UCLA Sets Out to Defend Pac-10 Tournament Title

March 11, 2009


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

DATE: Thursday, Mar. 12, 2009
SITE: Staples Center (18,997)
TIP-OFF: 8:34 p.m. PT
TALENT: Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Marques Johnson (analyst) and Jim Watson (sideline)
RADIO: AM 1150
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Tracy Murray (analyst)

Junior guard 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. Darren Collison took a hard foul in the second half of the Oregon game (March 7) and landed awkwardly on his tailbone. He has a sacral contusion and X-rays were negative. He is listed as probable for the Bruins' quarterfinal game in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament (March 12).

UCLA enters as the No. 2 seed in the 2009 Pacific Life Pac-10 Conference Tournament. The Bruins won the Tournament title last year as the No. 1 seed. UCLA defeated No. 8 California 88-66 in the quarterfinals, beat fourth-seeded USC 57-54 in the semifinals and then toppled No. 2 Stanford 67-64 in the finals. Darren Collison was named the Tournament MVP after scoring 28 points in the final against the Cardinal. UCLA sports an all-time record of 13-8 (.619) in the Pac-10 Tournament. Head Coach Ben Howland is 6-3 (.667) in the Pac-10 Tournament with two Tournament titles.

UCLA moved up three spots to No. 14 this week in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and five spots to No. 15 in the Associated Press poll, released on Mar. 9. UCLA has been ranked in the top 25 in the AP poll for 74 straight weeks (since the 2005-06 preseason) and in the Coaches Poll for 76 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 318-151 (.678), 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).

Alfred Aboya and Darren Collison set the UCLA record for most games played in a career with 131 (now at 138) in the loss at Arizona State (Feb. 12). The Bruin pair passed Mitchell Butler, who played in 130 games from 1990-93. Aboya leads all Bruins with 116 career victories (Collison is 2nd with 115) while Josh Shipp set the mark in career starts with 130 (Earl Watson, 129, 1988-2001). The seniors are 121-24 (.834) in their careers at UCLA.

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 92.3 percent (96-for-104) this season currently leads the team, the Pac-10 and the nation and is second on UCLA's single-season charts.

Collison also leads the team, Pac-10 and ranks 41st nationally in assist turnover ratio at 2.18. He also leads the team, is second in the Pac-10 and ranks 44th nationally in assists per game at 5.0 apg. He also ranks 4th in the Pac-10 and 55th nationally in field goal percentage at .536 (164-for-306).

Nikola Dragović has made at least one three-point field goal in each of the last 18 games, the longest streak on the team. He shot 44.0 percent (44-for-100) from long range in Pac-10 games (8th in the league) and has shot slightly better since being elevated as a starter at USC (Jan. 11), draining 45.7 percent (42-for-92) from three-point range. He made 2.4 three-pointers per game in league play, which ranked sixth in the Pac-10.

In the last four seasons, UCLA and Head Coach Ben Howland are 58-14 (.806) in Pacific-10 Conference play and 121-24 (.834) overall.

In the last four years in Pacific-10 Conference play, Head Coach Ben Howland is 27-9 (.750) on the road (27-5 everywhere, excluding Seattle) and 31-5 (.861) at home.

In the last four years, Head Coach Ben Howland and UCLA are 31-1 (.969) in the first game of a two-game Pac-10 weekend series and 21-11 (.656) in the second game (this doesn't include USC and non-conference weekends). The Bruins had won 32 consecutive games opening a Pac-10 weekend series until the loss at Arizona State (Feb. 12). Overall, UCLA is 41-7 (.854) in the opening game of a weekend series in the Howland era, but just 27-21 (.563) in the second game.

Josh Shipp became the 47th player in UCLA history to score 1,000 points in a career with 13 points at California (Jan. 5, 2008). He now has 1,671 career points, which ranks 14th on UCLA's career charts.

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 1,595 career points, which ranks 17th on UCLA's career charts.

UCLA sports an all-time record of 610-91 (.870) in Pauley Pavilion, which is in its 44th season as the home of the Bruins.

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.

The Bruins' offense is averaging 77.1 points per game, which is the most since the 2000-01 squad averaged 79.5 ppg. The defense is allowing 63.5 points per game, which is the most since the 2004-05 team allowed 71.7 points per game.

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 .533 (48-for-90) 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 11 opponents in 2008-09 to fewer than 60 points, going 10-1 (.909) 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 77 opponents under 60 points in the Ben Howland era (6th season) and are 74-3 (.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 63.5 in 2008-09 is the highest in the last four years. The Bruins have allowed fewer than 60 points per game in each of the previous three seasons (59.0 in 2008, 59.9 in 2007 and 58.7 in 2006).

With the loss at Arizona State, the Bruins were swept for the first time since Washington pulled off the feat in 2005-06. It also marked ASU's first sweep of UCLA since 2002-03.

UCLA leads the nation in field goal percentage at 50.6 percent (888-for-1756). The Bruins also rank 7th in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 40.7 percent (236-for-580), which ranks 3rd on UCLA's all-time charts. The 236 three-point field goals made rank tied for 2nd on the all-time team season records while the 580 attempts rank 4th. UCLA leads the Pac-10 and ranks 44th nationally in steals (8.2 spg, 255), which also ranks 9th on UCLA's single season charts.

The Bruins posted their 37th straight home win over an unranked nonconference foe with the 89-63 victory over Notre Dame on Feb. 7, 2009. The last unranked nonconference team to win Pauley was Notre Dame (75-60) on Feb. 28, 2004.

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