coach. He possesses some NBA flavor, having assisted with the Chicago Bulls (along with former Spartan coach Phil Johnson) when Tim Floyd was there and is most likely recognized as the former top guy at Kansas State. Former Spartan assistant coach Dennis Cutts is at Riverside aiding Wooldridge.

The Highlanders own a 1-3 overall record, nabbing a win against host Southern Methodist in Dallas while losing 90-75 to Lamar and 69-58 to Portland State as part of a tournament at SMU and falling to UNLV in Vegas 85-41.

Shooting guard Phil Martin is the sole player in double figure scoring at 13.4 ppg. He's a 6-foot-4 junior who is shooting 58% overall but just 29% on his three-point attempts. Martin is also third on the team in rebounding at 4.6 boards a contest.

6-foot-7 forward BJ Shearry is adding 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds a game.

6-foot-7 Tyquan Brown leads the Highlanders on the boards with 7.4 caroms a contest.

The starters for Riverside:

* Javon Borum 5-foot-11 (he possesses good quickness and strength but is shooting 26%, 20% on threes)

* Phil Martin 6-foot-4 200

* Kareem Nitoto 6-foot-1 185 (he's a native of Oakland, a transfer from Hawaii) and probably the best backcourt defender -- look for friends and family to be in attendance)

* Tyquan Brown 6-foot-7 215 or Elliott Berry 6-foot-7 210 or BJ Shearry 6-foot-7 220 upfront

The Highlanders are shooting just 41% from the floor but only allowing opponents to make 43% of their attempts. Plus, UCR own a +5 rebounding edge at 39-34 and has nabbed 24 more offensive boards than its collective opponents.

As for scoring, Riverside is at 66 ppg while giving up 72. Remarkably, Woodridge's squad has attempted only 55 three-point shots to date to 123 for opposing teams -- a remarkable differential.

The UC Riverside broadcast starts at 1:30 p.m. (PST) and will be available on KSJS and KLIV (1590 AM, San Jose).

The Highlander roster (by position, alphabetized)

Javon Borum G 5-11 190 Sr.
Daymond Cowlah G 6-0 180 Fr.
Harrison Gaines G 6-0 170 Jr.
Phil Martin G 6-4 200 Jr.
Kareem Nitoto G 6-1 185 Jr.
Andy Saharan G 6-5 180 So.
Delonte Taylor G 6-5 205 Jr.

Elliott Berry F 6-7 210 Jr.
Kevin Bradshaw F 6-8 225 Jr.
Tyquan Brown F 6-7 215 Jr.
BJ Shearry F 6-7 220 Jr.
David Chavarria F 6-7 220 Jr.

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