No. 15 UCLA Plays at USC Sunday

Feb. 15, 2006

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UCLA HEAD COACH Ben Howland - In his third season at UCLA and 12th year as a collegiate head coach (in his 25th season of college basketball, as an assistant and head coach). In his career, Howland is 3-2 vs. USC.
2005-06 - UCLA (20-5, 25 games/.800)
2004-05 - UCLA (18-11, 29 games/.621)
2003-04 - UCLA (11-17, 28 games/.393)
UCLA Totals - 49-33, 82 games/.598
2000-03 - Pittsburgh (89-40, 129 games/69.0)
1995-99 - N. Arizona (79-59, 138 games/57.2)
Overall Totals - (217-132, 349 games/.622)

Howland is shooting for his 50th win as UCLA's head coach this week (he is 49-33, .598). He has led UCLA this season to two Pac-10 road sweeps (at the Oregon schools, first time since 2000-01, and Arizona schools, first time since 1996-97) - not since 1996-97 have the Bruins had two Pac-10 road sweeps (at the Arizona and Washington schools/1997 was the last year UCLA won the Pac-10 Championship). He recorded his 200tth career victory on Nov. 19, when UCLA defeated Delaware State 56-37 in Pauley Pavilion. In Howland's second year (2004-05) at UCLA, he joined an elite list of college coaches (28) who have led three different teams to the NCAA Tournament (Howland's overall NCAA record is 4-4) - 2005 UCLA, 2003 Pittsburgh ('Sweet 16), 2002 Pittsburgh ('Sweet 16') and 1998 Northern Arizona. In 2005, Howland led the Bruins back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002; he directed the Bruins to a win over nationally-ranked Washington; led UCLA to a third-place tie in the Pac-10 and to a Pac-10 Tournament appearance. In Howland's first year (2003-04) at UCLA, highlights included a 9-3 start (5-0 in the Pac-10), wins over NCAA Tournament teams Michigan State, Washington (twice) and Vermont and an appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament.

In his last two seasons (2002-03) 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.

SUNDAY, FEB. 19 - No. 15/No. 14 UCLA (20-5/10-3, lst-place) at USC (15-9/6-7, 6th-place) - Los Angeles Sports Arena/5 p.m. PT (TV-FSN, with Steve Physioc and Marques Johnson/Radio - 570 AM, with Chris Roberts and Don MacLean; Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 125).

THURSDAY, FEB. 23 - OREGON STATE at UCLA - Pauley Pavilion/7:30 p.m. PT (TV- FSNW2 with Bill Macdonald and Don MacLean/Radio- 1150 AM, with Chris Roberts; Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 123).

BRUIN BITSStart the Season - UCLA's 20-5 start (UCLA's eight-game winning streak was snapped by the home loss to California/its five game winning streak was stopped by the road loss at No. 21 Washington-it was UCLA's first road loss of the season) is the best under Howland (in his third season). UCLA is 6-1 on the road this season, including 5-1 in Pac-10 road games. Four of UCLA's five losses have been to teams ranked in this week's AP Top 25 (No. 3 Memphis, No. 11 West Virginia and No. 20 Washington twice). UCLA's RPI ranking is No. 11 (going into Sunday's USC game /the RPI is updated every Wednesday, 9 a.m. PT,

Here's how UCLA's 20-5 record compares to other impressive Bruin starts - Under Steve Lavin - 2000-01, 19-6 after 25 games, won next game to go 20-6; 1997-98, UCLA started 18-5, but lost two of the next three games.

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 19-4, but lost three of the season's final five games.

