With an Eye On First Place, Oregon Plays Host to UCLA

Jan 31, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Upset-minded Oregon continues its quest for sole possession of first placein the Pac-10 as it plays host to UCLA on Thursday.

After the Ducks (15-5, 7-2) meet the 13th-ranked Bruins (14-5, 6-3), theytake on No. 23 Southern California on Saturday.

Midway through the conference race, Oregon is tied with USC atop the Pac-10standings, one game ahead of UCLA and Arizona, and two games in front ofCalifornia and Stanford.

With a pair of wins, Oregon will move into the top spot all alone.

The Ducks are 11-0 at McArthur Court for the first time since the 1937-38season, when they went 16-0 at home.

In addition, the Ducks are 7-2 in the conference for just the second time in47 seasons, last accomplishing the feat in 1999-00. A win on Thursday will giveOregon its first 8-2 league start.

Oregon has been getting it done at both ends of the court, averaging aconference-best 85.8 points per game. Defensively, the Ducks are allowing just69.2 points, eight less than they allowed on average last season.

Powered by Jason Kapono's 17 points, UCLA got by California 64-57 onSaturday.

The Bruins avoided their first three-game losing streak in two years, asthey overcame a 86-76 defeat to No. 17 Stanford on Thursday, and blowing a20-point lead in a loss to Arizona a week ago.

'We really needed this game,' UCLA's T.J. Cummings said. 'We needed toget back on top of our game. This was our opportunity to be able to hop back ontop.'

Kapono and Billy Knight pace the Bruins' attack, averaging 18.4 and 15.4points per game, respectively.

Matt Barnes leads UCLA in rebounding, grabbing 6.7 per game, followed by DanGadzuric with 6.2.

UCLA has dominated the all-time series with Oregon, winning 71 of 89 and thelast three meetings.

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