Afflalo, UCLA add to Arizona's woesJan 21, 2007 - 3:43 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Arron Afflalo and UCLA were more than happy to continue the struggles of Arizona.
Afflalo scored 22 points as the second-ranked Bruins continued their unblemished success at home with a 73-69 victory over the No. 12 Wildcats in a Pac-10 Conference showdown.
Darren Collison added 14 points for UCLA (17-1, 6-1 Pac-10), which bedeviled Arizona on defense, holding the Wildcats to 39 percent (22-of-56) shooting and dealing them their third straight loss. Meanwhile, the Bruins improved to 11-0 at home.
"We don't like to lose," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "We are playing a tough schedule and more tough games coming up. What matters is how we finish."
"Don't worry about Arizona," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "They could go the rest of the way without losing a game. They are a battle-tested team. I wouldn't want to be in their way right now."
Arizona (13-5, 4-4) also dropped three consecutive games during a disappointing 20-13 campaign last season.
Although this was just the first time in 10 games that its failed to reach at least 70 points, Arizona once again struggled with its long-range shooting, going 3-of-15 on 3-pointers.
The Wildcats are shooting just 23 percent (19-of-84) from the arc in their last five games.
Behind Afflalo, the Bruins did not have those shooting issues as the junior guard shot 3-of-6 on 3-pointers en route to his fifth 20-point game of the season.
Filling in for injured starter Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Michael Roll also had three baskets from the arc en route to 13 points. The sophomore connected on consecutive 3-pointers to give UCLA a 47-39 advantage with 15:22 remaining.
With Mbah a Moute out with a sprained knee, Afflalo - possibly the best defender in the league if not the nation - was put in charge of slowing down the Wildcats' leading scorer, sophomore forward Marcus Williams.
Scoring 80 points in his previous three games, the 6-7 Williams mustered just 11 on 4-of-12 shooting. It was his lowest scoring output in eight games.
"With Luc out, we put Arron on Williams because he's their top scorer and Arron is our best on-ball defender," Howland said. "He did a great job on him."
"I take defense personally," Afflalo said. "It was defense that got me minutes as a freshman and I have continued to take pride in playing tough defense. I take it as a challenge. Williams is tough and I had a lot of switching help."
Arizona, which dropped its third straight meeting with UCLA, went on a 9-0 run to close within 68-65 with 27 seconds left. However, Roll and Alfred Aboya both made a pair of free throws and Afflalo split two down the stretch to seal the Bruins' third straight win.
Ivan Radenovic scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who shot just 39 percent (22-of-56) from field and committed 12 turnovers, leading to 15 points for the Bruins.
UCLA recorded 11 of those points off nine giveaways by Arizona in the first half, helping the Bruins overcome a 25-17 deficit by charging into the break with an 18-4 burst.
"It was just a matter of us sticking with our principles and doing a better job of attacking their zone," said Collison, who had seven assists. "Coach just wanted us to be aggressive. We went with four guards and although it hurt us on the boards, it really helped us on offense because we had four guys who could spot up from anyplace."
The Wildcats finished with a 37-33 advantage in rebounding, as the starting trio of Williams, Radenovic and freshman Chase Budinger combined for 27.
However, the group also combined to shoot 15-of-36 (41.7 percent). Budinger finished with just 10 points on 4-of-11 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
ARIZONA (12) 29 40 69
UCLA (2) 35 38 73 FINAL
Jan 20 6:06 PM
- NCAA BB
ARIZONA (12) 29
UCLA (2) 35 HALFTIME
Jan 20 4:52 PM
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