LOS ANGELES (AP)—UCLA is over its Stanford problem.
The 11th-ranked Bruins snapped two losing streaks to the Cardinal with a 71-54 victory Thursday night in the Pac-10 opener for both teams.
UCLA had lost eight straight at home to Stanford and six in a row overall.
The Bruins last beat the Cardinal at Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 8, 1997, before most of the current players were in high school. It was never close Thursday night.
Arron Afflalo scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half to lead the Bruins, who won their eighth straight and are off to their best start since the national championship season of 1994-95.
UCLA’s players said they didn’t know much about the streaks, but remembered the recent losses.
“Those were different players and different teams,” Afflalo said. “I don’t remember all the losses. But I do remember the last two.”
UCLA coach Ben Howland also dwelled on recent matchups with the Cardinal.
“When I finished watching the tape from last year I was embarrassed with our effort,” Howland said. “I am so much happier with where we are now than a year ago.”
UCLA (11-1) opened the game with an 18-1 run, capped by a jumper from Ryan Wright with 14:23 to play. Stanford never got back within single digits.
The Cardinal (4-5) missed their first 12 shots from the field and didn’t get their first field goal until nearly 9 minutes into the game.
Stanford shot 20 percent in the first half while UCLA was at 60 percent.
“Our defense was outstanding in the first half,” Howland said. “It forced turnovers, they sped up and it keyed the game for us.”
Afflalo went 6-for-7 from the field in the first half and made all three of his 3-point attempts. He finished 7-for-11 from the field overall and 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
Luc Richard Mbah A Moute had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Bruins and Josh Shipp added 11 points.
Jordan Farmar made a 3-pointer with 4:19 to play in the first half to give UCLA its biggest lead of the half, 33-12 with 4:19 to play.
Stanford then pulled within 13, but Afflalo stretched the lead to 19 points with a 3 with 3:19 to play.
Matt Haryasz led the Cardinal with 13 points.
The Bruins last beat the Cardinal on Feb. 23, 2002.
Playing in his first minute of the season, Shipp opened the scoring with a three-point play to set the tone for the Bruins. The sophomore had hip surgery in September.
Shipp also opened the second-half scoring for the Bruins, making a 3 with 19:02 to play to put the Bruins up 43-21. Stanford got no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
“Josh Shipp’s minutes tonight were critical,” Howland said. “He was spectacular.”
Afflalo gave UCLA its biggest lead of the game, 58-34 with 7:32 to play.
The Bruins finished 27-for-53 from the field (51 percent) and the Cardinal went 14-of-48 (29 percent).
Shipp started Thursday night in place of senior forward Cedric Bozeman, who missed the game after tearing cartilage in his left shoulder at practice on Tuesday. The team learned of the injury Thursday morning after an MRI on Wednesday night. He will miss at least three weeks.
Bozeman, who averages 10.3 points per game, redshirted last season because of a knee injury after starting every game for the Bruins in 2003-04.
Adding to the Bruins season-long injury troubles, Farmar sprained his right ankle midway through the second half Thursday night and did not return.
UCLA was also without seniors Michael Fey (sprained ankle) and Ryan Hollins (strained groin) for the second straight game.
Stanford coach Trent Johnson said the loss of three of its four seniors did nothing to slow down UCLA.
“Just pick your poison,” Johnson said. “All these kids are McDonald’s All-Americans. It doesn’t matter if they’re freshmen or sophomores.”
Only a late 3-pointer from Mitch Johnson kept Stanford from its lowest point total of an already disappointing season. The Cardinal were ranked 13th in the preseason poll, but lost to unheralded teams like UC Irvine, Montana and UC Davis.
“We got beat tonight in every way possible,” Johnson said. “We had 19 turnovers in the first half and we never really recovered.”