It’s a preference that UCLA mentor Mick Cronin has increasingly pondered in the latest months: Myles Johnson or Cody Riley?
For most of the season, it appeared the choice was manufactured for him.
As a veteran of a Closing Four team who complemented his interior scoring with a responsible jump shot, Riley commenced the year as the lone starting major gentleman in the Bruins’ four-guard lineup. But a knee injuries experienced in the initial 50 percent of the season opener, merged with a almost monthlong COVID-19 layoff for his crew, retained Riley out for two months.
Into the void stepped Johnson, the graduate transfer from Rutgers who was acknowledged for protection and rebounding. He presented both as a able substitution, starting up each individual match Riley skipped.
When the Bruins resumed their year in early January, Riley returned as effectively, going again into the setting up lineup. Having said that, his scoring and rebounding lagged as he struggled to spherical into form, opening the door for Johnson to substitute him as the starter final 7 days.
Johnson proved a defensive and rebounding force in 3 consecutive victories, even if he was mainly passive on offense, chucking virtually every offensive rebound to teammates on the perimeter. A lot more of that passivity in the to start with 50 % Thursday evening from Oregon, compounded by the Bruins’ inability to make exterior shots, prompted Cronin to switch Johnson with Riley to commence the next half.
“I was trying to get any individual that we could go to inside,” Cronin spelled out following the No. 12 Bruins’ 68-63 reduction. “We necessary to hold heading into Cody and Jaime [Jaquez Jr.] in the block simply because of the way we were taking pictures the ball and we got absent from it and that is why we stopped scoring — that was the crucial to finding us back in the recreation.”
Riley scored 10 of his 12 points in the next 50 %, reviving the discussion about which huge male Cronin really should prioritize when UCLA (20-6 general, 12-5 Pac-12 Meeting) faces Oregon Condition (3-23, 1-15) on Saturday afternoon at Gill Coliseum in what quantities to a have to-win circumstance for a Bruins group that has dropped four of its previous 5 street games.
The flip side of Riley’s offensive barrage was that his protection and rebounding could not match what Johnson furnished. Johnson’s 4 rebounds in 13 minutes matched Riley’s output in that classification in practically 27 minutes. Riley also surrendered a flurry of six speedy details to Oregon’s Franck Kepnang early in the second half as the Ducks extended their guide.
The largest component as to which UCLA huge man will get the most minutes likely ahead could be the team’s desires. The Bruins extravagant them selves a protection-first crew but also confirmed the need to have for consistent offense in their reduction to the Ducks on a evening when they performed reasonably very good defense.
It didn’t support that three of UCLA’s leading four scorers had been possibly sidelined or hobbled by injuries. Taking pictures guard Johnny Juzang departed late in the initially 50 percent with an ankle injuries, by no means to return. Jaquez continued to engage in on dual ankle braces although badly lacking numerous jumpers. Place guard Tyger Campbell performed through a bothersome shoulder harm that compelled him to miss out on the previous sport. The trio blended for 29 factors, nicely down below their time ordinary of 40.
The stats mainly inform the story of Riley’s and Johnson’s respective strengths. Riley is averaging 8. points on 49.% shooting but only 3.4 rebounds in 21.9 minutes for every match. Johnson is averaging 4. points on 61.4% taking pictures to go with team highs of 6. rebounds and 1.4 blocked pictures in 18.7 minutes for each match.
Riley or Johnson? Johnson or Riley?
As the Bruins head into their most pivotal extend of the time, the debate intensifies.
AT OREGON State
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
In which: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
On the air: Tv set: CBS Radio: 570.
Update: Juzang’s availability remained in doubt mainly because of the ankle injuries he suffered from Oregon. A single period just after a run to the Elite Eight, the Beavers rank amid the worst Ability 5 convention teams and have missing 13 consecutive video games, which include an excruciating 94-91 setback from USC on Thursday in double time beyond regulation.