Jan. 31, 2006
Start the Season - UCLA's 17-4 start (UCLA's eight-game winning streak was snapped by the home loss to California) is the best under Howland (in his third season). UCLA is unbeaten on the road this season (5-0/not counting neutral sites), including unbeaten in Pac-10 road games (4-0). Three of UCLA's four losses have been to teams ranked in this week's AP Top 25 (No. 3 Memphis, No. 11 West Virginia and No. 16 Washington). UCLA's RPI ranking is 14. Here's how UCLA's 17-4 record compares to other impressive Bruin starts - Under Steve Lavin - In 2001-02, 14-5, lost next game at Oregon; 2000-01, 13-6, won next seven games; 1998-99, 15-4, lost next game at Washington; 1997-98, UCLA started 17-3, then lost game No. 21 at Oregon.
Under Jim Harrick - In 1994-95, UCLA's 11th NCAA title team, started 12-1 (losing at Oregon on Jan. 5), then lost 14th game (12-2) to California in Pauley (Jan. 28, 100-93, game was later forfeited by California) - UCLA would not lose another game, winning the NCAA Championship and finishing with a 32 (school record for wins)-1 overall mark (17-1 in the Pac-10).
In 1993-94, under Harrick, UCLA started 14-0 (and ranked No. 1 in the nation) before losing game No. 15 to California in Oakland (85-70, Jan. 30). The Bruins were then 18-2 and lost game No. 21 at Arizona.
The Bruins Are - 17-3 when holding the opponent under 80 points, 14-1 when leading at halftime, 9-1 when shooting .500 or better from the field and 9-0 when holding the opponent to under .400, 14-1 when outshooting the opponent from the field, 14-1 with a rebound advantage and 16-1 when leading with five minutes to play.
Defense - At the Oregons, the Bruins held both schools to an average of 51.5 points and .336 (36-107) from the field and .303 (10-33) from three-point range. In this week's Pac-10 statistics, UCLA is No. 2 in scoring defense (57.5). Best Backcourt - SI.com named UCLA's backcourt of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo the No. 3 backcourt in the nation-behind Villanova (Randy Foye/Allan Ray) and Michigan State (Maurice Ager/Shannon Brown).
Jordan Farmar - A Midseason Top 30 Wooden Award and preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate, he leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.95). He's led the Bruins in assists the last nine games and in 16 of 21 games (vs. Washington, Farmar had a career-best 12 assists, also had 10 vs. Coppin State). At the Oregons, he averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals. In UCLA's sweep of the Arizona schools, Farmar hit four consecutive free throws late in the game to preserve UCLA's win at UA and at ASU, hit two baskets at the end of the contest to win the game for the Bruins. He's been playing with a sprained right ankle (first hurt vs. Temple/reinjured vs. Stanford/has missed two games-Delaware State and Albany), but has started every league game. He has scored in double figures the last four games and in 13 contests this season. Farmar has four games of 21 or more points, including a career-high 28 vs. Memphis in an NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal. Farmar has led the Bruins in scoring five times, including consecutive wins over Nevada (24) at the Wooden Classic and at Michigan (21).
Arron Afflalo - UCLA's leading scorer (17.0/sixth in the Pac-10), he's an early season Scout.com All-American and was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team. He's started every game and scored in double figures in 20 of 21 games. He has eight games of 20 or more points. He has scored a career-high 23 points twice, vs. Stanford and New Mexico State. He's led UCLA in scoring in 12 games this season. In UCLA's victory at Oregon State, Afflalo led the Bruins in rebounding (career and game-high 10) and recorded his first career double/double (11 points-10 rebounds).
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - The Bruins' leading rebounder (9.0/No. 3 in the Pac-10/the nation's second-leading freshman rebounder/if his season average remains at 9.0, it would be the highest since Trevor Wilson's 9.1, 1990), he's been UCLA's leading rebounder in 19 of 21 games. Mbah a Moute has streaks of leading the Bruins in rebounding this season of 12 (longest since 1977-78, when David Greenwood led UCLA in rebounding in the final 13 regular season games) and seven games. He has six double/doubles (tied with Jelani McCoy for the most in Bruin freshman history), including two consecutive on two occasions (the first starting freshman to accomplish that since JaRon Rush (1998-99-final two games that season-at Arizona-16/10 and Detroit Mercy (NCAA)-10/13). Mbah a Moute has eight games of double digit rebounds. At the Oregons, he led the Bruins in scoring both games (Oregon-season and game-high 15 points/game-high 10 rebounds; Oregon State-team-high 14 points/eight rebounds) and for his efforts was named the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week.
Ryan Hollins - came back from his groin injury (missed six games, including UCLA's first five Pac-10 contests), to play in the last five games and started at the Oregons. At Oregon State, in a season-best 35 minutes, Hollins had a season-high tying 11 points, with seven rebounds and at Oregon, although in foul trouble, had five points, three rebounds and season-best four blocked shots. Cedric Bozeman - After missing eight games with a left shoulder injury (cartilage), Bozeman returned to play at the Oregons - 18 minutes at Oregon (three points/two rebounds) and starting at Oregon State (25 minutes, four points/three rebounds).
HEAD COACH ROB EVANS - In his eighth season at ASU, with a school mark of 115-114. He's 5-10 vs. UCLA.
THE SUN DEVILS - Have lost their last three games and eight of their last nine (last winning at Oregon State, 65-63OT, Jan. 14). The Sun Devils lost their last game to Arizona, 80-70, on Jan. 25 in Tempe. Kevin Kruger, the son of UNLV head coach Lon Kruger, led ASU with 23 points. Kruger is the team's leading scorer (14.9).
SERIES HISTORY - UCLA leads it 51-14 and won earlier this season in Tempe, 61-60. The Bruins have beaten ASU the last two seasons in Pauley (the Sun Devils last win in Pauley was 2003, 75-64) and have won the last three games in the series.
LAST GAME - Jan. 7- No. 17 UCLA 61, at Arizona State 60 - before 8,490 at the Wells Fargo Arena, Jordan Farmar's two baskets at the end of the game provided the winning margin as the Bruins overcame poor shooting from the field, beating Arizona State 61-60.
Coupled with the win at No. 21 Arizona two nights before, UCLA swept the Arizona schools for the first time since 1997.
With :57 left to play, the score was tied 57-57. With :35 remaining, Farmar's jumper gave the Bruins a 59-57 lead. With :14 left, ASU's Bryson Krueger hit a three-pointer, giving the Sun Devils a 60-59 advantage. But with just :04 left to play, Farmar scored again, on a layup, to give the Bruins the 61-60 victory.
UCLA trailed at halftime 29-23 (season-low), but led at the five minute mark (51-46).
UCLA had two players in double figures - Arron Afflalo's team-high 21 points (sixth consecutive game leading the Bruins in scoring) and seven rebounds and Josh Shipp's 10 points and season-high seven rebounds. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute led the Bruins in rebounding for the second straight game (14 out of 15 games) with a game-high eight.
UCLA (13-2, 3-1) overcame poor shooting and a tough ASU defense - the Bruins shot a season-low .360 (18-50) from the field, a season-low .067 (1-15) from three-point range and .828 (24-29) from the foul line, with a game-high 38 rebounds, seven assists, 13 turnovers, two blocked shots and four steals.
ASU (6-7, 0-4) shot .472 (25-53) from the field, .400 (4-10) from three-point range and .462 (6-13) from the foul line, with 29 rebounds, a game-high 18 assists, 13 turnovers, and one blocked shot and steal. The Sun Devils were led by Serge Angounou's 23 points.