Second-Place Teams Square Off when California Visits No. 16/17 UCLA

Jan. 28, 2009


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Coach Howland's Weekly Press Conference (Jan. 27) 

DATE: Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
TIP-OFF: 7:37 p.m. PT
TALENT: Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Marques Johnson (analyst) and Michael Eaves (sideline)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Don MacLean (analyst)
SERIES: UCLA leads 129-94

Mustafa Abdul-Hamid is out for the remainder of the season after having surgery on Dec. 23 to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. Alfred Aboya received three stitches in his forehead immediately after the loss at Washington (Jan. 24) after contact in the game.

This is the 224th meeting between UCLA and California with the Bruins leading the series 129-94. UCLA leads the all-time matchups in Los Angeles 63-35 (.643) and is 36-7 (.837) vs. Cal in Pauley Pavilion. Last year, UCLA swept all three meetings, marking the first season sweep in 10 years and the first time either team has won three games against the other since UCLA matched the feat in 1987. A year ago, UCLA won 81-80 (March 8, 2008) in dramatic fashion when Josh Shipp hit an improbable shot with one second left for the win. Kevin Love came off the bench on 'Senior Night' to lead all scorers with 22 points. Russell Westbrook had 18 points and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute completed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Darren Collison chipped in 13 points while Shipp finished with 12. Ryan Anderson led Cal with 21 points while Jamal Boykin added 18. Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher each added 13 points, respectively. UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland is 12-4 against California. He has more wins against Cal than any other team he has faced in his 15 years of coaching.

UCLA dropped five spots to No. 16 this week in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and dropped four spots to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll, released on Jan. 26, 2009. UCLA has been ranked in the top 25 in the AP poll for 68 straight weeks (since the 2005-06 preseason) and in the Coaches Poll for 70 straight weeks (since 2004-05 final poll), which is the longest streak in the nation.

Ben Howland earned his 300th victory of his career with the 72-54 win over DePaul in the 15th Annual John R. Wooden Classic (Dec. 13, 2008). He is currently 309-148 (.676), which ranks 25th on the winningest active coaches list by percentage and 68th on the active list by victories. Howland's first career victory was his first game at Northern Arizona in 1994, a 71-69 victory over New Mexico Highlands. His 100th career victory came in his second season at Pittsburgh with the 77-65 win at home over Seton Hall (Jan. 13, 2001). His 200th win came in his third season at UCLA with the 56-37 home win over Delaware State (Nov. 19, 2005).

Collison has quietly built his conscutive free throw streak back to 18 since snapping the streak at USC.

Darren Collison's free-throw percentage of 95.5 percent (64-for-67) this season currently leads the nation and is tops on UCLA's single-season charts.

Collison also leads the team, Pac-10 and ranks 41st nationally in assists per game at 5.4 apg. He also leads the team, Pac-10 and ranks 21st nationally in assist turnover ratio at 2.55.

Nikola Dragović has made at least one three-point field goal in each of the last six games, the longest streak on the team. He's shooting 43.2 percent (19-for-44) from long range in Pac-10 games and has shot even better since being elevated as a starter at USC (Jan. 11), draining 45.6 percent (16-for-35) from three-point range.

In the last three-plus years, UCLA and Head Coach Ben Howland are 50-11 (.820) in Pacific-10 Conference play and 112-21 (.842) overall.

In the last three-plus years in Pacific-10 Conference play, Head Coach Ben Howland is 25-7 (.781) on the road (25-3 everywhere, excluding Seattle) and 25-4 (.862) at home.

In the last three-plus years, Head Coach Ben Howland and UCLA are 27-0 (1.000) in the first game of a two-game Pac-10 weekend series and 18-9 (.667) in the second game (this doesn't include USC and non-conference weekends).

Josh Shipp became the 47th player in UCLA history to score 1,000 points in a career at California (Jan. 5, 2008). He now has 1,464 career points (19th place).

Darren Collison became the 48th player in UCLA history to score 1,000 points in a career with 24 points vs. #7 Stanford (Mar. 6, 2008). He now has 1,409 career points (24th place).

While the Bruins' offense is averaging 74.7 points per game, the defense is as strong as ever, allowing just 60.1 points per game. UCLA has held 17 of 19 opponents below 68 points and 13 of 19 to 60 or fewer points (Washington season-high 86 points).

Senior guard Darren Collison was named a third team All-American by the Associated Press at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season and as a first team preseason All-American in 2008-09.

Last year, Darren Collison's three-point field goal percentage of .525 (53-for-101) was the single best season mark in UCLA history. This year, junior guard Michael Roll is off to an equal percentage of .525 (31-for-59).

Darren Collison was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2K Sports Classic Los Angeles Regional and was later named to the All-Tournament team in New York.

UCLA saw its national-leading streak of 42 straight weeks ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll come to a halt on Nov. 24, 2008 when the Bruins slipped to No. 13 in the AP poll. That streak included final and preseason polls (streak began with final poll of the 2005-06 season, Mar. 6, 2006).

UCLA has held 10 opponents in 2008-09 to fewer than 60 points, going 9-1 in those games. Last year, the Bruins held 21 opponents to fewer than 60 points and was undefeated when doing so. The Bruins have held 76 opponents under 60 points in the Ben Howland era (6th season) and are 73-3 (.961) in those games (two of the losses were in his first year and this year to Michigan, 52-55).

UCLA's scoring defense of 60.1 in 2008-09 marks the fourth-straight year the Bruins have allowed fewer than 61 points per game (59.0 in 2008, 59.9 in 2007 and 58.7 in 2006).

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