UA uses second half spurt to drop UCLA
Arizona men's basketball opponents know it all too well, and UCLA may know it best.
"We know Arizona counts on vital spurts," said then-Bruin Jason Kapono, now with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, in 2003. "It's the spurt of death."
Two years later, the spurt of death emerged again in the form of a 19-0 second-half run, giving the Wildcats their third straight win over UCLA, 83-73, Saturday night in Los Angeles.
UCLA junior Ryan Hollins hit a jumper to go up 47-42 with 17:35 left in the game. Arizona head coach Lute Olson called a timeout to stop the run, and the Bruins didn't score another point until senior Brian Morrison hit a pair of free throws with 12 minutes left. They failed to score a field goal until senior Dijon Thompson scored a 3-pointer with 10:30 left in the game.
In that stretch, senior guard Salim Stoudamire and sophomore forward Ivan Radenovic scored six points apiece. Stoudamire finished off another great scoring night with 22 points, the seventh time in nine games he has scored more than 20 points and his 11th straight double-digit performance this season.
"We just tried to do a good job of closing out and not giving them 3-point shots," junior guard Chris Rodgers said. "They got a lot of good looks in the first half, and they hurt us with their 3-point shot, so we just wanted to come out in the second half and do a better job."
Although Rodgers finished with no points and two rebounds, he was vital to the team's success on defense, after UCLA's freshman point guard Jordan Farmar scored 15 points in the first half, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
In the first half, UCLA shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from the floor. In the second half, the Wildcats held the Bruins to 37.8 percent (14-of-37) shooting. Although Farmar scored a career-high 27 points, Thompson, who dropped 39 points on ASU Thursday, was held to 10 points for the game.
Some UCLA players made comments after the 76-73 loss to the Wildcats in Tucson, saying they were so close to winning that game, and that they were looking forward to the rematch.
According to Radenovic, the win was the only thing that mattered for the Wildcats, not who the win happened to come against.
"To them it probably means a lot, but to us, it's just another game," Radenovic said. "We are a good team. This team is trying to get to the championship, and everybody's got to do something."
Radenovic did his part on Saturday, scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. For the second time in as many games Radenovic had 12 rebounds, and 19 points is his best effort in conference play this season. His best performance on the boards came against UCLA in Tucson on Jan. 15 when he had 14.
"He's been very good, but the biggest thing is he's been with us at practice all this year," said associate head coach Jim Rosborough of Radenovic, who participated in only four practices with the team last season before playing in his first collegiate game.
"So now he's been with us a whole year in practice, and he's really starting to grow up," Rosborough added. "He's been one of our more steady players over the last month."
The other three Arizona starters, along with Radenovic and Stoudamire, scored in double digits. Sophomore point guard Mustafa Shakur scored 17 points and five rebounds, senior center Channing Frye added 11 and four, and junior forward Hassan Adams scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds. Adams also had two steals and three assists.
The Bruins stayed with the Wildcats basket for basket in the first half, going into halftime with a 39-38 lead over Arizona. There were nine lead changes and five ties in the opening half. Arizona shot exactly 50 percent in the first half, as well as the second half.
Radenovic and Shakur scored nine points apiece in the first half to lead the Wildcats.