Bruins Fall To No. 1 Stanford At Home

Box Score

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - It's a school-record 23 consecutive victories and counting for Stanford.

The top-ranked Cardinal defeated UCLA 73-60 Saturday to remain undefeated with two weeks left in the regular season.

Stanford improved to 14-0 in the Pac-10, and clinched its fourth conference title in six years and 11th overall. Rob Little led the Cardinal with 18 points, tying his career high.

"We want to make history," Little said. "Why not go out to win them all? It's a personal goal for everyone now, with four games left, to go undefeated. Why not?"

The Cardinal overcame a 13-point first-half deficit to beat Southern California on Thursday, then won its seventh in a row at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, the only opponent with such a streak in the arena's 39-year history.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "They came to L.A. to get a sweep to win the conference championship. That's pretty good stuff."

Stanford and No. 2 Saint Joseph's (24-0) are the nation's only undefeated Division I teams. No team since Indiana in 1976 has had a perfect season and the Hoosiers won the national championship that year.

"It's not a focal point, but the more games we win, the closer it gets," Montgomery said.

Although the Bruins (11-12, 7-8) have lost nine of their last 11 under first-year coach Ben Howland, an upset seemed possible based on their history against top-ranked teams.

"We felt we could beat them. We felt good coming in," said Dijon Thompson, who led UCLA with 17 points.

UCLA had defeated a No. 1 team in each of the last four seasons - all under former coach Steve Lavin, who was fired in March. Two of those victories came at Stanford, in 2000 and 2001. UCLA and North Carolina share the record for the most defeats of a No. 1 team, with 10 each.

But other than starting the second half with a big run that cut Stanford's lead to seven points, the Bruins were unable to muster much of a threat.

"It was really a big problem for us to come back," Howland said. "As soon as we had a couple shots miss, it sped us up instead of slowing down and you can't do that against a zone."

John Wooden, who led UCLA to 10 of its 11 national titles, stayed in his seat behind the Bruins' bench until the end, although most of the 10,815 fans poured out with 3 minutes remaining.

"They made us work and that's how they got their big lead," said Jon Crispin, a UCLA senior who started in place of freshman Trevor Ariza because it was his last Pac-10 home game. "They're really good. They don't make any mistakes. The times we went on a nice little run, they stayed right with it."

UCLA led by two points midway through the first half, then Stanford reeled off nine straight points as part of a 25-4 run that put the Cardinal ahead 42-23 at halftime. Stanford shot 61 percent in the half to UCLA's 43 percent.

"We had a 19-17 lead, turned the ball over and it really spiraled out of control," Howland said. "We let an opportunity slip."

The Bruins came out strongly in the second half, repeatedly driving to the basket for a 14-2 run that got them to 44-37. Stanford failed to score on its first six possessions, including four turnovers.

"To be undefeated at this point in the season and have everybody trying to knock you off, they obviously have a lot of mental toughness," Howland said.

Then Little scored consecutive baskets and Josh Childress hit a 3-pointer to push Stanford's lead to 53-41 with 11:53 remaining.

The teams traded baskets until the Cardinal hit three consecutive 3-pointers. Matt Lottich made one in front of the Stanford bench with Crispin in his face, then hit another from the middle of the floor over Crispin and Chris Hernandez finished the long-range spurt for a 64-46 lead with 6:33 left.

"Anytime you score, you up your mojo and spirits as a player and gives you a little spark," Lottich said. "We defend or adjust to any way teams attack and that is why we have been so successful."

UCLA outscored Stanford 26-18 in the paint, scored 20 points off 17 turnovers and had a 10-2 edge in fastbreak points, but shot just 42 percent for the game.

Nick Robinson added a career-high 15 points and Lottich had 14 points, hitting all four of his 3-pointers. Childress, who had a career-high 36 points against USC two days earlier, also had 14 points.

T.J. Cummings added 11 points for UCLA.

Stanford took a 14-5 lead to start the game. The Bruins got back in it with a 14-3 run, including seven points by Thompson, that gave them a 19-17 lead before Stanford's big run.

Stanford senior forward Justin Davis missed his sixth straight game with a left knee injury. UCLA reserve forward Josiah Johnson didn't play after injuring his left knee in practice Monday.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Saturday, Feb 27
at Stanford
Stanford, CA
L, 70 - 79
Wednesday, Mar 02
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
L, 68 - 76
Saturday, Mar 05
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
L, 82 - 86
Wednesday, Mar 09
vs. USC
Las Vegas, NV
L, 71 - 95