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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UCLA 84 – ARIZONA 73: Swept away in L.A.

    Arizonas Mustafa Shakur drives against Washingtons Jamaal Williams during the second half of Arizonas game against No. 14 Washington, March 4, 2006 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.  Washington came from behind to beat Arizona 70-67. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s Mustafa Shakur drives against Washington’s Jamaal Williams during the second half of Arizona’s game against No. 14 Washington, March 4, 2006 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Washington came from behind to beat Arizona 70-67. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    LOS ANGELES – If Thursday night at Southern California was a poor performance, then Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion was just plain pitiful – at least for the first 15 minutes.

    While UCLA clicked on all cylinders, the Wildcats’ engine sputtered, yet again, as Arizona fell to the No.14 Bruins 84-73 for its third straight loss.

    That’s a losing streak unknown to the Wildcats since the 1991-92 season, when Arizona was swept at the L.A. schools and then lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Middle Tennessee State.

    “”When one thing’s going right with us, something else isn’t,”” said freshman forward Marcus Williams, who scored 11 points. “”We need everything about our team to start clicking – defense, we need to start shooting well at the same time and not turn the ball over.””

    Arizona (13-9, 6-5 Pacific 10 Conference) did turn the ball over and turned it over a lot – 13 times before halftime, when UCLA (19-4, 9-2) jumped out to a 50-34 lead, setting a season high for points in a half. With the Bruins leading 12-9, the Bruins went on a 21-5 run over 5:36 to blow the game wide open.

    Sophomore guard Arron Afflalo scored a career-high 27 points, including 13-of-16 from the free-throw line, to lead the way for UCLA.

    “”He has the heart of a champion,”” Arizona head coach Lute Olson said.

    Arizona trailed by as much as 20 in the first half but cut the lead to 13 before Afflalo hit one of many daggers on the afternoon, draining a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first half.

    “”Afflalo’s shot at halftime was huge for them, and that was not an easy look,”” Olson said. “”It was a pressure 3-point shot, but he’s that kind of player.””

    The Wildcats rallied a bit in the second half, going on one of their own-patented runs by outscoring UCLA 24-7 and chopping the deficit to just seven points while using a 1-3-1 matchup zone. Afflalo again came to the rescue, swishing in a 3-pointer to right the Bruins’ ship.

    “”The zone was working a little, and it took them out of what they did, and Arron came down and hit a big 3,”” said senior guard Hassan Adams, who led Arizona with 19 points. “”That was kind of a momentum switch, and that put us on our heels again.””

    Adams did not take a shot until the 5:02 mark in the first half before getting going, scoring seven points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field in the first half and another 10 points during Arizona’s run.

    “”I wasn’t trying to force anything, whatever came to me, that’s what I was taking,”” Adams said. “”That was the big thing with the game Thursday, just being patient, letting things come to you.””

    Adams had all four of his turnovers at the outset of the game, and Olson attributed it to Adams not being as relaxed after having a seven-turnover game on Thursday.

    “”He had a horrible start. He had four turnovers in the first five or six minutes, and then he had no turnovers the rest of the game, so I’m happy that’s the case (rather) then the other way around,”” Olson said.

    Arizona shot 58 percent from the field, a season high, but fell to 0-3 when turning the ball over more than its opponents.

    “”It’s astounding they can shoot 58 percent and lose,”” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “”Usually you win when you shoot a percentage like that.””

    Arizona outscored UCLA 39-34 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bruins from gaining their biggest win since Feb. 12, 1987, when UCLA won 81-65.

    “”I think we stepped up in the second half, but that’s not going to do it,”” Williams said.

    Olson was frustrated his team couldn’t put an entire game together.

    “”We played 25 minutes,”” he said. “”As soon we learn to play 40 minutes we’ll be pretty good.””

    Uncharacteristically, Olson picked up a technical foul, his third of the season, while arguing a call with 11:51 left in the first half.

    “”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 it was a moving pick, you can be half-blind and still see that. And what happens, Hassan gets called for a hold. At that time, the fouls were 14-2.””

    Olson said he told the referee the technical was “”the first right call all day.””

    Arizona was assessed another technical with 10:42 left in the first half, when associate head coach Jim Rosborough did not agree with a call.

    UCLA marched to the free-throw line 29 times, including 22 attempts in the first half, while Arizona shot six first-half free throws.

    The Wildcats set some more records of futility, including losing their third straight regular-season game since Olson’s first season in Tucson, 1983-84. The Wildcats have now lost six of their last 10.

    “”One of the things about our team through the years is we’ve tended to be very consistent,”” Olson said. “”This year’s it’s the inconsistency that’s really getting us.””

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