Athletic Bruins down Huskies in LA

LOS ANGELES - UCLA lived up to its No. 5 ranking and showed why it's lost only once all season, relying on its patented in-your-face defense to slow Washington and cruise to a 69-55 win Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Washington fell behind 41-23 at halftime as the Bruins closed the first half on a 27-11 run, and the Huskies never again pulled within single-digits. But it wasn't due to a lack of effort.

Down 54-32 minutes into the second half, the Huskies switched to a zone defense and immediately found success, going on a 14-3 run, capped by a Jon Brockman tip-in to pull within 57-46. That's when UCLA put the clamps down. Highly touted freshman center Kevin Love and sophomore guard Russell Westbrook scored the next eight points for the Bruins, netting four apiece, as UCLA opened it's lead back up to 65-47 with under nine minutes to go. That all but ended the upset-minded Huskies' hopes of stealing a win at Pauley.

The Huskies fell to 9-6 on the season, and 0-2 in the Pac-10. UCLA improved to 15-1 and 3-0 in conference.

Westbrook led all scorers with 18 points, connecting on 6-of-7 field goals and 6-of-8 free throws. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 17, and Love finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

On the other side, Huskies were clearly bothered by UCLA's tough defense, and it showed in the box score. Needing big offensive performances from their top scoring options to have a chance against the highly ranked Bruins, only Brockman was up to the task. The junior forward led Washington with 16 points while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds. But it was the lack of scoring from the Huskies' other main offensive weapons that told a bigger story.

Ryan Appleby, the Huskies' second-leading scorer on the season, was held without open looks at the basket and didn't score. He attempted only two shots.

Justin Dentmon, the Huskies third-leading scorer, finished with four points on 2-4 shooting. Meanwhile, Washington's other two guards that saw significant playing time, Tim Morris and Venoy Overton, combined for only five points. Morris had scored in double-figures in each of the last seven games coming in.

Rounding out the top scorers for the Huskies were Quincy Pondexter, who scored 10 points, and Artem Wallace, who chipped in with nine.

In the early going, Washington hung with the Bruins, thanks to a slow start by both teams. Once UCLA's offense started clicking, though, the Huskies simply didn't have an answer. Despite three early fouls on Bruins junior forward Alfred Aboya, the home team managed to go on a 9-0 run to turn a slim 14-12 lead into an 11-point game.

Next up for the Huskies is USC, which fell to No. 4 Washington State 73-58 on Thursday night. The Huskies and Trojans, both 9-6 overall, will tip off Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Points: Brockman 16, Pondexter 10, Wallace 9, Smith 5, Morris 4, Dentmon 4, Bryan-Amaning 4, Wolfinger 2, Overton 1
Minutes: Brockman 35, Morris 26, Pondexter 25, Overton 22, Appleby 18, Smith 18, Bryan-Amaning 18, Wallace 17, Dentmon 16, Holiday 4, Wolfinger 2
Rebounds: Brockman 8, Smith 6, TEAM 5, Bryan-Amaning 2, Overton 2, Wallace 2, Morris 1, Dentmon 1, Appleby 1
Assists: Dentmon 2, Brockman 2, Smith 2, Overton 1, Holiday 1, Pondexter 1
Steals: Pondexter 2, Dentmon 1, Brockman 1, Overton 1, Bryan-Amaning 1
Blocks: none Top Stories