The Bruins Are - 20-4 when holding the opponent under 80 points, 17-1 when leading at halftime, 9-1 when shooting .500 or better from the field and 10-0 when holding the opponent to under .400, 16-2 when outshooting the opponent from the field, 13-1 when outshooting the opponent from three-point range, 16-2 with a rebound advantage and 19-1 when leading with five minutes to play.Defense - UCLA has held five of its last eight opponents under .400 and two under .300. Only once in the last eight games has an opponent shot better than .458. Six of those eight opponents scored 60 points or less. WSU's 30 points was the lowest total by a Bruin opponent since the 1966-67 season, when Oregon scored 25. In this week's Pac-10 statistics (league games only), UCLA is first in scoring defense (59.4) scoring margin (+6.8) and rebounding defense (29.5), second in FG% Defense (.418) and third in 3PT FG% Defense (.314). In league games, the Bruins are also first in offensive FG% (.464).

20 Wins - It's the 42nd time in school history the Bruins have won 20 games (last time, 2001-02, 21-12). UCLA has won 20 games on 34 occasions in the last 40 years (1967-2006). This is UCLA's fastest to 20 victories since the 1994-95 NCAA Championship season (20-1, went on to a 32-1 overall record, the 32 wins is a school record).

Best Backcourt - On Jan. 25, 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).

Fast Starts - In three Pac-10 games this season, the Bruins have gotten off to fast starts - in UCLA's 71-54 win over Stanford in Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins led 18-1 (14:25); in UCLA's 66-45 victory over USC in Pauley, the Bruins led 18-2 (13:00) and in UCLA's 50-30 win at Washington State, the Bruins led 18-2 (12:56).

Jordan Farmar - One of only four players in the nation, and the only underclassman, who is a Mid-Season Top 30 Candidate for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, both honors given to the nation's top player, as well as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, for the nation's top point guard. He leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.48) and is 10th in steals (1.22). He's led the Bruins in assists in 12 of the last 13 games and 19 of 25 games (vs. Washington in January, Farmar had a career-best 12 assists, also had 10 vs. Coppin State). Playing on a sprained left ankle, at Washington State, Farmar scored 20 of UCLA's 50 points and added 13 points and five assists at Washington. On Feb. 4 vs. Arizona, he sprained his left ankle (X-rays Saturday night revealed no abnormalities and an MRI on Monday confirmed the ankle sprain). He spent the week in a walking boot but played in both games at Washington. He has also 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 eight games and in 17 contests this season.

Farmar has five games of 20 or more points, including a career-high 28 vs. Memphis in an NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal. Farmar has led the Bruins in scoring seven times, including consecutive wins over Nevada (24) at the Wooden Classic and at Michigan (21).

Arron Afflalo - UCLA's leading scorer (16.7/seventh in the Pac-10), he's an early season 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 23 of 25 games. He has nine games of 20 or more points. In UCLA's home sweep of the Arizona schools, Afflalo scored a career-high 27 points vs. Arizona (career-best 13-16 from the foul line) with a season-high tying four assists and vs. Arizona State, added 17 points, six rebounds and a season-high tying two steals. His previous scoring high was 23 points twice, vs. Stanford and New Mexico State. He's led UCLA in scoring in 13 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 (8.6/No. 3 in the Pac-10, leading freshman rebounder in the conference and No. 4 freshman scorer/the nation's second-leading freshman rebounder/the highest freshman average in UCLA history, breaking Don MacLean's 7.5, 1989), he's been UCLA's leading rebounder in 22 of 25 games. He's also second in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounding (3.12) and third in defensive rebounds (5.44). 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 sweep of the Oregon schools, Mbah a Moute 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 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 nine games and start the last six. On the road trip to Washington, he had six rebounds vs. WSU and a season-high nine boards (seven points) at Washington. Vs. the Arizona schools in Pauley, he scored a season-best 12 points vs. Arizona with three rebounds and vs. Arizona State, added six points and four rebounds. As a starter at the Oregon schools, in a season-best 35 minutes at Oregon State, Hollins had a then-season-high tying 11 points, with seven rebounds and at Oregon, although in foul trouble, he contributed five points, three rebounds and a season-best four blocked shots.

