Bruins Prepare For Tough Pac-10 Stretch

Jan. 16, 2004

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LOOKING AHEAD - Following the Arizona games, the Bruins again hit the road for two more Pac-10 contests, visiting the Bay Area schools (Thursday, Jan. 22-Stanford, 5:30 p.m./Saturday, Jan. 24-California, 1 p.m.).

SATURDAY - Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins, 9-3 overall, winners of five games in a row and 5-0 in the Pac-10 (first-place), face Lute Olson's No. 7 Arizona Wildcats, 10-3 overall and 2-2 in the league (fourth-place tie).

UCLA'S LAST GAME - Jan. 15 - at UCLA 66, Arizona State 58 - The Bruins won their fifth Pac-10 game in a row before 9,327 in Pauley Pavilion, beating Arizona State 66-58. UCLA's win snapped a three-game ASU winning streak over the Bruins (including ASU wins over UCLA in Pauley in 2003 and 2002).

Leading 34-25 at halftime, the Bruins led by as many as 13 points in the second-half on three occasions, the final time at 51-38 (7:59 left to play) on two free throws by Trevor Ariza. In the next five minutes, the Sun Devils outscored UCLA 14-5 and pulled to within four points (56-52, 3:02 left) on a drive and bank shot by Jason Braxton. With 24 seconds remaining, ASU got to within three points (61-58) on a three-pointer by Wilfried Fameni. The Bruins stopped the ASU rally by hitting 5-6 free throws in the final 23 seconds to secure the 68-58 victory (in the final 4:29, UCLA connected on 12-14 free throws, including 5-6 by Cedric Bozeman and 4-4 from T. J. Cummings).

For the third straight game, UCLA was led by T. J. Cummings, who had a game-high 21 points and a season-high 12 rebounds (second consecutive double-double), along with 19 points from Dijon Thompson and 16 points from Ariza.

The Bruins shot 42.9 (21-49) from the field, 25.0 (3-12) from three-point range and 75.0 (21-28, second-highest percentage this season) from the foul line, with a game-high 39 rebounds and 17 turnovers.ASU shot 35.2 (19-54) from the field, an opponent season-low 7.7 (1-13) from the three-point line and 76.0 (19-25) from the foul line, with 29 turnovers and a game-low nine turnovers. ASU dropped to 6-7 overall and 0-4 in the league and were led by Steve Moore's 17 points. The Bruins held Ike Diogu, the league's top scorer coming into the game (23.4) to 15 points (including 3-14 from the field).

UCLA HEAD COACH Ben Howland - In his first season at UCLA and his 10th year as a collegiate head coach. Howland is 0-1 vs. Arizona and 2-3 vs. Arizona State with Thursday's win. In his last two seasons at Pittsburgh - in 2003, he led the Panthers to a 28-5 overall record, No. 4 national ranking, NCAA 'Sweet 16' and the Big East Tournament Championship and in 2002, Pittsburgh was 29-6 overall (school record for wins), advanced to the NCAA 'Sweet 16' and the Big East Tournament title game and Howland was the consensus National Coach of the Year.

2003-04 - UCLA (9-3, 12 games/75.0)
2000-03 - Pittsburgh (89-40, 129 games/69.0)
1995-99 - N. Arizona (79-59, 138 games/69.0)
Totals - 10th Season (177-102, 279 games/63.4)

UCLA vs. ARIZONA - The Bruins lead it 38-27, but since 1998, Lute Olson's Wildcats hold a 9-4 advantage. Last season, Arizona defeated UCLA 87-52 in Pauley (worst Bruin defeat in Pauley Pavilion) and 106-70 in Tucson, but the Bruins beat No. 1 UA 96-86(OT) in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament (it was the fourth year in a row UCLA had beaten the nation's No. 1 ranked team). Since 1998, the teams have split six games in Pauley, with UCLA winning two of the last three (2002, 77-76/2001, 79-77(OT).

THE WILDCATS - Rated No. 7 in the U. S. this week by AP, Arizona was selected to win the 2004 Pac-10 race in the conference preseason poll. After starting the season 1-1, UA won nine games in a row, including conference victories at ASU (93-74) and vs. Cal (95-75) in Tucson. But the Wildcats have dropped their last two games, losing to No. 3 Stanford (82-72) in Tucson and dropping last night's game at USC (99-90).

THE LAST TIME - UCLA was 5-0 in the Pac-10 was during the 1996 conference season and then lost at Arizona (88-79). The last time the Bruins started 6-0 was in 1993-94 when they won their first seven conference games.

TRENDS - UCLA is holding opponents to 39.9 from the field. Only two opponents (UCSB .522/Michigan .463) have shot better than .435 and five have been held below .400, including Arizona State (35.2). In five Pac-10 games, the Bruins are shooting 49.3 from the field and holding opponents to 39.6. UCLA has outrebounded six of its last seven opponents with one tie. Overall, the Bruins have outrebounded nine of 12 opponents (one tie) this season. UCLA's 53 second-half point total against Oregon State is its highest output of the year for any half (17 points vs. Kentucky in the first half is the lowest, 20 vs. WSU in the first half is the second-lowest/UCLA opponent halftime low is 19 vs. WSU).

