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Aboya, UCLA sink fading Notre Dame

Feb 7, 2009 - 10:07 PM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- An early wakeup call did nothing to slow down UCLA. Notre Dame continued to play as if it was still asleep.

Alfred Aboya keyed a huge first half Saturday as the 12th-ranked Bruins coasted to an 89-63 rout of Notre Dame, which has lost seven straight games for the first time in 16 years.

Despite a 10 a.m. local starting time, the Bruins ran roughshod from the outset against the fading Fighting Irish, who looked completely overmatched.

The improving Bruins (19-4) never trailed and raced to a double-digit lead less than four minutes into the contest en route to building a 46-30 halftime cushion.

"It's obvious we've been performing at a new level and just improving as a team," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Aboya was at the center of things in the first half as he continually drained jumpers against the Fighting Irish's laughable zone defense. The senior also cut into the lane and threw down a dunk at the 14:03 mark of the opening to half for a quick 20-7 lead.

Aboya finished with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

Darren Collison added 15 points and Nikola Dragovic contributed 12 for UCLA, which turned the game into a glorified scrimmage in the second half when it led by as many as 33 points.

With absolutely no answers on the defensive end and with big man Luke Harangody having one of the worst games of his career, the Fighting Irish (12-10) endured their first seven-game losing streak since the end of the 1992-93 campaign.

"We're searching for a win," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We can't feel sorry for ourselves. This is the biggest challenge in the history of the program, but I think our kids will respond."

Harangody, who came in averaging 25.3 points and 13.2 rebounds, finished with just five and one against the suffocating UCLA defense. The junior made just 2-of-12 shots in a miserable performance before leaving the game with under eight minutes left.

"I had a hard time getting it out of the post and made some mistakes early," Harangody said. "We didn't fight at all. They threw a couple punches and we just seemed to back down."

Tory Jackson scored 17 points and Kyle McAlarney 16 for the the Fighting Irish, who likely will need a miracle to make the NCAA Tournament.