Wise, Hill lead Arizona to upset of UCLAFeb 15, 2009 - 12:09 AM TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Nic Wise and Jordan Hill completed UCLA's devastating weekend in the desert.
Wise scored 26 points while Hill added 22 and 13 rebounds as Arizona upset sixth-ranked UCLA, 84-72, on Saturday afternoon.
It was the seventh consecutive victory for the red-hot Wildcats (18-8, 8-5 Pac-10), who ended an eight-game losing streak against the Bruins (19-6, 8-4).
"UCLA is very tough-minded, and our guys matched that mindset today," Arizona interim head coach Russ Pennell said. "We were on point from tip-off."
Less than three days removed from a hard-fought 74-67 loss at Arizona State, the Bruins got off to an awful start in this one and trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half.
UCLA, which entered Thursday's contest atop the Pac-10 standings, could possibly begin next week third in the conference behind Washington and the Sun Devils.
"It was one of those days where everybody was not on the same page," UCLA point guard Darren Collison said.
Conversely, the Wildcats have played themselves back into contention for the NCAA Tournament. Much of their resurgence has been due to the outstanding play of Wise and Hill, who both have emerged as legitimate forces during their junior seasons.
"We are more confidence when we step out onto the court," Hill said. "It starts in practice. We've been having really productive practices lately. We all go really hard and apply the same pressure we do in games."
Wise, in his first full season as a starter, has averaged 20.3 points during Arizona's seven-game winning streak. The 6-10 Hill has been equally productive, averaging 19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds over the seven-game stretch.
"We're getting better every day, playing with lots of effort," Pennell said. "We're not changing things much, it's more that we're doing the same things, but better. We just want to be able to finish strong these last three weeks, and not get caught up in the streak."
Courtesy of Wise's aggressive drives to the basket and Hill's dominant play in the paint, Arizona raced to a 49-31 halftime lead and built a 73-48 cushion midway through the second half.
"Arizona is playing great," UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. "They are the hottest team in our conference and probably playing as well as anybody in the conference. It is hard to dig yourself that kind of a hole and come back."
Collison's 3-pointer with 6:32 remaining punctuated a 13-0 run that pulled the Bruins within 73-61.
But despite clawing within single digits several times in the last two minutes, UCLA never made a serious threat to Arizona's lead.
Collison scored 26 points while Josh Shipp added 16 to pace the Bruins, who defeated the Wildcats by 23 points (83-60 on January 15) in the first meeting between the conference rivals this season.
"I'm proud of our effort, especially after our first meeting with the Bruins," Pennell said. "It's been a great turnaround in the last five weeks."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
UCLA (6) 31 41 72
ARIZONA 49 35 84 FINAL
Feb 14 3:12 PM
- NCAA BB
(6) UCLA 31
ARIZONA 49 HALFTIME
Feb 14 1:55 PM
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