Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
UCLA basketball (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) earned its first road victory over a ranked opponent in five years, as the Bruins beat down Arizona (16-2, 4-2 Pac-12), 84-73 on Thursday evening.
Arizona led for a total of thirty seconds in the contest, the result of a 1-0 advantage early on which was wiped out a half-minute later by a Shabazz Muhammad three-pointer. UCLA would go on a 19-2 run to open up the contest and never trailed since.
It wasn’t until the under-seven-minute mark in the first half that Arizona cut UCLA’s lead to single digits, after a Solomon Hill lay-up put Arizona within nine.
The Wildcats did cut the lead to as little as four points, when Arizona guard Nick Johnson capped off a 12-4 run with 11 minutes to go in the second half to bring the score to 55-51 in UCLA’s favor. The Bruins responded, however, with a 5-0 run of their own which eventually led to a 10-point lead with under five minutes left in the contest.
UCLA managed to close out the game with free throws, a result of Arizona playing aggressive, full-court defense and UCLA drawing fouls on Arizona guards; ten free-throws were converted in the final four minutes of the contest to keep UCLA ahead of the Wildcats for good.
Shabazz Muhammad led the team in scoring with 23 points off of 8-for-16 shooting, while Kyle Anderson led UCLA in rebounds with 12. Larry Drew II led the team in assists with nine on the night.
With this win, UCLA moves into second place in the Pac-12 behind Oregon, which beat both UCLA and Arizona.
UCLA will seek to sweep the Arizona road-trip with a win over the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-4, 3-2 Pac-12) in Tempe, AZ.