LOS ANGELES (AP) -- If UCLA needed more proof its program is on
the upswing, the Bruins (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) got it with their largest
margin of victory over Arizona since 1983.
Arron Afflalo scored a career-high 27 points and UCLA survived a
second-half drought for an 84-73 victory Saturday, the Bruins'
first win at home over the Wildcats in four years.
"We're heading in a positive direction, but the sweep over
Arizona doesn't mean we're there," Afflalo said.
The Bruins (19-4, 9-2) increased their lead in the Pac-10 to two
games over California and Stanford, which played later Saturday.
They swept Arizona for the first time since 1996-97 and the
11-point win was UCLA's largest over the Wildcats since a 111-58
victory 23 years ago.
The victory was salve for a UCLA program that had been battered
by huge losses to the Wildcats in recent years, including 35- and
36-point defeats in 2002-03, Steve Lavin's final season as coach.
The Bruins lost by 25 and 24 points in coach Ben Howland's first
season two years ago. Last month, UCLA won in Tucson 85-79, its
first victory there in nine years.
"I'm excited for our team," Howland said. "It was a great
win. Our defense was so active."
Besides Afflalo, whose previous best was 23 against Stanford on
Dec. 29, three of UCLA's starters were in double figures. Jordan
Farmar had 13 points, Ryan Hollins 12 and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Farmar sprained his left ankle, but Howland said he didn't think
it was serious.
Arizona (13-9, 6-5) dropped its third straight conference game
for the first time since February 1984, coach Lute Olson's first
season in Tucson. The Wildcats fell to 1-5 against ranked opponents
"We'll be judged on how we finish rather than how we're doing
right now," Olson said. "I feel confident we're going to finish
"That's a big loss," said Adams, who had three turnovers in
the game's opening minutes. "This is one of those heartbreakers.
This is one we really wanted, we really needed."
As dominant as the Bruins were in leading by 20 in the first
half, they saw Arizona hammer away in the second half and reduce a
24-point deficit to seven.
The Wildcats shot 58 percent for the game, highest of any UCLA
opponent this season, and used an effective zone defense to briefly
shut down the Bruins.
UCLA scored the first eight points of the second half before
Arizona ran off 12 in a row as part of a 24-7 run. Adams was a big
part of the Wildcats' resurgence, scoring 10 in the spurt that got
them to 65-58 with 7:43 remaining.
That's when Afflalo answered with a 3-pointer. Mbah a Moute
scored on a putback of Michael Roll's miss, then hit a 3-pointer to
keep UCLA ahead 73-60.
Afflalo found Cedric Bozeman on the left wing, and the
fifth-year senior hit a 3-pointer for a 76-62 lead with 3:21
Capitalizing on turnovers, the Wildcats scored six straight to
trail 76-68 with 2 minutes left. But Farmar converted a three-point
play in the final minute.
"We played a good 25 minutes," Olson said. "As soon as we
learn to play 40 minutes, we're going to be pretty good."
The Bruins broke the game open with a 26-9 first-half run that
gave them a 35-16 lead. Afflalo had eight points in the spurt,
which included two technicals against Arizona. Olson got the first
one when he ranted at the referees during a timeout about a holding
call on Adams.
"I guess my eyes are deceiving me, but I saw their post guy
move all the way out of bounds to get Hassan," Olson said.
"Obviously, a moving pick. You can be half-blind and still see
UCLA pushed its lead to 20 points on a 3-pointer by Farmar, just
after Adams scored his first field goal of the game with 5:02 left
in the first half. He had five more points as the Wildcats closed
within 13 before Afflalo hit a 3-pointer at the end of the half to
make it 50-34.
"That was not an easy look, that was really a pressured 3-point
shot, but he's that kind of player," Olson said.
Arizona shot 58 percent in the half, mostly on layups, but
committed 13 turnovers that UCLA turned into 20 points.
"One of the things about our team through the years is we've
tended to be very consistent," Olson said. "This year, it's the
inconsistency that's getting us."
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