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January 16, 2009
Bruins spank Cats
LOS ANGELES(AP) The days of UCLA and Arizona being the premier rivalry in the Pac-10 are long gone. The ninth-ranked Bruins proved how lopsided things have gotten.
Nikola Dragovic led five players in double figures with a career-high 15 points and the Bruins won 83-60 Thursday night for their eighth consecutive win against the Wildcats, the longest streak in the series in the last 24 seasons.
Whether it was attacking the zone, shooting 60 percent from the floor or having all 11 of 12 players score, the Bruins did it all.
Josh Shipp added 13 points, Alfred Aboya had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double, and Darren Collison and Michael Roll had 12 points each for the Bruins (14-2, 4-0 Pac-10). Collison's six assists left him one shy of 500 for his four-year career.
"Our preparation was good and we didn't overlook Arizona, even though we have a big game on Saturday (against No. 16 Arizona State)," Collison said. "This is a good opportunity to protect home court and widen the margin in the Pac-10. We still have to go out and prove it."
UCLA has won 10 in a row overall and 15 straight at home.
Jordan Hill scored 22 points, highlighted by several explosive dunks, and Chase Budinger added 14 for Arizona (11-6, 2-3), still finding itself under interim coach Russ Pennell, who took over Oct. 24 after Lute Olson's sudden retirement.
"They got off to a big lead and it just kept on going from there," a dejected Budinger said. "UCLA played a flawless game."
John Wooden, the 98-year-old former coach who led the Bruins to a record 10 national championships, attended his second home game of the season, but he left the blowout early.
The 23-point victory was UCLA's largest over Arizona since a 111-58 win on March 10, 1983.
"They are the cream of the crop of the Pac-10 Conference," Pennell said. "They shot the ball very well. They are a great defensive team. They took us out of this ballgame."
Arizona occasionally tried pressing UCLA, but the Bruins passed around and over to score. Hill had 14 points in the first half, when Budinger was held to seven by Shipp's defense.
"I felt like UCLA hit every shot and moved the ball," Budinger said. "Everybody on their team contributed. We competed hard on the defensive end, but sometimes playing hard isn't going to get you the win."
UCLA coach Ben Howland substituted liberally throughout, exploiting the Wildcats' lack of depth that had them using eight players most of the game.
"We are a great shooting team," Aboya said. "We play unselfish, too. We're willing to make the extra pass."
Arizona never made a run in the second half. The Bruins scored 12 unanswered points in the final 4:45 before the starters sat down.
The Bruins led by 16 in the first half, notching a double-digit lead for good on Malcolm Lee's driving basket with 7:18 remaining. The Wildcats trailed 26-20 when UCLA outscored them 16-8 to end the half ahead 42-28. Dragovic, making his second straight start, had five points, and Aboya four in the spurt, with four other players also contributing.