No. 6/11 UCLA Travels To Tempe To Face No. 18 Arizona State

Feb. 10, 2009


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Coach Howland's Weekly Press Conference (Feb. 10) 

DATE: Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
SITE: Wells Fargo Arena (14,141)
TIP-OFF: 6:05 p.m. PT/7:05 p.m. MT
TALENT: Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Len Elmore (analyst)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Don MacLean (analyst)
SERIES: UCLA leads 56-15

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. Malcolm Lee sprained his left ankle in the Notre Dame game (mild) and is probable for the Arizona State game. Drew Gordon experienced back spasms late in the second half of the Notre Dame game and is also probable for the ASU contest. Darren Collison and Nikola Dragovic both had flu-like symptoms over the weekend, but should be probable for the ASU game.

This is the 72nd meeting between UCLA and Arizona State with the Bruins leading the series 56-15 (.789). UCLA is 23-8 (.742) all-time in games at Arizona State and has won the last four in Tempe, Ariz. The Bruins had won eight consecutive meetings heading into this year's earlier matchup, won by ASU 61-58 in overtime. ASU jumped out to a 14-4 lead, but the Bruins fought back to trail 27-25 at the break. Michael Roll's jumper with 8:05 left in the game gave UCLA its largest lead of 11 points at 54-43. But that was the last time UCLA scored in regulation, missing the last eight shots while committing one turnover down the stretch. James Harden's two free throws with 21 seconds to go sent the game into overtime. Alfred Aboya's jumper gave UCLA a 58-57 lead with 55 seconds left. Harden scored the go-ahead basket with 35 ticks on the clock while Derek Glasser's two free throws with 11 seconds sealed the win for ASU. Harden finished with a game-high 24 points. Josh Shipp led UCLA with 16 points. Head Coach Ben Howland is 10-5 all-time against Arizona State while Herb Sendek is 1-4 against UCLA.

UCLA moved up six spots to No. 6 this week in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and moved up four spots to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, released on Feb. 9. UCLA has been ranked in the top 25 in the AP poll for 70 straight weeks (since the 2005-06 preseason) and in the Coaches Poll for 72 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 313-148 (.679), 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).

Darren Collison extended his UCLA record of consecutive made free throws to 43 before missing at USC on Jan. 11, 2009. He surpassed Henry Bibby's streak of 36 straight, set in 1972.

Collison had built his consecutive free throw streak back to 18, but missed his first attempt against California (Jan. 29).

Darren Collison's free-throw percentage of 93.7 percent (74-for-79) this season currently leads the nation and is second on UCLA's single-season charts.

Collison also leads the team, Pac-10 and ranks 49th nationally in assists per game at 5.0 apg. He also leads the team, Pac-10 and ranks 30th nationally in assist turnover ratio at 2.32.

Nikola Dragović has made at least one three-point field goal in each of the last 10 games, the longest streak on the team. He's shooting 47.4 percent (27-for-57) from long range in Pac-10 games (5th in the league) and has shot even better since being elevated as a starter at USC (Jan. 11), draining 51.0 percent (25-for-49) from three-point range. He is making 2.7 three-pointers per game in league play, which ranks second in the Pac-10.

In the last three-plus years, UCLA and Head Coach Ben Howland are 53-11 (.828) in Pacific-10 Conference play and 116-21 (.847) 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 28-4 (.875) at home.

In the last four years, Head Coach Ben Howland and UCLA are 28-0 (1.000) in the first game of a two-game Pac-10 weekend series and 19-9 (.679) in the second game (this doesn't include USC and non-conference weekends). Additionally, the Bruins have won 32 consecutive games opening a Pac-10 weekend series. Overall, UCLA is 38-6 (.864) in the opening game of a weekend series in the Howland era, but just 25-19 (.568) in the second game.

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 1,512 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 1,463 career points (20th place).

While the Bruins' offense is averaging 76.7 points per game, the defense is as strong as ever, allowing just 60.6 points per game. UCLA has held 21 of 23 opponents below 68 points and 14 of 20 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 a good start, shooting a percentage of .529 (37-for-70) from downtown.

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 60.6 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).

The Bruins have been playing their best basketball of the season over the last four games, routing all four opponents by 15 points or more. UCLA posted four home wins over California (81-66), Stanford (97-63), USC (76-60) and Notre Dame (89-63) by an average of 22.8 points (85.8-63.0). During the four-game span, UCLA's offense was explosive, shooting 55.4 percent from the field (124-for-224), 49.1 percent from three-point range (27-for-55) and 77.3 percent from the free-throw line (68-for-88). UCLA also outrebounded its opponents by 7.2 rpg (35.0-27.8). UCLA has also forced an average of 18.5 turnovers per game while recording 9.8 steals per contest during that span.

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