No. 18 UCLA Hosts No. 12 West Virginia Saturday in Pauley Pavilion

Jan. 20, 2006

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Saturday's Game- No. 18 Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins (15-3 overall/Pac-10 5-2, 1st-place) host John Beilein's No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers (13-3 overall /Big East 5-0, 1st-place) at 12:45 p.m. PT in Pauley Pavilion in one of the nation's top nonleague contests.

West Virginia - the Mountaineers have won 11 consecutive games, including last Tuesday's home conference victory over Providence, 64-48. (longest winning streak since 1988-89, won 22 in a row and finished 26-5). In this week's NCAA rankings, WVU leads the U. S. in assists (19.8) and personal fouls per game (12.3) and is second in three-point field goals (10.875 per game). West Virginia has two players averaging in double figures - 6-11 senior center Kevin Pittsnogle (20.6ppg) and 6-4 senior guard Mike Gansey (19.6). WVU returns four starters from last year's squad that advanced to the NCAA 'Elite Eight', losing to Louisville 93-85(OT). Beilein is in his fourth season as the West Virginia head coach.

Series History - The series is tied at 1-1. On Dec. 21, 1968 in Pauley Pavilion, No. 1 UCLA, led by Lew Alcindor's (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) 19 points and 10 rebounds, beat WVU 95-56 and on Dec. 29, 1959 in the Los Angeles Basketball Classic at the Sports Arena, No. 2 West Virginia, behind Jerry West's 30 points and 16 rebounds, defeated UCLA 87-73.

Jan. 18 - at No. 18 UCLA 66, USC 45 - before 13,037 in Pauley Pavilion (tied for the fourth largest crowd in Pauley history/vs. Oregon, 3/11/95), USC used another strong defensive effort to defeat archrival USC 66-45.

UCLA, 10-2 in Pauley Pavilion this season, held the Trojans to their lowest season point output, the fewest points that UCLA has held USC to since 1967 (40-35) and it was UCLA's biggest margin of victory over the Trojans since 1997 (82-60). The Bruins' defensive effort held USC's high-scoring trio of Nick Young (8), Gabe Pruitt (4) and Lodrick Stewart (5) to a total of 17 points. The three had been averaging 46.6 points a game.

With 13:00 left in the first half, the Bruins jumped out to an 18-2 lead (Jordan Farmar three-pointer) and led by as many as 22 points (7:20, 29-7, Michael Roll three-pointer). The Bruins led 39-19 at halftime (UCLA is 12-1 this year when leading at halftime, losing only to Washington).

In the second half, the Bruins' biggest lead was 29 points (13:19, 55-26, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's two free throws).

UCLA had three players in double figurers - Farmar's game-high 15 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals; Arron Afflalo's 11 points and Mbah a Moute's 10 points and game-high seven rebounds (he has now led the Bruins in rebounding in 17 of 18 games).

The Bruins (15-3, 5-2), shot .457 (21-46) from the field, .300 (6-20) from three-point range and a season-best .857 (18-21) from the foul line, with a game-high 33 rebounds (UCLA is 13-0 when outrebounding its opponent), 16 assists, a game-high 19 turnovers, three blocked shots and six steals.

USC (12-6, 3-4) shot .295 (13-44/second-lowest opponent mark of the season/in UCLA's win over Stanford, the Cardinal shot .292 (14-48) from the field, .111 (1-9/second-lowest opponent mark of the season/in UCLA's victory over Drexel, the Dragons shot .100 (1-10) from three-point range and .720 (18-25) from the foul line, with 27 rebounds, seven assists, 18 turnovers, two blocked shots and one steal.

Ben Howland - In his third season at UCLA, with a school mark of 44-31 (.587). Last year, he led the Bruins back to the NCAA Tournament (for the first time since 2002) and became only the 28th coach in NCAA history to lead three schools to the NCAA Tournament -2005 UCLA, 2003 Pittsburgh ('Sweet 16'), 2002 Pittsburgh ('Sweet 16') and 1998 Northern Arizona. In his 12th year as a collegiate head coach (it's his 25th season in college basketball as an assistant and head coach), in 2002 Howland was the National Coach of the Year while at Pittsburgh, he is 212-130 (.620/UCLA's 56-37 win over Delaware State on Nov. 19 in Pauley was Howland's 200th career win). Howland is 5-2 vs. WVU.

