No team has been able to stop UCLA this season, but the No. 2 Bruins have had plenty of trouble staying healthy.
The Bruins (6-0) hope to avoid further injury and record their 25th straight home win when they welcome George Washington to Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday for the programs’ first meeting.
Starting center Alfred Aboya was UCLA’s latest player to go down when he was elbowed in the right eye in Friday’s 81-47 win over Yale, breaking his orbital floor below the eye and causing blurred vision.
Aboya was cleared for practice and is expected to wear protective goggles if he sees action during Wednesday’s game.
Already without preseason All-American guard Darren Collison (left knee sprain), junior guard Michael Roll (ruptured plantar fascia) and sophomore forward James Keefe (shoulder surgery), UCLA dressed only eight scholarship players against Yale, the most important of whom was injured, too.
Standout 6-foot-10 freshman Kevin Love went to the locker room during the second half after turning his ankle, but came back to the bench before the end of the game and asked to be put in the game with UCLA already up by 39.
“I was just trying to be tough, and I did want to get back out on the floor,” Love said. “We had a substantial lead, but I wanted to get back out there and play a little bit.”
Love has lived up to his extensive hype so far, averaging a double-double with 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He had an efficient 15 on 5-of-7 shooting from both the floor and free-throw line against Yale after earning MVP honors when UCLA won the CBE Classic last Wednesday.
Love was named Pac-10 player of the week Monday.
George Washington (2-1), meanwhile, started strong Saturday against Maryland-Baltimore County, leading 28-16 late in the first half. But the Colonials were later outscored 55-15 en route to an 89-79 loss to an America East conference team that went 12-19 last season.
George Washington was playing without starting guard Maureece Rice (violation of team rules) and starting point guard Travis King (fractured knee cap).
“That wouldn’t have made any difference,” Colonials coach Karl Hobbs said. “… The game came down to who really wanted it and, clearly, they wanted it more than we did and that’s the reality of it.”
Rice, who led the Colonials with 15.8 points per game last season, will return against UCLA, but King is out for the season. Forward Rob Diggs leads George Washington with 20.0 points per game on 61.5 percent shooting, and Wynton Witherspoon, a transfer from Virginia Tech, averages 15.0 ppg.
George Washington lost three starters from last season’s team, which went 23-9 and won the Atlantic 10 tournament before losing 77-44 to Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Colonials are 0-5 all-time against teams ranked No. 2.
This is the middle contest of a three-game homestand for UCLA, which hosts No. 8 Texas in the Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge in its next game Sunday.