Brian Morrison - in the second half vs. Michigan State (12/20), Morrison suffered a left hamstring strain and has not played since (missed six games). At the time of his injury, he was UCLA's No. 3 scorer (11.8), No. 3 in minutes (31.7) and top three-point shooter (45.9, 17-37). In UCLA's 84-70 win over UC Riverside on Dec. 3 in Pauley Pavilion, Morrison scored a career-high 28 points.

F - 4 Trevor Ariza, 6-7, 194, Fr., Los Angeles, CA (Westchester HS) - UCLA's No. 3 scorer (13.2) and No. 1 rebounder (7.2). Was mentioned this week by Dick Vitale as a Dazzling Dozen Diaper Dandy (one of the Top 12 freshman in the U. S.) In Pac-10 play, he's averaging a team-high 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds (No. 2 on team). Has scored in double figures the last two Pac-10 games, 21 points (with eight rebounds) at Washington and vs. ASU, he had 16 points (5-10, 1-3, 5-9), five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Ariza had two outstanding games in a row -Oregon State - a season and game-high 24 points (11-13, 2-4, 0-2/20 points in the second half; most points by a Bruin freshman starter since Jason Kapono scored 27 points, twice in 2000) and a game-high nine rebounds and at Michigan - first career double-double (15 points/game and season-high 14 rebounds, the most rebounds by a Bruin freshman starter since 1998-99, JaRon Rush had 15 rebounds vs. Washington (2/27/99) and Dan Gadzuric had 14 rebounds vs. Arizona State (1/4/99). Ariza did not play vs. Vermont, UC Riverside or Kentucky (spontaneous pneumothorax/the presence of air within the pleural cavity of the lungs/Nov. 28).

F - 43 T. J. CUMMINGS, 6-9, 215, Sr., Homewood, IL (Homewood-Flossmoor HS) - The Bruins' No. 2 scorer (13.5) and No. 2 rebounder (7.1), he is shooting 55.8 (No. 2 on the team) from the field and a team-best 87.0 (20-23) from the foul line. In five Pac-10 starts, Cummings is averaging 13.8 points (No. 2) and a team-high 9.0 rebounds. He's led the Bruins in rebounding in each of the last four games (ASU 12/at Washington 11/at Washington State 8/Oregon 9) and has scored in double figures in seven of eight contests. He's led the Bruins in scoring the last three games (21 ASU, 22 at UW, 12 at WSU). Vs. the Sun Devils, Cummings recorded his second consecutive double-double with a game-high 21 points (7-15, 0-2, 7-7) and 12 rebounds, plus two assists in 36 minutes. In his last two games (wins over ASU and at Washington), he's averaging 37.5 minutes, 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and only 2.0 turnovers, while shooting 55.6 (15-27) from the field, 40.0 (2-5) from three-point range and 91.7 (11-12) from the foul line. Missed UCLA's first four regular season games (was academically ineligible) and then led the Bruins in scoring in his first two games back (UC Santa Barbara, 14 points/Michigan State, 13 points).

C- 45 Michael Fey, 7-0, 257, So., Olympia, WA (Capital HS) - Averaging 8.3 points and 3.5 rebounds. He played just 10 minutes vs. ASU because of four trouble and did not have any points or rebounds, but helped hold ASU's Ike Diogu to 3-14 shooting from the floor. In the season opener vs. Vermont, Fey had career-highs of 20 points and eight rebounds.

G-1 Dijon Thompson, 6-7, 198, Jr., Inglewood, CA (Redondo Union) - A co-captain, UCLA's No. 1 scorer (14.3) and No. 3 rebounder (5.5), he's shooting 80.0 (32-40) from the foul line and minutes leader (35.2). Vs. the Sun Devils, Thompson had 19 points, four rebounds and one block in 33 minutes. Hit the winning free throws in UCLA victories at the Washington schools and made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to help secure UCLA's victory over Arizona State. In UCLA's loss at Michigan, Thompson had a season and game-high 21 points (including a career-best five three-pointers/he made four in the final 4:28) and it was his 11th straight double scoring game (7 this season, four in 2002-03/6 points vs. Oregon State this season snapped the streak). This season in has scored in double figures 11 of 12 games, including the last four.

G - 21 Cedric Bozeman, 6-6, 199, Jr., Los Angeles, CA (Mater Dei HS) - He's UCLA's No. 5 scorer (9.5) and No. 4 rebounder (4.6) and leads the Bruins in assists (5.5) and ranks No. 2 in minutes (34.3). In his last two games (wins at Washington and vs. ASU in Pauley), he has averaged 7.0 assists and just 2.0 turnovers. Against ASU, he contributed five points, five rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes. All of his points came in the last 2:38 when he made five of six free throws, including his final five. Vs. LMU, Bozeman's three-point shot with with two seconds left in overtime gave UCLA the 69-66 victory (in that game, he had his first ever double/double-16 points and a career-high 10 rebounds).

OFF THE BENCH - In the win over Arizona State, Ryan Hollins had three points, three rebounds and one block in 28 minutes and helped hold ASU's Ike Diogu to 3-14 shooting from the floor. Janou Rubin added two points in 13 minutes.

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