Feb 14, 2003
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. - For five electric minutes Thursday night, the No. 1-ranked Arizona Wildcats lived up to their lofty expectations - and left a reeling UCLA team helpless in their wake.
"We fell apart, man," the Bruins' Ray Young said, "straight fell apart."
Freshman Andre Iguodala scored a career-high 18 points to lead five Arizona players in double figures in a 106-70 rout.
"We showed how talented this team is, and how good we can be," Luke Walton said.
The Wildcats (19-2, 11-1 Pac-10) buried the Bruins with a 21-0 run over a five-minute span late in the first half and early in the second.
"Practice this week, guys were going after it. We had a great week of practice and it showed. We were just knocking down shots and playing great defense."
The blowout followed what coach Lute Olson said were two terrific practices this week after the team had two unimpressive wins at Washington and Washington State last week. Olson was so upset after the overtime win at Washington that he let the players run the practice Friday.
"The guys have been a whole lot more focused," Olson said. "On defense, we had 32 or 33 points as a result of their mistakes. We had a lot of putbacks. We felt if we would defend hard and rebound, we could really hurt them on the break."
Andre Patterson scored 12 points and Jason Kapono 11 for UCLA.
The Bruins (5-15, 2-9), who snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 71-70 victory over Georgetown last Saturday, lost their ninth consecutive Pac-10 game. It was their second blowout loss to Arizona this season. The Wildcats won 87-52 at UCLA on Jan. 18.
"It's been that kind of season," coach Steve Lavin said. "One game it's our inability to knock down free throws. Other games it's been point-blank layups. Other games it's been not boxing out. Other games it's been not taking care of the ball. And some games it's a combination of all those things."
Lavin has long since acknowledged that his days as Bruins coach are coming to an end.
"I'm down 30 pounds," he said. "I'm back to my college playing weight, so if nothing else, I'll be the best-conditioned unemployed coach in America come April."
Arizona outscored the Bruins 61-36 in the second half. Had the Wildcats' three seniors not sat out the final 10 minutes, the Bruins might have threatened their worst loss ever, a 109-61 loss at Stanford in 1996-97 - Lavin's first season as UCLA coach.
Arizona scored the last five points the first half and the first 16 of the second to open a 61-34 lead with 16:16 to play on Stoudamire's 9-footer after Channing Frye's blocked shot.
The lead grew to 82-44 on Hassan Adams' dunk on a lob pass from Chris Rodgers with 9:41 remaining. By then, the Wildcats were going with a lineup of three freshmen and two sophomores.
Iguodala, whose previous high was 11 points, made four of eight shots, including both 3-point attempts, and was 8-for-8 at the foul line.
"Practice this week, guys were going after it," Iguodala said. "We had a great week of practice and it showed. We were just knocking down shots and playing great defense."
UCLA was 0-for-3 with four turnovers, and Arizona 6-for-7 with no turnovers in the Wildcats' 16-0 run in the first 3:44 of the second half.
The Bruins committed 19 turnovers, 15 in the second half.
After another sluggish start, the Wildcats outscored the Bruins 15-6 over the final 3:33 of the first half to take a 45-34 lead at the break on Frye's rebound basket at the buzzer. Three Bruins were on the bench in foul trouble during Arizona's late first-half surge.
UCLA scored 10 consecutive points to take a 10-5 lead. Arizona went ahead for good when Rodgers was fouled on a 3-pointer and sank all three from the line to give the Wildcats a 17-14 lead with 12:43 left in the half.
When Cedric Bozeman made one of two free throws with 3:48 to play until halftime, the Bruins trailed just 30-28. Gardner's 3-pointer from far beyond the line triggered Arizona's late first-half run.
Iguodala had nine points and four rebounds in the first half, while Anderson had eight points and six boards.
UCLA shot 47 percent in the first half to Arizona's 40.5 percent, but the Bruins were outrebounded 28-15 - including 13-3 on the offensive boards - in the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats shot 58 percent (21-for-36) in the second half.