Cedric Bozeman - After missing eight games with a left shoulder injury (cartilage/he started the first 11 games before the injury), Bozeman has returned to play in the last six games and started the last five contests. With Bozeman in the lineup, the Bruins are 15-2 (14-2 as a starter).

Alfred Aboya - the freshman had his best game of the season at Washington, leading the Bruins with a career-high 15 points (6-6, 3-6) and added a career-best eight rebounds (six offensive) in a career-high 31 minutes.

HEAD COACH TIM FLOYD - In his first season at USC. Before coming to USC, he was a head coach in the NBA for five seasons and a Div. I collegiate head coach for 12 years prior to his NBA experience. He's 0-2 vs. UCLA.

THE TROJANS - USC has lost its last three games and on Feb. 6 in practice, sophomore guard Gabe Pruitt (34.1 minutes/17.0ppg/4.2rpg) suffered a left knee fracture and may be lost for the season. USC lost both games at the Washington schools, 87-73 on Feb. 9 at Washington and 60-47 on Feb. 11 at Washington State. Nick Young led the Trojans in both games, scoring 28 in Seattle and 10 at Pullman. He's USC's leading scorer (17.3).

SERIES HISTORY - The Bruins lead it 122-98. UCLA has won the last three games in a row, including earlier this season in Pauley Pavilion, 66-45. Before UCLA's three-game winning streak, the Trojans had swept the series in both 2003 and 2004.

THE LA SPORTS ARENA (courtesy of UCLA radio statistician Dave Davis) - Sunday will be UCLA's final appearance in the Sports Arena and the 133rd game the Bruins have played there. The first contest for the Bruins at the Sports Arena was the very first game in the building-Dec. 1, 1959 in a nonconference game vs. USC. The starting time was 9:30 p.m., with the Frosh contest beginning at 7:30 p.m. USC won the freshman matchup and UCLA the varsity game, 47-45, before 6,880. It was the 1959-60 season opener for both schools.

The overall record for UCLA at the Sports Arena is 105-27 (.795), including four wins in two NCAA Final Fours (1968/1972). The best Bruin winning home season was 1964-65 (14-0/28-2 overall, second NCAA Championship season) and in 1963-64, UCLA was 13-0 at the Sports Arena (30-0 overall, first NCAA title).

While UCLA and USC shared the Sports Arena as a home court (1959-60 - 1964-65), UCLA was 14-6 vs. USC (.700). UCLA's overall record vs. USC at the Sports Arena is 43-18 (.705). The teams played five times at the Sports Arena in 1959-60, with UCLA winning three of the five games.

LAST UCLA/USC GAME - 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.

Feb. 11- at No. 21 Washington 70, No. 13 UCLA 67 - Washington swept the regular season series vs. UCLA for the first time since 1987, beating the Bruins 70-67 in Seattle (on Jan. 14 in Pauley Pavilion, then No. 13 Washington beat then No. 11 UCLA 69-65).In a tight game throughout the contest, the Bruins trailed 28-24 at halftime, UCLA led 60-58 (3:39 remaining), on a three-point play (dunk and foul shot) by Alfred Aboya.

But the Huskies outscored UCLA 12-7 in the game's final 3:30. With 9.2 seconds left, Darren Collison missed his first free throw, but made the second, cutting Washington's lead to one point (68-67). With 8.1 remaining, the Huskies Justin Dentmon connected on two free throws to give Washington its winning margin (70-67).

The Bruins had two players foul out (Cedric Bozeman/eight points in 31 minutes; Ryan Hollins/seven points, season-high nine rebounds in 17 minutes) and had three players with four fouls (Aboya, season-high 31 minutes, 15 points and eight rebounds, including six offensive; Jordan Farmar, 13 points and a team-high five assists and two steals in 32 minutes and Arron Afflalo, five points and four rebounds in 31 minutes). Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 11 points and four rebounds.

