Jan. 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA men's basketball team (15-4, 5-1 Pac-12) will face No. 6 Arizona (16-1, 4-1) on Thursday evening at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. The Bruins had a 10-game winning streak snapped at home last Saturday, but remain one-half game behind Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. Thursday's contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and is slated to begin at 6 p.m. (PT)/7 p.m. (MT).
Venue: McKale Center (14,538)
Tip-Off Time: 6:05 p.m. PT/7:05 p.m. MT
TV Talent: Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst), Samantha Ponder (sideline)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network from IMG College): AM 570 (KLAC)
Radio Talent: Chris Roberts (play-by-play), Don MacLean (analyst)
SIRIUS Satellite Radio: Channel 91
SIRIUS XM Radio: Channel 91
TRAVELING TO TUCSON
UCLA will play at No. 6 Arizona on Thursday night before a nationally-televised audience (ESPN2) at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. The Bruins last won at Arizona during the 2007-08 season and have compiled an 11-10 record against the Wildcats under 10th-year head coach Ben Howland. Thursday night's meeting marks UCLA's second consecutive game against a top-25 ranked team and its fourth of the season.
ON THE ROAD
UCLA has logged a 4-2 mark away from New Pauley Pavilion this year. UCLA last played a true road game against a top-25 ranked team on Dec. 2, 2010, losing at then-No. 4 Kansas, 77-76. The Bruins' most recent victory on the road against a top-25 ranked team came Feb. 7, 2008 (at No. 17 Washington State).
UCLA has opened its conference record with a 5-1 mark and saw a season-long 10-game winning streak snapped at home versus Oregon last Saturday (lost, 76-67). The Bruins had not opened conference play with five straight wins since 2003-04, the first season at UCLA for head coach Ben Howland. The Bruins enter this week leading all Pac-12 teams with 77.6 points per game and a 47.6 field goal percentage. UCLA also ranks first in assists (17.4 per game) and assist turnover ratio (1.5) while standing third in the conference in scoring margin (9.4 ppg).
A LOOK BACK
UCLA went 1-2 in three meetings against Arizona last season. Each team won on its home court, while Arizona defeated the Bruins, 66-58, in a quarterfinal meeting at the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Over the last three seasons, UCLA has gone 3-5 against the Wildcats, with two of those eight meetings taking place at the Pac-12 Tournament. Last season, UCLA won its home game at the Honda Center in Anaheim by a 65-58 margin (Jan. 5), while Arizona beat the Bruins at the McKale Center, 65-63 (Feb. 25).
LEADING THE PACK
Travis Wear has scored in double figures in each of UCLA's last seven games, a streak that began with a 22-point effort in UCLA's 97-94 overtime win over then-No. 7 Missouri (Dec. 28). Wear ranks third on the team with 12.5 points per game but leads all Bruins with 15.8 points per game in Pac-12 contests. Wear scored 17 points in each of UCLA's two home games last week after having totaled a career-best 23 points at Colorado (Jan. 12) in a crucial road victory. Wear leads UCLA in field goal percentage (52.1) and has made 4 of 8 three-point field goal attempts.
Shabazz Muhammad leads all Pac-12 players in three-point field goal percentage (45.8), having made 22 of 48 three-pointers midway through his freshman campaign. He leads the team with 17.9 points per game, the fourth-highest scoring average among all Pac-12 players and the highest of any Pac-12 freshman. Muhammad has scored 20 points or more in seven games and has scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games played. The resident of Las Vegas scored a season-high 27 points in back-to-back home victories against Fresno State (Dec. 22) and Missouri (Dec. 28).
Not only has Kyle Anderson logged six double-doubles, but the freshman from Fairview, N.J., is the Pac-12 Conference's only player to rank in the top 15 in rebounding (6th, 9.1 rpg) and assists (6th, 3.7). Anderson is averaging 9.9 points per game and has compiled a 1.8 assist turnover ratio, the third-best mark among all Pac-12 players. He also ranks seventh in the conference in steals per game, having registered 30 steals in 19 contests (1.6 spg).
FREE THROW IMPROVEMENT
Kyle Anderson has made 43 of 50 free throws (.872) in UCLA's last 13 games since opening the season making 13 of 26 (.500) in the first six contests. Anderson made all six free throws in UCLA's 78-75 win at Colorado on Jan. 12, including four free throws in the game's final 1:01.
