- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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LOS ANGELES -- The UCLA Bruins won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 12 and 17 after beating the Washington State Cougars, 76-62, on Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion. Here's a quick look:
How it happened: In what appeared would be a blowout, Washington State cut a 19-point UCLA lead to 10 with 3:05 left to play, but the Bruins held off the charge.
Washington State came out hot in the second half with baskets on its first four possessions, but UCLA matched the Cougars until a late cold stretch. The Cougars went on a 13-3 run to cut UCLA's lead to 70-60, but the Cougars were not able to get closer than 10 points as Larry Drew II and Jordan Adams each made a pair of free throws down the stretch and Tony Parker scored inside to seal the game.
The Cougars made three consecutive 3-point baskets and led, 9-7, to start the game, but the Bruins broke it open by holding the Cougars scoreless for a stretch of 9 minutes, 3 seconds and led, 32-17, late in the first half. Shabazz Muhammad scored 12 points in the first half, including 10 of UCLA's first 21, as the Bruins took a 39-24 lead into the halftime locker room.
Cougars leading scorer Brock Motum scored nine of his 17 points in the final 10 minutes of the game. Motum, the Pac-12's leading scorer last year and third in the conference with 18.2 points per game entering the game, had only four points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half. He ended up making 6-of-15 shots.
Player of the game: Muhammad's hot start got the Bruins the cushion they needed and helped key the easy victory. He added two steals and two assists, the first time this season he has had more than one of each in a game. He made seven of 14 shots, including a 3-point basket with about four minutes to go that kept Washington State from fully gaining the momentum.
Stat of the game: UCLA shot a season-high 62 percent (31-for-50) for the game. It was the first time since Feb. 18, 2010 they have shot better than 60 percent in a game. The Cougars shot 40.7 percent (22 of 54) from the field but did not make a 2-point shot until there was 3:41 left in the first half.
What it means: The Bruins took care of business against a team they should have -- something they were unable to do last week against USC. As a result, UCLA remains in a tie with Oregon for second place in the Pac-12 standings. They are a half game behind Arizona, which plays California Sunday at 4 p.m. PT.
What's next: UCLA heads to the Bay Area next week for a two-game trip beginning Thursday at California at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN2. Washington State is home Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Oregon State.