The Bruins (20-5, 10-3) shot .423 (22-52) from the field, .190 (4-21) from three-point range and .655 (19-29) from the foul line, with a game-high 34 rebounds (only second loss, 16-2, when outrebounding the opponent), 13 assists, a game-high 20 turnovers, including a season-high 14 in the first half, 0 blocked shots and eight steals.

UW (18-5, 7-5) shot .396 (19-48) from the field, .333 (4-12) from three-point range and .824 (28-34) from the foul line, with 26 rebounds, 12 assists, 15 turnovers, three blocked shots and seven steals. The Huskies were led by Brandon Roy's 20 points, including 13-16 from the free throw line.

Feb. 9- No. 13 UCLA 50, at Washington State 30 - before 4,097 at Friel Court, UCLA jumped out to an 18-2 first half advantage (12:56) and held the Cougars to an opponent season-low .275 from the field, as Jordan Farmar's game-high 20 points led the Bruins to a 50-30 victory over the Cougars. It was UCLA's 20th season win and fifth consecutive victory.

The Bruins held WSU to the lowest UCLA opponent total since 1966-67 (Feb. 17, 1967 -UCLA 34, at Oregon 25, McArthur Court in Eugene/halftime score UCLA 18-Oregon 14/ it was also UCLA's 20th season victory/the Bruins would finish 30-0 and win the school's third NCAA title behind the play of sophomore center Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). It was WSU's lowest scoring output at Friel Court and its lowest point total in Pullman since a 51-30 loss to Oregon State on Feb. 24, 1947.

The Bruins led at halftime 26-12. It was the lowest opponent halftime total since 1983-84, when UCLA and Howard played in Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 19, 1983 (UCLA led 29-9 at halftime and won the game 63-52).

Farmer scored 20 (or more points for the fifth time this season) and it was the seventh time this year he has led the Bruins in scoring, including two of the last three games. Arron Afflalo also scored in double figures (12 points) and had another impressive defense performance, this time vs. Josh Akognon (four points/was averaging 11.4 points/scored 25 second half points vs. UCLA in the Bruins 63-61 win over WSU on Jan. 12 in Pauley Pavilion). Luc Richard Mbah a Moute once again led the Bruins in rebounding (seven), for the 22nd time (24 games) this season.

UCLA's (20-4, 10-2) 50 points was a season-low (the lowest since 2003-04, when the Bruins were held to 48 twice by Washington State- that season, UCLA defeated WSU 48-45 in Spokane, but lost to the Cougars 55-48 in Pauley Pavilion).The Bruins shot .452 (19-42) from the field, .222 (2-9) from three point range and .769 (10-13) from the foul line, with a game-high 34 rebounds, six assists, 13 turnovers, one blocked shot and six steals.

The Cougars' (10-10, 3-8) 30 points was an opponent season-low. WSU shot an opponent season-low .275 (14-51) from the field, an opponent season-low .000 (0-7) from three-point range (breaking a string of 300 games in which WSU had scored from three-point range) and .400 (2-5) from the foul line, with 29 rebounds, an opponent season-low tying five assists, 13 turnovers, three blocked shots and five steals. WSU was led by Aron Baynes' 10 points.


With the Lexus Gauntlet approaching the halfway mark of the 18-sport cross-town competition, a major weekend looms for both UCLA and USC.

A total of 10 points are on the line in women's and men's basketball contests. The defending Lexus Gauntlet champion Bruins can pull close to USC in the pursuit of the fifth annual trophy with a pair of victories. A sweep by the Trojans, however, would enable Troy to close in on recapturing the coveted all-sports trophy.

USC holds a 40-15 advantage over UCLA nearing the halfway mark of the year-round 18-sport competition. The Women of Troy (15-9, 9-6 in Pac-10) travel to Pauley Pavilion to face the Bruins (15-9, 10-5) Saturday at 1 p.m. USC defeated UCLA 73-70 on Jan. 21 at the Sports Arena to claim the first 5-of-10 available points in women's basketball.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., the No. 15 Bruin men (20-5, 10-3) will travel across town to the Sports Arena to play USC (15-9, 6-7). On Jan. 18 in Pauley, UCLA defeated USC 66-45 to gain the first five available Gauntlet points in the sport.

