Bruins Not Used to Looking Up
For the first time in a while, UCLA finds itself in the middle--not at the top--of a Pacific 10 Conference race, looking up at a much hotter team. In fact, the Bruins have to win today’s game against Washington to grab sole possession of third place.
After Arizona’s convincing 18-point victory at Stanford, the Bruins, already two games behind the 8-0 Wildcats, may have to win all of their 10 remaining conference games to have a shot at winning their fourth consecutive league title.
“It seems weird,” senior J.R. Henderson said Friday. “You’re used to being at the top in first place and try not to lose or you become second place. But we’re trying to get to first place this time.”
UCLA doesn’t get another shot at Arizona, which beat the Bruins at Tucson to open the Pac-10 season, until the last day of the regular season, March 7 at Pauley Pavilion.
“I don’t think we can afford to drop any more games,” Henderson said. “Especially since we’ve got our two hardest road trips out of the way. We should win the rest of our games from here on out--it’s definitely possible.”
* 1 p.m.
* Channel 7
Records--No. 8 UCLA 16-3, 6-2 in Pac-10; Washington 13-4, 6-2.
Update--Washington has made a recent grab for postseason action, running off a 7-2 mark (with losses only to Stanford and Arizona) after a Dec. 22 loss to South Alabama. The Huskies’ 101-86 victory at USC on Thursday gave them their first three-game road streak since 1986. Though Washington relies on center Todd MacCulloch and athletic guard Donald Watts, shooter Deon Luton made seven three-pointers and scored 31 points against USC. After the Bruins’ success in the second half Thursday against Washington State and with Coach Steve Lavin using a deeper rotation, UCLA may look to step up its full-court press today.