Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - Two teams hovering around the top of the Pac-12
standings square off at the McKale Center on Thursday evening, as the sixth-
ranked Arizona Wildcats play host to the UCLA Bruins.
Sean Miller's Wildcats have lost just one game this season and as a result,
sit just outside the top spot in the conference standings at 4-1. Arizona has
put some distance between itself and a loss to league-leading Oregon, with
back-to-back wins over Oregon State (80-70) and most recently, arch-rival
Arizona State (71-54).
Ben Howland's Bruins got off to a slow start this season, but have certainly
bounced back with a recent 10-game win streak. UCLA's extended win streak came
to an end last weekend though with a 76-67 setback to Oregon. With the loss,
the Bruins fell to 5-1 in league play.
UCLA holds a 49-37 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona, but the
Wildcats hold a 22-14 edge in games played in Tucson.
UCLA shot 55 percent from the floor in the first half against the Ducks, but
could not sustain the effort over the full 40 minutes, falling at home by nine
points last time out. Travis Wear led four Bruins in double figures with 17
points. Norman Powell added 11 points in the loss, while Shabazz Muhammad and
Kyle Anderson checked in with 10 points apiece.
The Bruins are getting it done with great efficiency at the offensive end this
season, averaging 77.6 ppg and doing so on .476 shooting. Muhammad came into
the season as one of the nation's most celebrated freshmen and certainly
hasn't disappointed, leading the Bruins in scoring at 17.9 ppg. Jordan Adams
is a viable second option at 15.2 ppg, followed by Wear (12.5 ppg) and
Anderson (9.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg).
Arizona has the ability to win games at either end of the floor, averaging a
steady 75.8 ppg, while limiting foes to a mere 61.4 ppg. Scoring depth comes
in the form of a trio of starters that are netting double digits, led by Mark
Lyons' 15.2 ppg. Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson are solid contributors as well,
with 13.6 and 12.7 ppg, respectively.
Arizona pulled away in the second half and cruised to a 17-point victory over
the Sun Devils this past weekend. The Wildcats were fueled by a game-high 24
points from Lyons, who netted 15 of those in the decisive second half. Johnson
poured in 19 points in the win, while Hill tallied 13 points.
The Sports Network