Sophomore point guard Jordan Farmar (missed two games) - suffered a right groin strain in practice on Thursday (Oct. 27) and was held out of practice for five days (Thursday-Tuesday, the Bruins did not practice on Sunday, Oct. 30). After a Nov. 1 examination, Farmar, who had shown significant improvement, continued to strengthen and receive treatment. He did not practice or play the rest of the week and did not play in UCLA's exhibition game vs. Carleton (Friday, Nov. 4). Farmar was cleared to resume practice on Monday (Nov. 7) and started vs. CS Monterey Bay. Farmar started the first two NIT Season Tip-Off encounters, but sprained his right ankle vs. Temple and did not play vs. Delaware State. He started vs. Memphis and Drexel. Following an inconclusive early MRI on Tuesday (Nov. 29), another MRI was taken later that day which showed Farmar did not have a right foot stress fracture. He did not play vs. Albany (Nov. 29), but came back to start vs. Coppin State (Dec. 4) and responded with his first career double/double (16 points-then career-high 10 assists) and has started every game since Coppin State. Farmar sprained his right ankle in the second half vs. Stanford (played only four minutes), but came back to start vs. California (36 minutes). Started vs. the Arizona schools - had the ankle retaped in the first half of the Arizona game (hit four consecutive free throws late in the game to preserve UCLA's win) and at ASU, hit two baskets at the end of the contest to win the game for UCLA. Led the Bruins in scoring vs. USC (15) and WVU (22) and led the Bruins to two wins in Oregon for the first time since 2001. Vs. Arizona in Pauley Pavilion, he sprained his left ankle in the second half, got retaped, and played 31 minutes (X-rays on Saturday night revealed no abnormalities and an MRI on Monday confirmed the sprained ankle). He was in a walking boot during the week leading up to the WSU game. He is UCLA's second-leading scorer (13.8) and leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.48/had a career-high 12 assists vs. Washington).

Freshman forward Michael Roll - jammed his right thumb in practice on Jan. 31 (before Arizona State game) and Feb. 1 X-rays revealed a sprain. He played 15 minutes vs. ASU and 14 vs. Arizona.

Cedric Bozeman (missed eight games) - The senior forward who had started every game before Stanford, on Dec. 27 injured his left shoulder in practice (an MRI revealed torn cartilage). At the time of the injury, Bozeman was averaging 31.2 minutes, 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. He missed eight games. Bozeman was cleared the week of the USC and WVU games to resume shooting and dribbling, but did not play. He returned to action at the Oregon schools, has played in the last six games and started the last five.

Freshman guard Darren Collison - suffered a sprained left ankle in the West Virginia game. The X-rays were negative, he did not practice Monday or Tuesday (before the Oregon games), but played at both Oregon (17 minutes) and Oregon State (13 minutes).

Senior center Ryan Hollins (missed six games) - strainedhis groin during warm-ups vs. Sacramento State (did notplay) and missed six consecutive games. He has now playedin the last nine games and started the last six contests.

Senior center Michael Fey (missed 15 games) - before the start of practice (Oct. 14), was diagnosed with a severe groin strain. On Tuesday (Nov. 8), Fey was cleared for a one hour workout (once a day, starting Nov. 9). Fey participated in team practice on Saturday (Nov. 12). He played 17 minutes vs. New Mexico State (seven points/two rebounds) and 15 minutes vs. Temple (0 points/two rebounds), but sprained his left shoulder. He did not play vs. Delaware State and his status was 'day-to-day'. In New York, Fey played a season-high 21 minutes vs. Memphis (season-high 13 points/four rebounds) and five minutes vs. Drexel. On Thursday (Dec. 1), suffered a right ankle sprain in practice and did not play vs. Coppin State on Dec. 4 and Nevada on Dec. 10. He did play two minutes at Michigan. Fey did not play vs. Wagner, came in for nine minutes (two points/three rebounds) vs. Sacramento State. Fey missed the Bruins' first five Pac-10 contests. He did play one minute vs. Washington and Arizona State, but did not play vs. USC, WVU, Oregon, OSU and Arizona. He played two minutes at WSU, but did not play at Washington.

