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Wildcats easily win eighth straight game

1/18/2003

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.

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 11½ 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.