Cats dismantle the Bruins

WESTWOOD, Calif. - For a team that won by 35, the Wildcats sure playED poorly. Things are so bad in Westwood that Arizona played one of their worst games of the year and still beat UCLA 87-52. It was the worst loss in Pauley Pavilion history.

The Cats never seemed to get out of first gear, but UCLA played like a team stuck in reverse. The Bruins continued their season-long slide, playing poorly and looking disinterested at times. At one point the players in the regular rotation were so lackadaisical that Steve Lavin brought in four players with a combined average of just 14.7 minutes per game, with Michael Fey making up 9.4 of those minutes.

"Sometimes we get caught up in playing like them (our opponents)," Channing Frye said. "We need to overcome that stuff. We did what we needed to do to win."

Once feared Pauley has been reduced to a morgue. Other than a few enthusiastic students, the arena was dead. Pockets of Wildcat Red littered the stadium and made as much noise as the jaded Bruin faithful. Empty seats showed the disinterest that now exists in Los Angeles.

Fans in blue and gold began to leave in droves when the Wildcats called timeout with 8:07. At that point the Bruins were trading buckets with the Cats but were down 62-33. Where this rivalry was once a hard ticket to get, today there were plenty of fans in the prime seating sections of the first few rows.

"It's strange, they've always been such a dominant team," said Luke Walton. "Seeing them struggling like this, it's still hard to believe."

It was a total team effort by Arizona as five Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Salim Stoudamire's 19.

Arizona has been a notoriously slow starter all year and they played like they wanted to be behind early again, but UCLA would not let them. The Cats jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the first 4:30 despite three quick fouls, three bad turnovers and a pair of airballs. With the Bruins pressing, the Wildcats were able to get open looks, at least when they weren't turning the ball over. Stoudamire hit a three, Anderson added a transition dunk and on the lone early possession when the Bruins played tight defense, Iguodala found an opening and buried a mid-range jumper.

The Cats' comedy of errors continued throughout the first half, but fortunately the Bruins could not capitalize. Leading 15-8, the Wildcats went 5:16 without a field goal, getting just a lone Anderson free throw. With the Cats unable to buy a bucket, the Bruins managed just one bucket of their own. An Iguodala lay-up broke the scoreless streak and the Wildcats still led 18-10.

Sloppy play continued, but the Cats made the most of the opportunities they received. The Wildcats outscored the Bruins 14-4 to close out the half. The run could have been a lot worse as the Cats went to the line nine times but made just six free throws. Frye asserted himself sinking two jump hooks and completing a three-point play with a free throw. Stoudamire scored five in the run as well.

The Wildcats did not play much better in the second half, but still pulled away from the hapless Bruins who played at times like they did not care. Over the first 12:00 of the second half the Wildcats went on runs of 8-2 and 11-3 to build up a 62-33 lead.

In the midst of an 11-0 run the Cats took their first 30-point lead. A Hassan Adams three-pointer gave the Wildcats a 70-40 lead. Adams' three followed a Gardner three and preceded an old fashion three-point play by Isaiah Fox. A monstrous dunk Dennis Latimore closed out the run.

The Cats climb to 13-1, 6-0 in the Pac-10. UCLA drops to 4-9, 2-3 in the conference.

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