Freshman forward Alfred Aboya (missed six games) - had a right knee arthroscopic procedure on July 11 and had a left knee arthroscopic procedure on Oct. 12. Aboya was re-evaluated on Nov. 2 and he did not have any basketball activity for the next two weeks. His first game was Coppin State (Dec. 4 -16 minutes, two rebounds and assists) and he's appeared in every game since (17). Vs. Washington, Aboya suffered a right knee injury, but an MRI revealed no new articular cartilage damage and he started both the USC and West Virginia games.

Freshman center Ryan Wright - sprained his right ankle in the Stanford game, but continued to play in the Cardinal contest (22 minutes, five points, four rebounds) and vs. California (15 minutes, three points). He has played in every Pac-10 game and started vs. Washington.

Sophomore center Lorenzo Mata (missed nine games/out 6-8 weeks) - suffered a concussion in practice on Dec. 1 and did not play on Dec. 4 vs. Coppin State and vs. Nevada on Dec. 10. Since then, he started seven of eight games (played with a bloody nose/slight fracture at Arizona State, suffered in the first half). Vs. Washington State, suffered a nondisplaced right tibial plateau fracture (he will be out 6-8 weeks, but once the fracture is healed, Mata is expected to resume full activity.

Sophomore forward Josh Shipp (missed 21 games/out for season) - on Sept. 28, had an arthroscopic right hip procedure. During his initial rehabilitation, he was on crutches for almost a month (came off of crutches on Oct. 26). Shipp returned to the starting to start the Pac-10 season (he missed the first 11 games) and started the first four league contests, scoring in double figures (11.3ppg/4.8rpg/29.8mpg) in every game. On Jan. 10, because of constant and increasing pain in the right hip, Shipp announced he would not practice or play for the remainder of the season (UCLA will petition for a medical hardship waiver at the conclusion of the season).

Sophomore guard Arron Afflalo - suffered a left quadricep contusion on Oct. 29. He was listed as day-to-day, resumed practice on Nov. 3 and has started every game. He leads the Bruins in points (17.4/No. 5 in the Pac-10) and minutes (34.4, No. 3 in the Pac-10). At Arizona State, fell heavily to the floor at the end of the game, suffering a left hip pointer and right backside bruised soft tissue. But came back to start vs. the Washington schools in Pauley Pavilion

Freshman forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - before the start of practice (Oct. 14) was diagnosed with a sprained right shoulder. He returned to full-time practice status on Oct. 22 and has started every game and leads the Bruins in rebounding (8.8, No. 3 in the Pac-10/No. 2 freshman rebounder in the U. S.).

Redshirt Freshman Walkon Joey Ellis - On Oct. 7, had a left knee arthroscopic procedure and has not appeared in a game.