Best Start Since - UCLA's 15-3 start (UCLA's eight-game winning streak was snapped by the home loss to California) compares to:
-2001-02 under Steve Lavin - the Bruins started 13-3, then lost game No. 17 at Arizona (96-86, Jan. 19). That team finished 21-12 overall (11-7 in the Pac-10) and advanced to the NCAA 'Sweet 16'.
-1997-98 under Lavin - the Bruins started 17-3, and lost game No. 21 at Oregon (97-81, Feb. 5). That team finished 24-9 overall (12-6 Pac-10, 3rd-place) and advanced to the NCAA 'Sweet 16'.
-1994-95 under Jim Harrick - 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.
-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 won the next game vs. USC in Pauley (15-1), then lost game No. 17 at Notre Dame (79-63, Feb. 5). The team would finish 21-7 overall, tied for second in the Pac-10 and lose in the first round of the NCAA to Tulsa.

-Lorenzo Mata - Injured his right knee late in the game vs. Washington State (an MRI revealed a nondisplaced right tibial plateau fracture-he will be out six-to-eight weeks, but once the fracture is healed, Mata is expected to resume full activity). Including Washington State, he had started the previous six games at center. For the season, in 12 games (eight starts), he averaged 18.2 minutes, 4.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, led the team in blocked shots (17) and shot .513 from the field.

-Josh Shipp - had right hip surgery on Sept. 28 and missed the Bruins' first 11 games. Came back to play in UCLA's first four Pac-10 contests (11.3ppg/4.8rpg), but on Jan. 10 announced that because of continued and increasing pain and discomfort in the right hip, he would not play for the rest of the season. Once the 2005-06 season is completed, UCLA will petition the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver, hoping to get Shipp another year of eligibility.

-Jordan Farmar - resprained his right ankle vs. Stanford in the second half (played only four minutes), then came back to start and play 36 minutes vs. California. He's started the last 12 games (originally sprained his right ankle vs. Temple and missed the Delware State and Albany games).

-Ryan Wright - sprained his right ankle in the first half vs. Stanford, but came back to play (22 minutes) and has appeared in every Pac-10 game.

-Ryan Hollins - Strained his groin in warm-ups for the Sacramento State game and missed the next six games. He played 21 minutes vs. USC (season-high nine points) and 17 minutes vs. Washington.

-Michael Fey - On Dec. 1, suffered a right ankle sprain in practice - he did not play in UCLA's first five Pac-10 contests, played one minute vs. Washington and did not play vs. USC. In all, he's missed 10 games this season with groin, left shoulder and right ankle injuries.

-Cedric Bozeman - on Dec. 27 (before the Stanford game), injured his left shoulder (an MRI revealed a cartilage tear). Bozeman will rest and rehab for 3-4 weeks (and attempt to come back and play after that time period). He was cleared this week to begin shooting and dribbling (noncontact drills).

-Alfred Aboya - Has had two arthroscopic procedures (cartilage) on his knees (Oct. 11, left/July 11, right). He missed the first six games, but has played in the last 12, and started vs. USC. Vs. Washington, he suffered a right knee injury, but an MRI revealed no new articular cartilage damage (and he started the next game vs. USC).

Best Backcourt - this week named UCLA's backcourt of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo the third-best in the U. S. - behind Villanova (Randy Foye and Allan Ray) and Michigan State (Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown).

NCAA Stats - Going into this week, the Bruins were - Team - No. 15 FG% (.492), No. No. 21 Personal Fouls per Game (15.6), No. 49tied Scoring Defense (62.1); Individual - Rebounds per Game - No. 44 Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (8.8, the nation's top freshman rebounder), Assists Per Game - No. 16tied Jordan Farmar (6.1/Pac-10 leader).

