Men's Basketball Squad Gearing Up For No. 2 Arizona

Jan. 19, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Arizona looks to stake its claim as the team to beat in the Pac-10, but it will have to do so within the unfriendly confines of Pauley Pavilion when it battles UCLA on Thursday.

"As tough as it is to play on the road in non-conference games, it is 10 times tougher to play in conference games on the road," said Wildcats coach Lute Olson, whose team starts a four-game road trip.

UCLA (10-4, 1-2) leads the all-time series 35-21 and is the only Pac-10 school to own a winning record against Arizona (15-2, 4-0), helped in large part by taking 22 of the first 25 meetings.

The second-ranked Wildcats, who are just 7-25 at UCLA, come off a 69-62 win over visiting Washington last Saturday, but their thoughts are now solely on their upcoming trip.

"This is a big rivalry game for both teams, and we have to be at least as good as we were at Stanford to come away with the win," said Olson, who is 18-15 against UCLA as Arizona coach.

Olson pointed to the interior matchups as the key to game. The Bruins boast a trio of tall and talented frontliners - Jerome Moiso, Dan Gadzuric and Jason Kapono - which will test his team.

"The matchup between the big guys is going to be a very interesting match," he said. "The key for both teams will be staying of out of foul trouble, which may be more of a problem for us. They can come off with more depth than what we have."

The sophomore tandem of the 6-foot-10 Moiso and the 6-11 Gadzuric will go against Arizona's 7-1 center Loren Woods and the 6-8 Luke Walton.

"Moiso and Loren are both excellent shot blockers, they have a nice shooting touch, and they can score from the inside or from 17," Olson said.

"Luke has been a huge factor for us defensively, and he will start against Kapono. Both have a feel for the game that you don't teach, and both are very aware. Luke's awareness makes him tough."

Walton, who will start in place of the injured Richard Jefferson, scored four points, grabbed five rebounds and had four assists in 36 minutes of action against Washington.

Five Wildcats average double digits in scoring, led by Woods' 14.9 and Michael Wright's 14.2 points. Kapono, a freshman, leads UCLA at 15.1.

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