Pac-10 Leader UCLA Plays for Conference Championship This Week at Second-Place California Thursday and at Fourth-Place Stanford on Saturday
Feb. 28, 2006
NO. 15 (AP) /NO. 13 (ESPN/USA TODAY) UCLA (22-6/12-4, 1ST-PLACE) THIS WEEK PLAYS ITS FINAL REGULAR-SEASON GAMES, PLAYING AT SECOND-PLACE (TIED) CALIFORNIA (17-8/11-5) ON THURSDAY NIGHT AND AT STANFORD (14-11/10-6, 4TH-PLACE TIE) ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON; LAST WEEK, BRUINS SWEPT FINAL TWO HOME GAMES, DEFEATING OREGON STATE (78-60) THURSDAY AND OREGON (70-53) SUNDAY
Start the Season - UCLA's 22-6 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). It's UCLA's fastest to 20 wins (20-4) since the Bruins's 1994-95 NCAA Championship season (20-1). UCLA is 6-2 on the road this season, including 5-2 in Pac-10 road games. Four of UCLA's six losses have been to teams ranked in this week's AP Top 25 (No. 3 Memphis, No. 14 Washington twice and No. 16 West Virginia). UCLA's RPI ranking was No. 14 (going into Thursday's Oregon State game /the RPI is updated every Wednesday, 9 a.m. PT, ncaasports.com). Here's how UCLA's 22-6 record compares to other impressive Bruin starts -
Under Steve Lavin - 2000-01, 21-7 after 28 games, lost game 29 to finish regular season 21-8 entering NCAA Tournament; 1997-98, UCLA started 21-7, won game 29 (22-7), lost game 30 to finish the regular season 22-8 entering the NCAA Tournament.
Under Jim Harrick - In 1995-96, UCLA was 21-7 after 28 games but won its next two (23-7) before losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament; 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 - 22-5 when holding the opponent under 80 points, 17-1 when leading at halftime, 11-1 when shooting .500 or better from the field and 10-1 when holding the opponent to under .400, 18-2 when outshooting the opponent from the field, 15-2 when outshooting the opponent from three-point range, 18-3 with a rebound advantage and 21-1 when leading with five minutes to play.
Defense - UCLA has held five of its last 11 opponents under .400 and two under .300. Only twice in the last nine games has an opponent shot better than .464. Eight of those 11 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. Last season (all games), the Bruins allowed 71.7 points a game (this season, 60.0, a difference of -11.4 points).
Vs. the Oregon schools in Pauley last week, UCLA held the schools to an average of 56.5 points, including just 26.5 second half points. In this week's Pac-10 statistics (league games only), UCLA is second in scoring defense (59.8) and first in scoring margin (+7.6) and rebounding defense (28.3) and third in FG% defense (.429) and 3PT FG% defense (.320). In league games, the Bruins are also first in offensive FG% (.469).
In the Second Half - UCLA trailed both Oregon schools at halftime (OSU 32-26 and UO 28-23), but came back with big second half rallies (season high for a half 52 vs. OSU and second-highest season high for a second half 47 vs. UO). Vs. Oregon, the Bruins shot their best second-half FG% (.625, 15-24) of the season.
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, SI.com 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. On Feb. 18, was named first-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.38) and is 10th in scoring (14.3). He's led the Bruins in assists in 15 of the last 16 games and 22 of his 26 games (vs. Washington in January, Farmar had a career-best 12 assists, also had 10 vs. Coppin State). He led the Bruins with 21 points against Oregon State, including 17 in the second half, connecting on a career-high tying four three-pointers. Playing on two sprained ankles, he led the Bruins with 21 points at USC. The previous week, he scored 20 of UCLA's 50 points at Washington State 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 11 games and in 20 contests this season. Farmar has seven 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 nine times, including consecutive wins over Nevada (24) at the Wooden Classic and at Michigan (21).
Arron Afflalo - UCLA's leading scorer (16.8/seventh in the Pac-10), on Feb. 18 was named first-team NABC All-Dist. 15. Afflalo's an early season Scout.com All-American and was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team. He's started 27 games and scored in double figures in 26 of 28 games. He has 10 games of 20 or more points. He is first on the team and seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring at 16.8. Against the Oregon schools in Pauley, he scored 34 points, making 11 of 19 shots from the floor (5-10 from three-point range) and all seven free throw attempts. 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 14 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 (8.5/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 24 of 28 games. He's also second in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounding (3.18) and T-third in defensive rebounds (5.32). 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 seven double/doubles, the most in Bruin freshman history (breaking Jelani McCoy's mark of six, 1996), 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 10 games of double digit rebounds. He was named to Seth Davis' SI.com All-Glue team on Feb. 15 (given to players who emphasize team play over individualism). He led the Bruins with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the home win vs. Oregon. 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 Rivals.com 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 12 games and start eight of the last nine. 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 nine games and started the last eight contests. With Bozeman in the lineup, the Bruins are 17-3 (16-3 as a starter).