Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The top-ranked Arizona Wildcats put
their flawless record in jeopardy on Thursday evening, as the take on the
dangerous UCLA Bruins in a Pac-12 showdown at Pauley Pavilion.
Sean Miller's Wildcats have ascended the polls thanks to running the table
this season, with marquee victories over the likes of San Diego State, Duke
and Michigan. Arizona made it 15 straight wins with home wins over Washington
State (60-25) and Washington (71-62) to begin league play last week.
Steve Alford's Bruins are off to a strong start in their own right, winning 12
of their first 14 games this season. UCLA enters this contest with a three-
game win streak in tow after opening league action last week with a 107-73
rout of crosstown rival USC. The Bruins are a perfect 10-0 at Pauley Pavilion
The Bruins hold a 52-37 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona and have
won the last three meetings. UCLA holds a 35-13 advantage in games played in
The Huskies hung around for a while, but Arizona was able to pull away late to
earn the nine-point win in Tucson last weekend. Junior guard Nick Johnson led
the way with a game-high 24 points, while freshman forward Aaron Gordon
dominated up front, recording a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Arizona didn't shoot the ball particularly well (.421), but made up for it by
outscoring Washington 21-10 at the free-throw line.
The Wildcats are averaging a modest 74.9 ppg but are doing so on a healthy
.485 shooting. The numbers are magnified by the fact the team plays shutdown
defense, holding foes to a meager 54.9 ppg, while limiting opponents to just
.366 shooting overall, including .282 from 3-point range. The Wildcats are
also dominating play on the boards and enter this game with a gaudy +12.1
rebounding margin. Johnson headlines the offensive weapons on the team,
pouring in 16.0 ppg. Gordon is next in the scoring column at 12.4 ppg and
leads the team in rebounding (8.0 rpg). A potent frontline is completed by
forward Brandon Ashley (11.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and center Kaleb Tarczewski (9.9
ppg, 6.5 rpg).
The Wildcats will need to be at the top of their game defensively, as they
well be tested by the explosive Bruins in this game. UCLA comes into this
contest averaging 87.1 ppg (eighth nationally), while shooting an impressive
.527 from the floor overall (second nationally). Jordan Adams leads a quartet
of double-digit scorers for UCLA with 18.7 ppg. He is followed by Kyle
Anderson, who is both a potent scorer in his own right (15.1 ppg) and
productive rebounder (8.9 rpg). Zach LaVine (12.4 ppg) does his work off the
bench, with Norman Powell (11.0 ppg) rounding out the top threats on the
The Bruins were on fire against rival USC last time out, rolling up 107
points, the most in a regular season conference game for UCLA since 1987.
Anderson led the way with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Adams
hit five 3-pointers and poured in 21 points, while Bryce Alford added a
season-high 20 points of his own. LaVine chipped in 16 points for UCLA, which
shot a sterling .577 from the field, including an 11-o-23 effort from behind
The Sports Network