NATIONAL POLLS - This week, the Bruins are ranked No. 15 by AP and No. 14 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to traveling to Washington, they were rated No. 13 by AP and No. 12 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to hosting the Arizona schools in Pauley Pavilion, UCLA was rated No. 14 by AP and No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today. Before going to the Oregon schools, the Bruins were No. 17 by AP and ESPN/USA Today. Prior to USC and WVU, the Bruins were ranked No. 18 by AP and No. 16 by ESPN/USA Today. Before facing the Washington schools in Pauley, UCLA for the second time this season was No. 11 (AP) and No. 12 (ESPN/USA Today). Traveling to the Arizona schools, the Bruins were No. 17 in both polls. UCLA was No. 11 in both polls (before facing Stanford/California in Pauley Pavilion/UCLA's highest regular season ranking since 2001-02/No. 10-the Bruins that season had a preseason ranking of No. 3). UCLA was No. 12 in both polls (before facing Wagner and Sacramento State). The Bruins were No. 14 in both polls going into Michigan. Prior to facing Nevada (Dec. 10) in the Wooden Classic, the Bruins were No. 16 (AP) and No. 18 (USA Today/ESPN). The week of Nov. 28, UCLA was No. 16 (AP) and No. 17 (USA Today/ESPN). The week of the NIT Season Tip-Off Final Four (Nov. 21), the Bruins were No. 16 in both polls (UCLA's highest ranking since the start of the 2002-03 season/No. 14). UCLA was preseason rated No. 19 by AP and tied for No. 18 by USA Today/ESPN (it was the Bruins' first preseason rating since 2002-03/No. 14).

2005 NIT SEASON TIP-OFF TOURNAMENT - For the first time since 1996 and for the fourth time in school history (2005-1996-1992-1987), the Bruins played in the NIT Season Tip-Off and for the second time in school history, placed third.At the NIT Season Tip-Off at New York City's Madison Square Garden, on Nov. 25 Duke defeated Memphis 70-67 for the championship and in the third-place game, the Bruins beat Drexel 57-56. In the semis on Nov. 23, Duke defeated Drexel 78-68 and Memphis beat UCLA 88-80.

The first-round NIT matchups were - Nov. 14 - Boston U. at Duke (D 64-57), Manhattan at Seton Hall (SH 66-52), Sam Houston State at Missouri (SHS 80-77) and Drexel at Princeton (D 54-41); Nov. 15- Miami (Ohio) at Alabama (A 64-58), Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Memphis (M 79-52), Army at Temple (T 69-37) and New Mexico State at UCLA (U 83-70). Second Round results - Nov. 16- at Duke 93-Seton Hall 40; Nov. 17 - at Drexel 72-Sam Houston State 61, Memphis 87-at Alabama 76 and at UCLA 54-Temple 47.In UCLA's preseason NIT history, the Bruins - in 1996, lost in the first round to Tulsa in Pauley Pavilion (77-76, OT); in 1992, lost a semifinal game to Seton Hall 73-64 and defeated Florida State 86-83 for third-place and in 1987, lost a second round contest at New Mexico 77-66.

UCLA REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE - In the Preseason AP poll, the Bruins will face five teams on this year's schedule - No. 9 Arizona, No. 12 Memphis, No. 13 Stanford, No. 15 West Virginia and No. 25 Nevada. UCLA's 2005-06 men's basketball schedule will feature nine teams that advanced to postseason play last season (NCAA/NIT) and the Bruins will also participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off and Wooden Classic. Teams from last year's NCAA include - Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Delaware State (Saturday, Nov. 19 in Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m.), Western Athletic Conference Nevada in the Wooden Classic (Saturday, Dec. 10 in Anaheim, 2:30 p.m./KCAL), Big East West Virginia (Saturday, Jan. 12 in Pauley Pavilion, 12:45 p.m., CBS/the Mountaineers in the 2005 NCAA advanced to the Albuquerque Regional final, losing to Louisville 93-85OT) and Pac-10 foes Washington, Arizona and Stanford. Also in 2005, conference opponents Oregon State and Arizona State participated in the NIT, as did Memphis. For the fourth consecutive season, UCLA will play Big 10 Michigan (Dec. 17 in Ann Arbor, 9 a.m. PT/ESPN) -UCLA leads the series 9-3 and has won the last two games, 68-61 on Dec. 17 and last season, defeating the Wolverines in Pauley 81-79.