Bruin Starters
Arron Afflalo - a early-season All-American, Afflalo is UCLA's leading scorer (18.3/second in the Pac-10), tops in minutes (34.9/third in the Pac-10), is averaging 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists, and shooting .519 from the field, .383 from three-point range and .805 from the foul line. Vs. USC, he had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes and played tough defense throughout the game. He's led the Bruins in scoring 12 (of 18) games this season, including a streak of seven in a row (Wagner-Washington State). He's scored 20 or more points eight times, including a career-high 23 vs. Stanford and New Mexico State. He's the only Bruin to start every game and score in double figures in every game. His career three-point field goal percentage (.384, 83-216) is No. 11 in school history.

Jordan Farmar - A preseason Wooden Award and Naismith candidate, Farmar is the Pac-10 assist leader (6.13), and for the Bruins, No. 2 in scoring (12.8) and No. 3 in minutes (30.5). He's second on the team in total steals (18). Vs. USC, Farmar had a game-high 15 points, a season-high tying five rebounds, six assists and two steals in 27 minutes. He's been playing with a sprained right ankle suffered in the second half (played only four minutes) of the Stanford game (originally sprained vs. Temple, has missed two games this season because of the injury). He has scored in double figures 10 times, has three games of 21 or more points, including a career-high 28 vs. Memphis in the NIT Season Tipoff, has led the Bruins in scoring four times, including consecutive wins over Nevada (24) at the Wooden Classic and at Michigan (21) and in assists on 13 occasions, including the last six games (he had a career-best 12 assists vs. Washington and 10 vs. Coppin State).

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - A starter in all 18 games at forward, Mbah a Moute is UCLA's leading rebounder (8.7, No. 2 in the Pac-10/top freshman rebounder in the U. S./has led the Bruins in rebounding in 17 of 18 games) and averaging 8.2 points. He is tied for first on the team in total steals (20) and is second in blocked shots (16). His streak of leading the Bruins in rebounding (first 12 games - the longest Bruin streak since 1977-78, when David Greenwood led UCLA in rebounding in the last 13 regular season games) was snapped when he had three rebounds vs. Cal (he's now led the Bruins in rebounding the last five games). Vs. USC, had 10 points, a game-high seven rebounds, with two steals and blocked shots in 30 minutes. He has five double/doubles (and six double digit rebounding games) - including consecutive double/doubles vs. Stanford (12/12)/Sacramento State (season-high 13/10) and Albany (season-high13/season-high13)/Coppin State (11/10) - the last UCLA freshman to have consecutive double/doubles was JaRon Rush in 1998-99/final two games that season, 16/10 at Arizona, 10/13 vs. Detroit Mercy (NCAA).

Michael Roll - Started his first game vs. WSU (in place of the injured Josh Shipp), and has started the last three games (in all, he's appeared in 17 games) averaging 32.0 minutes and 11.0 points (scored a season-best 17 points vs. Washington) and shooting .579 (11-19) from the field, .529 (9-17) from three-point range and 1.000 (2-2) from the foul line. Vs. USC, played 30 minutes, with six points, a season-high three rebounds and one assist.

Alfred Aboya - Has played in the last 12 games and had his first season start vs. USC, playing 18 minutes, with four points and a season-high tying three rebounds. He's averaging 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds and shooting .667 from the field (18-27).

Off the Bench - Vs. USC - the Bruins used six players off the bench-
-Darren Collison -in 25 minutes vs. USC, had seven points, with one rebound, five assists and one steal. Collison, who has started two games and appeared in every game (18), is averaging 20.5 minutes, 5.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals (tied for team lead) and shooting .833 from the foul line.
-Ryan Hollins - Vs. USC, played his best game since coming back from a groin injury (injured his groin during warmups vs. Sacramento State, missed six games, then played 17 minutes off the bench vs. Washington), playing 21 minutes, with a season-best nine points, three rebounds, one blocked shot and a season-high one steal. Hollins, who started the first five games at center, is averaging 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds. His 80 career blocked shots is No. 10 in school history.
-Ryan Wright - in 21 minutes vs. USC, had four points, four rebounds and a season-best one assist. Wright has appeared in 14 games (started four times), and is averaging 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds and shooting a team-high .742 (23-31) from the field.
-Janou Rubin- Vs. USC, played two minutes with a season-high tying one rebound. Rubin has appeared in eight games, averaging 3.4 minutes.
-Walkons Kelvin Kim (two minutes) and DeAndre Robinson (one minute).