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Thursday, January 24, 9 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKale Center (14,538) -- Tucson, Arizona. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: UCLA 11-2, Arizona 9-0. Away Record: UCLA 2-0, Arizona 4-1. Neutral Record: UCLA 2-2, Arizona 3-0. Conference Record: UCLA 5-1, Arizona 4-1. Series Record: UCLA leads, 49-37.
GAME NOTES: 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.
This contest could go either way. The Bruins have righted the ship, but the Wildcats are a perfect 9-0 at home this year. That advantage alone, tips the scales in Arizona's favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 71, UCLA 68
01/24 10:36:56 ET
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