PAC-10 MEDIA DAY-BRUINS SELECTED THIRD IN PRESEASON VOTE - Nov. 3 was Pac-10 Media Day at the LAX Hilton. According to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball, Arizona was picked to win the 2006 conference title.

Here's the vote total -1. Arizona (23) 325, 2. Stanford (9) 294, 3. UCLA 263 (2), 4. Washington 238, 5. California 212, 6. Oregon 183, 7. Oregon State 132, 8. USC 87, 9. Washington State 86, 10. Arizona State 50.

MIDSEASON HONORS- Here's a list of the Bruin preseason team and individual honors:Jordan Farmar is on the mid-season Naismith Trophy (30 players) and Wooden Award (30 players) lists. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (nation's top point guard). Farmar is one of just four players, he's the only underclassman, mentioned for all three honors (joining senior guards, Illinois' Dee Brown, Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser and Syracuse's Gerry McNamara).Arron Afflalo - was named an early-season All-American by

Farmar and Afflalo were named the nation's No. 3 backcourt by (Jan. 25).

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was named to Seth Davis' All-Glue team on Feb. 15 (given to players who emphasize team play over individualism). He was named the National Freshman of the Week (Jan. 30) for his efforts in UCLA's two victories at the Oregon schools.

James Keefe, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from Santa Margarita Catholic HS (Rancho Santa Margarita) who is considered one of the nation's top-rated power forwards entering his senior high school season, has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend UCLA, Bruin head coach Ben Howland announced Nov. 9. Wednesday is the first day of the early signing period that extends until Nov. 16.

Under head coach Jerry DeBusk, Keefe led the Eagles in March to a second consecutive CIF Southern Section Div. III-AA Championship (28-5 overall), averaging 17.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots. Santa Margarita Catholic HS advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern California Regionals (Div. III) as Keefe earned State Junior Player of the Year honors and was first-team All-Serra League.

'I'm elated that James is joining our program,' said Howland. 'He's an outstanding player, a great person and an excellent student. James plays hard, is an outstanding rebounder, a good defender and plays very intelligently. His attitude and work ethic are going to help him improve and get better and better year-in and year-out.'

A recent first-team Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West Selection, Keefe is rated the No. 27 high school player in the nation by Bob Gibbons' All-Star Sports Top 100.

Entering 2005-06, his other preseason prep honors include - Street & Smith All-American (second team), The Sporting News' No. 36 player in the U. S., No. 37 player in the U. S. (No. 11 power forward in the U. S.) and Athlon Sports No. 38 player in the U. S.

Last summer, Keefe participated in the Gibbons' Memorial Weekend Tournament, playing for the title-winning Southern California All-Stars. He also played in the adidas All-America Camp in Suwanee, GA and with his high school team in the Reebok Las Vegas Big Time Tournament (an all-tourney choice) in July.

'Keefe puts as much energy and focus into his performance while screening for teammates and playing defense, as he does when the ball is in his possession,' said Frank Burlison, national basketball columnist for, long-time sportswriter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and a member of the USBWA Hall of Fame. 'He'll need to make fewer adjustments, especially on defense, than almost any other player in the class to be an immediate contributor in college. Keefe has been extremely well-coached by Jerry DeBusk and should make an immediate impact with the Bruins, perhaps even as a starter at some point during his freshman season.'

Marko Spica, a 6-9, 225-pound post player from Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at UCLA, Bruin head coach Ben Howland announced Tuesday. Spica will be an incoming freshman for the 2006-07 school year.

From the High School of Sport in Belgrade and considered one of the top young post players in Europe, Spica, since the age of 13, has been a member of the Beovuk Club. Within his club team, Spica for two years has been playing on his country's Junior squad, averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. Prior to that, for three seasons on the Youth team, he averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.

'Marko is a skilled post player,' Howland said. 'He can score down low. He can step out and shoot. He rebounds, he blocks out and he plays physical. Marko and James Keefe give us two talented inside players for next season.'

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