January 20, 2007

No. 3 UCLA takes out No. 11 Arizona 73-69

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LOS ANGELES -Arron Afflalo scored 22 points and No. 3 UCLA defeated 11th-ranked Arizona 73-69 Saturday, sending Lute Olson to his first three-game Pac-10 losing streak in 22 years.

Darren Collison added 14 points and seven assists, Michael Roll had 13 points and Alfred Aboya grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds for the Bruins (17-1, 6-1), who improved to 14-0 at Pauley Pavilion dating to last season.

The victory kept UCLA atop the Pac-10 standings, tied with No. 9 Oregon, which played later Saturday.

Ivan Radenovic scored 21 points and Marcus Williams added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Arizona (13-5, 4-4). The Wildcats were coming off an 80-73 loss at Southern California on Thursday and were previously beaten at home by Oregon.

Olson hadn't experienced a three-game conference losing skid since 1983-84, his first season in Tucson, when the Wildcats lost to Stanford, Washington and Oregon State in February.

Only twice in Olson's 24 seasons have the Wildcats lost three straight; the previous time came last season when they were beaten at North Carolina and then dropped games at Southern California and UCLA.

Saturday's win was UCLA's fourth straight over Arizona - a first during Olson's tenure.

UCLA saw a 12-point lead dwindle to three over the final 2 1/2 minutes. Arizona outscored the Bruins 9-0 before Roll hit two free throws to keep them ahead 70-65 with 25 seconds left.

Roll had only attempted two previous free throws this season, making both.

Free throws again proved a liability for the Bruins, who were 12-of-20 from the line, while Arizona made 22-of-25.

Collison fouled Mustafa Shakur, who made both to draw the Wildcats within three with 17 seconds left. Forced to foul, the Wildcats picked on Aboya, who made both for a 72-67 lead.

After a timeout, Shakur missed a layup and Williams fouled Afflalo, who made one of two with 8 seconds to go to preserve the win. Shakur finished with 11 points.

The Wildcats have been unable to get their high-octane offense going in four of their last five games. Only once in that stretch did they score more than 80 points and win.

They were held to 39 percent field-goal shooting against UCLA, which notched the game's first double-digit lead with 6:45 remaining. The Bruins scored five in a row for a 60-50 lead.

The Bruins pushed their lead back to 10 points on Josh Shipp's dunk that got the sellout crowd on its feet heading into a timeout.

UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, coming off a career-high 14 rebounds against Arizona State, missed the game because of a sprained right knee. An MRI done Friday showed no structural damage, a team spokesman said.

There was a string of wild possessions in the first half, some with the Bruins losing the ball only to get it back in a scramble at Arizona's end and others with the Wildcats gaining and losing control as fast as they could run up and down the court.

The Bruins scored 11 points off turnovers in the half - when they shot 48 percent - while Arizona managed just two.

Down by eight, UCLA outscored Arizona 18-4, including 13 in a row, to end the half ahead 35-29. They found success penetrating the Wildcats' zone defense and Collison ended the half with his favorite kind of play - a coast-to-coast scoring drive that incensed Olson.

The Wildcats didn't have a field goal over the last 6 minutes before halftime.

For more coverage of UCLA, visit BruinBlitz.com; for more on Arizona, visit GOAZCATS.com.




 

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