UCLA Upended By Arizona
LOS ANGELES - Even a game against its biggest rival couldn't get UCLA out of the doldrums that have seen the Bruins sink to new lows at storied Pauley Pavilion.
Salim Stoudamire scored 19 points and No. 2 Arizona defeated hapless UCLA 87-52 Saturday to complete its first sweep of the Los Angeles schools in 10 years.
The Wildcats were surprised by UCLA's lack of spark in a game that never resembled the close contests these teams usually play. The Bruins had beaten Arizona at Pauley the last two seasons by a total of three points.
The Wildcats (13-1) won their eighth in a row and remained atop the Pac-10 with a 6-0 record. They rallied to beat Southern California 81-72 on Thursday and then sent the Bruins to their largest defeat at Pauley, which opened in 1965.
The previous record was a 104-82 loss to California on Jan. 24, 1993, when coach Steve Lavin was an assistant under Jim Harrick. UCLA's 52 points equaled its worst output against Arizona since a 53-52 loss in 1985.
'Anytime we lose the way we did, it's obviously tough,' said Jason Kapono, who was held to four points in 20 minutes. 'We lack spirit right now. There's 14 games (left). We just got to take each one at a time and not worry about our standing, not worry about what others are saying about us.'
UCLA's 18 points were its lowest in a first half this season, and the third straight game in which the Bruins have dipped to season lows in the first 20 minutes. They had 23 points against St. John's last week and 22 against Arizona State on Thursday.
'It's been a very frustrating, discouraging stretch of basketball where we just can't find a way to be successful at either end of the floor,' said Lavin, who on Tuesday denied that he was considering resigning this week. 'We haven't been able to sustain any level of acceptable basketball. It's just been a tough situation.'
UCLA (4-9, 2-3) lost its fourth straight and dropped to 2-7 at Pauley, its most losses at home in a season. The 1987-88 team, coached by Walt Hazzard, lost six at Pauley.
'I could feel UCLA's lack of intensity at the start of the game. I feel sorry for Lavin,' Arizona coach Lute Olson said. 'People forget that these are 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids. Right now their confidence is shot and they're looking for answers.
'I've always said that UCLA, Kentucky and North Carolina are the three toughest coaching jobs in the country. This sort of proves it.'
UCLA fans loudly booed Lavin's five-on-five substitutions when the Bruins were down by 28 in the second half. At one point, he yanked veterans Kapono, Ray Young, Thompson and Cummings, leaving sophomore Cedric Bozeman on the floor with Michael Fey, Quinn Hawking, Marcedes Lewis and Janou Rubin, whose 3-pointer was the only scoring from the group.
'A lot of strategies he's tried haven't worked, so I guess the more he tries, hopefully, we'll find one,' Kapono said.
By then, UCLA trailed 54-29 with 11ï¿½ minutes remaining.
The Bruins never led after scoring the first basket. They trailed by 16 at halftime and their deficit reached 29 when Arizona's Jason Gardner hit a 3-pointer with 11:08 remaining.
The Bruins whittled a 10-point deficit down to six on consecutive baskets by Andre Patterson before Arizona closed with a 14-4 run to end the half ahead 34-18.