By Maxx Wolfson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Saturday January 18, 2003
UA likely to move back to No. 1 after Duke losses
WESTWOOD, Calif. - In what's becoming typical for the UA basketball team this season, start slow and finish strong, it happened again Saturday afternoon against UCLA.
But this time Arizona poured it on the struggling Bruins 87-52 in a game which will likely move the Wildcats back into the nations top spot after No.1 Duke lost to Maryland.
"It doesn't really matter to me," said UA head coach Lute Olson about his team regaining the No. 1 spot in the rankings.
Arizona, which handed the Bruins their worst home loss in their history, completes the sweep of the Los Angeles schools for the first time since 1993.
"It's a frustrating loss and I know that we're capable of playing better basketball," UCLA head coach Steve Lavin said.
The Bruins all but gave up in the second half as UCLA looked sluggish and appeared to just be going through the motions, all the while being booed loudly by the hometown fans.
"It's sad to see them getting booed at home," said Los Angeles native Hassan Adams, who scored 11 points in just 14 minutes.
The win gives Arizona a season-long eight-game winning streak and improves its record to 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference, while the Bruins fall to 4-9 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
Despite winning by 35 points, nobody for the Wildcats really stood out offensively, as five Arizona players scored in double figures.
"We knew what we had to do to get a win," UA center Channing Frye said.
Both UA pre-season senior All-American candidates Jason Gardner and Luke Walton scored a combined three-points in the first half. Gardner finished with 11 points and Walton had five.
It got so bad at Pauley that when UCLA head coach Steve Lavin took out regular bench players Mercedes Lewis and Janou Rubin, the crowd booed when he put back in the starters. The Bruins have now lost seven home games and four straight, the most ever for a UCLA team.
"They have always been such a dominant team," said senior Luke Walton, who grew up as a UCLA fan. "It's sad to see right now."
But the only time the crowd was loud was when it was booing as it was quiet the rest of the time. Most of the reason for the Bruin faithful not having much to cheer about was the play of UCLA's best player Jason Kapano. The senior, who came in averaging 17.8 p.p.g., had only four points on 2-of-7 shooting as he was covered by both sophomore Salim Stoudamire and freshman Andre Iguodala. Kapano scored a combined 45 points last season in the team's two meeting.
"I don't know his mentality right now," said UA assistant coach Jim Rosborough. "We didn't give him many looks."
Both teams struggled in the first half, with Arizona shooting just 39 percent from the field and the Bruins just 25 percent.
"I know we are capable of playing better basketball," Lavin said.
Stoudamire led the Wildcats with 19 points.
Arizona looks to continue its perfect Pac-10 record on Wednesday night when it takes on in-state rival Arizona State at 7:30 in McKale Center.
"ASU is going to be one of the toughest teams we're going to face all year," UA sophomore center Channing Frye said.
New UCLA football coach Karl Dorrell was in attendance and received a standing ovation when he was shown on the jumbotron·Olson took out all of his starters with more than four minutes left in the game·The Bruins worst previous loss at home was to California almost 10 years ago by 22 points·UCLA's worst prior home record was 11-6 dating back to 1987-88·Scouts from many NBA teams including the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzles were in attendance·