GIVING AN ASSIST
Through games played Sunday (Jan. 20), Larry Drew II leads the nation in assist turnover ratio (4.67) and ranks third, nationally, in assists per game (8.1). Drew II has logged at least eight assists in 13 of UCLA's 19 contests and has committed two or fewer turnovers in 15 of 19 games. Overall, Drew II has totaled 154 assists and 33 turnovers in 19 games while averaging 5.8 points per game. Drew II has registered more assists (154) than any UCLA player since Darren Collison finished the 2008-09 season with 166 assists as a senior.
UCLA will play at Arizona State on Saturday, Jan. 26, after Thursday's meeting at Arizona. The Bruins won both contests against Arizona State last season and have won their last four games against the Sun Devils. Under 10th-year head coach Ben Howland, UCLA has compiled a 14-3 mark against Arizona State. UCLA has won six of its last eight games played at Arizona State.
UCLA's trio of freshman starters - Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad - have accounted for 52 percent of the Bruins' total points (762 of 1475) and for 45 percent of the team's total rebounds (326 of 726). These freshmen account for three of UCLA's top four scorers through 19 games this season. Kyle Anderson's team-leading 172 rebounds are the most by any UCLA freshman since Kevin Love finished with 406 boards in 2007-08.
Freshman Shabazz Muhammad secured Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week honors, as announced by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) for the week of Dec. 24-30. He also earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors that week after having scored 27 points in the Bruins' 97-94 overtime win over then-No. 7 Missouri. Muhammad made 10 of 19 field goals, including three of six 3-point attempts, against the Tigers.
PROTECTING THE BALL
UCLA enters Thursday night's Pac-12 game at Arizona having compiled a 1.53 assist turnover ratio, the highest ratio in 10 seasons under head coach Larry Drew II leads the nation in assist turnover ratio (4.67). The Bruins have had just one game this season (Nov. 20, vs. Georgia in Brooklyn, N.Y.) with more turnovers than assists.
Freshman Kyle Anderson finished three assists shy of a triple-double against Fresno State (Dec. 22), posting season-highs of 20 points and 17 rebounds that night. UCLA's only previous triple-doubles took place in Dec. 1995. Toby Bailey finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 18, 1995. Jelani McCoy tallied 15 points, 11 blocks and 10 rebounds against Maryland on Dec. 9, 1995.
Under 10th-year head coach Ben Howland, UCLA has recorded four winning streaks of 10 games or longer. Prior to UCLA's recent 10-game winning streak this winter, the Bruins had last won 10 or more in a row in 2008-09, posting a 10-game winning streak. In 19 seasons as a college head coach, Howland's teams have won 10 or more consecutive games eight times. Two of Howland's teams at UCLA logged 14-game winning streaks.
Freshman Jordan Adams ranks second on the team with 15.2 ppg, the eighth-highest scoring average in the Pac-12 (third-best mark among Pac-12 freshmen). Adams became the first freshman at UCLA to have scored 20+ points in each of his first four games (freshmen could not play varsity until 1972-73). He became UCLA's first player in any class to have opened a season with four straight games of 20+ points since 1990-91 (Don MacLean, six straight).
FOUR IN A ROW
Freshmen Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad have each scored at least 20 points in four consecutive games this season. Regardless of class, that feat had not been accomplished by any UCLA player since the 2004-05 season, when Dijon Thompson had four straight games of 20+ points in January and February of 2005. Adams opened the 2012-13 season with four straight 20+ point performances and Muhammad achieved that feat in Dec. 2012.
The Bruins have gone 6-1 in games decided by five points or fewer. UCLA overcame a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes to defeat Missouri, 97-94 in overtime (Dec. 28). Other victories have come against Colorado (78-75), Utah (57-53, Jan. 10), Texas (65-63, Dec. 8), Georgia (60-56, Nov. 20) and UC Irvine (80-79, overtime, Nov. 13). In 10 seasons as head coach, Ben Howland has led UCLA to a 54-32 record in games decided by five points or fewer.
Sophomore Nick Kazemi remains sidelined with a sprained left MCL and is expected to miss 1-2 more weeks. He sustained the injury during practice on Oct. 26, 2012.