By Gary Montgomery
Westwood - The task at hand was simple for the UCLA Bruins Basketball team. Beat number 11 Arizona at home. Go on the road and beat the two bay area teams. Come back home and beat USC in the season finale.
Then, go into the Pac-10 tournament with confidence and a bushel basket of momentum. With that accomplished, win the Pac-10 tournament, earning a great seed in the NCAA field of 64 and then really turn it on.
That would be the dream scenario for any of the 12,681 raucous Bruin fans filling Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.
Instead UCLA used its favored up-tempo style of play to take a 47-42 lead to 17:04 of the second half.
What happened at that point is arguably one of the quickest and most damaging turn-arounds ever witnessed on Wooden Court.
The Wildcats went on a 14 point run ending in a 61-47 lead. UCLA would not score again until 12:04 left in the game.
In a little less than five minutes the game was gone and the Bruins were left attempting the explain how it got away.
It went quick said Freshman point guard Jordan Farmar.
UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland was more emphatic We had no inside game, none at all. When you start settling for everything from the outside and its (shots) not falling, youre going to be in trouble. Said Howland.
Arizona was successful in slowing the Bruins running attack by running an extra defender at Famar. Our post guys came out to help (on Farmar). Hes so good with his right hand we needed to make him handle it with his left, where its a little more difficult for him because of his size. said Arizona Coach Lute Olsen.
Once the Wildcats got the game to a tempo of their liking they were able to easily pound the young Bruins on the boards and take control of the game.
Bruins senior leader, Dijon Thompson, coming off a 39 point effort against Arizona State found tough going all day against the cagey Wildcat defense. Every time I put the ball on the floor, they would send a defender to run at me and force me to give it up or force a turnover. said Thompson.
Arizona gave the young Bruins a tough lesson, but one that has to be learned if this team is to continue to improve. Looking at the current Pac-10 standing it is likely that these two teams could meet again in the Pac-10 Tournament. In College basketball you have to play a full 40 minutes, we didnt do that today and you see the results. said freshman swingman Arron Afflalo.
gmontgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
UCLA Remaining Games
February 17 @ CAl
February 20 Stanford
February 24 USC
February 27 @ Notre Dame
March 03 Oregon St.
March 05 Oregon
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