Jan 18, 2003
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Even a game against its biggest rival couldn't get UCLA out of the doldrums that have seen the Bruins sink to new lows at storied Pauley Pavilion.
Salim Stoudamire scored 19 points and No. 2 Arizona defeated hapless UCLA 87-52 Saturday to complete its first sweep of the Los Angeles schools in 10 years.
The Wildcats were surprised by UCLA's lack of spark in a game that never resembled the close contests these teams usually play. The Bruins had beaten Arizona at Pauley the last two seasons by a total of three points.
"I thought it was going to be tough and they'd give their all," said Rick Anderson, one of five Arizona players in double figures with 10 points.
"They're down and all, but I figured with us coming to town it was going to be a lot more intense than it was," said Arizona's Luke Walton, who was held to five points, five rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes.
The Wildcats (13-1) won their eighth in a row and remained atop the Pac-10 with a 6-0 record. They rallied to beat Southern California 81-72 on Thursday and then sent the Bruins to their largest defeat at Pauley, which opened in 1965.
"This game was a lot different than last year. We took advantage of them, and when you take advantage of a team that's down, then we'll get a huge win."
The previous record was a 104-82 loss to California on Jan. 24, 1993, when coach Steve Lavin was an assistant under Jim Harrick. UCLA's 52 points equaled its worst output against Arizona since a 53-52 loss in 1985.
"Anytime we lose the way we did, it's obviously tough," said Jason Kapono, who was held to four points in 20 minutes. "We lack spirit right now. There's 14 games (left). We just got to take each one at a time and not worry about our standing, not worry about what others are saying about us."
UCLA's 18 points were its lowest in a first half this season, and the third straight game in which the Bruins have dipped to season lows in the first 20 minutes. They had 23 points against St. John's last week and 22 against Arizona State on Thursday.
"It's been a very frustrating, discouraging stretch of basketball where we just can't find a way to be successful at either end of the floor," said Lavin, who on Tuesday denied that he was considering resigning this week. "We haven't been able to sustain any level of acceptable basketball. It's just been a tough situation."
UCLA (4-9, 2-3) lost its fourth straight and dropped to 2-7 at Pauley, its most losses at home in a season. The 1987-88 team, coached by Walt Hazzard, lost six at Pauley.
Even John Wooden didn't stick around for the final buzzer.
T.J. Cummings had 12 points and Dijon Thompson 10 as UCLA's only double-figure scorers. The Bruins shot 38 percent, had 21 turnovers and got outrebounded 53-33.
The crowd of 11,082 sat silently most of the game, except for the heavy concentration of Arizona fans in the upper balcony who alternately shouted, "U of A! U of A!" and taunted Lavin.
"I could feel UCLA's lack of intensity at the start of the game. I feel sorry for Lavin," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "People forget that these are 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids. Right now their confidence is shot and they're looking for answers.
"I've always said that UCLA, Kentucky and North Carolina are the three toughest coaching jobs in the country. This sort of proves it."
UCLA fans loudly booed Lavin's five-on-five substitutions when the Bruins were down by 28 in the second half. At one point, he yanked veterans Kapono, Ray Young, Thompson and Cummings, leaving sophomore Cedric Bozeman on the floor with Michael Fey, Quinn Hawking, Marcedes Lewis and Janou Rubin, whose 3-pointer was the only scoring from the group.
"A lot of strategies he's tried haven't worked, so I guess the more he tries, hopefully, we'll find one," Kapono said.
By then, UCLA trailed 54-29 with 11˝ minutes remaining.
"This game was a lot different than last year," Anderson said. "We took advantage of them, and when you take advantage of a team that's down, then we'll get a huge win."
But it was never that close.
The Bruins never led after scoring the first basket. They trailed by 16 at halftime and their deficit reached 29 when Arizona's Jason Gardner hit a 3-pointer with 11:08 remaining.
By virtue of No. 17 Maryland's 87-72 upset of No. 1 Duke on Saturday, the Wildcats are likely to take over the top spot in Monday's rankings. They didn't look that impressive, though, committing 18 turnovers despite getting repeated fast-break opportunities against the slower Bruins.
"No. 1 in the country doesn't mean much right now," Olson said. "I think there are teams like Kansas and Pittsburgh among others that are playing better."
Arizona led 73-40 on a three-point play by Isaiah Fox with 4:17 left and fans rushed to the exits.
The Bruins whittled a 10-point deficit down to six on consecutive baskets by Andre Patterson before Arizona closed with a 14-4 run to end the half ahead 34-18.