Feb. 9, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Senior Cedric Bozeman has been around the UCLA team since 2001 and has never seen a better defensive effort than the Bruins put forth against Washington State.
Jordan Farmar scored 20 points for the 13th-ranked Bruins, who won 50-30 on Thursday night, and held Washington State to 27.5 percent shooting and 12 points at halftime.
"This is one of the best defensive performances I've ever been a part of," Bozeman said.
"We played defense for 40 minutes tonight," added Arron Afflalo, who scored 12 for the Bruins (20-4, 10-2 Pac-10), who won their fourth straight to retain first place in the league. They reached 20 wins for the first time since 2001-02.
Not that the Bruins needed 40 minutes of defense. Washington State coach Dick Bennett said the game was basically over after 10 minutes, when the Bruins led 18-6.
"This is a game where we were just dominated by a vastly superior group of players and coaches," Bennett said. "We picked an awful night to not even be able to find the basket."
The Cougars (10-10, 3-8 Pac-10) fell behind 14-0, and made only 14-of-51 shots in the game. They missed all seven of their 3-point attempts and shot just five free throws, making two. It was their lowest scoring total since they lost 81-29 at Oklahoma State last year.
It was a maddening performance coming on the heels of WSU's 77-64 upset of then-No. 16 Washington. Earlier this season, UCLA barely held on for a 63-61 win in Los Angeles.
"They are a lot better right now," Bennett said of the Bruins.
UCLA coach Ben Howland agreed, noting that Bozeman and Farmar have both shaken off nagging injuries to give the Bruins the depth they need this late in the season.
Farmar, who was playing on a badly sprained ankle, scored 15 of his points in the second half, and he sank the only two 3-pointers in the game.
"It's huge to have Jordan Farmar back in the lineup," Howland said. "Without him it's a longer night."
Indeed, the 50 points scored by UCLA was their season low, and they shot just 45 percent in the game.
Josh Akognon, who had 25 for the Cougars in the first game against UCLA, scored only four this time. Starting guards Kyle Weaver and Chris Matthews were scoreless.
"We didn't let them get a lot of shots off," Farmar, who guarded Akognon and Weaver, said.
Center Aron Baynes led the Cougars with 10 points and eight rebounds. But forward Robbie Cowgill was just 1-for-11 and finished with four points.
"None were bad shots," Bennett noted, but they failed to drop.
After beating cross-state rival Washington the first time, the Cougars lost six straight. So the pounding by UCLA right after the second win over Washington was ominous.
UCLA led 26-12 after an ugly first half that saw Washington State make six of 23 field goals and not shoot a free throw. The Bruins were 10-for-20, but also committed nine turnovers to keep the Cougars from being completely routed.
Washington State scored only 17 points in the first half of the first game against UCLA, their previous season low.
The teams opened the second half by going a combined 2-for-15 from the field.
Farmar scored all four UCLA baskets in a 3-minute span to give the Bruins a 36-18 lead with 10:13 left. Bozeman's layup pushed UCLA's lead to 43-26 with 5:10 left.
Washington State's season low in points was 50 against both Oregon and Oregon State.
UCLA's season scoring low was 54 against Temple and they held Delaware State to 37 points.
Derrick Low, Washington State's second-leading scorer, returned to action after missing eight games with a broken foot.
Neither team suffered in its defensive statistics. Washington State leads the Pac-10 in defense at 57 points per game, while UCLA gives up 60.
UCLA leads the series against Washington State 89-13, including 38-11 in Pullman. The Bruins have won 13 straight on the road against WSU.