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Muhammad helps UCLA knock off Arizona

The SportsXchange

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Shabazz Muhammad loves center stage, and it does not get much more glamorous in the Pac-12 than at Arizona's boisterous McKale Center.

Muhammad quieted the crowd with 23 points, and Jordan Wear and David Wear added 15 points apiece to help UCLA upset No. 6 Arizona 84-73, the Bruins' first true road victory over a ranked team since 2008.

"When the lights come on and the cameras are on, he really comes to life. He is one hell of a competitor," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Muhammad made a 3-pointer less than a minute into the game, a shot he said calmed him down, and later made a baseline 3-pointer and two free throws to give the Bruins a 68-58 lead with 5:25 remaining. Arizona never was closer than six the rest of the way.

"I love the crowd. When I was hitting my shots, it felt good to quiet the crowd. It's a huge confidence-builder. This was a great win, and we really needed it. But it's marathon, not a sprint," Muhammad said.

"I didn't know how rowdy this place was. You see everybody in white. It was so hard to shoot in here."

UCLA scored 19 of the first 22 points and still led by as many as 14 points with 13 minutes remaining in the second half before Arizona staged a comeback, closing to six points on Nick Johnson's short drive with 3:58 remaining.

Jordan Adams and Larry Drew II each made four of UCLA's 10 free throws down the stretch to keep the Wildcats from duplicating their miracle comeback against Colorado, when they won in overtime after trailing by 10 points with 1:55 remaining in regulation three weeks ago.

"I saw the Colorado game. I saw the Florida game (another comeback victory from a double-digit deficit). They came back so many times it's nice to be the one to get the win," Howland said.

Nick Johnson tied a season high with 23 points for Arizona, which shot only 38.4 percent from the field and made a shot a season-low 5 of 24 from three-point range. UCLA shot 47.8 percent from the field.

UCLA (16-4, 6-1) moved within a half-game of No. 16 Oregon in the Pac-12, and Arizona (16-2, 4-2) dropped into a third-place tie with Washington. UCLA dropped out of the national rankings after a loss to No. 16 Oregon at home last week but used that loss as motivation.

"We hate losing," said Adams, who missed time with leg cramps. "We haven't lost two in a row all year, so we wanted to really prove a point."

Mark Lyons had 16 points and Solomon Hill had 13 for Arizona, but both Johnson and Lyons fouled out down the stretch. Lyons, Arizona's leading scorer, was 6 of 17 from the field.

"UCLA played a great game. They came into an amazing environment we had for them and played with incredible poise," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

Drew had seven points and nine assists with two turnovers, and Miller said, "he dominated the game. They had other players feed off him like Shabazz Muhammad."

Travis Wear missed the second half after suffering a concussion.

UCLA freshmen Muhammad, Adams, Kyle Anderson (12 rebounds) and bench player Tony Parker were not intimidated in their first visit to McKale Center in the early going.

UCLA raced to a 19-3 lead as Arizona missed 12 of its first 13 shots from the field. Muhammad had seven points and Adams had six in the early run, when the only basket Arizona could score was Lyons' driving layup a little more than three minutes into the game. UCLA made 10 of its first 15 shots from the field.

"I don't think anybody can deal with our transition. We have so many athletic wings," Muhammad said. "Larry pushed the ball really well, and when we push the ball, we get really good things on offense."

Johnson scored six points in an 8-2 Arizona run to close the gap to 21-11, and Lyons' 3-pointer from the left wing brought the Wildcats to six at 31-25 with 4:30 remaining in the half.

Johnson's 3-pointer from the left baseline made it 35-30 before Drew II's layup with 1:48 stretched the lead.

It was 40-30 at halftime on Kyle Anderson's 3-point play with 40 seconds left.

Arizona pulled to four at 55-51 after a 10-0 run with 10:13 remaining but never got closer.

NOTES: Muhammad was back in the starting lineup after being held out for the first seven minutes in a 76-67 loss to No. 16 Oregon on Saturday because he was a late for a team function before the game. Muhammad is averaging 17.4 points overall, 15.0 in conference play. ... Arizona had won 12 of the last 15 meetings at McKale Center between the two. ... Arizona had outrebounded 14 of its first 17 opponents before UCLA had a 45-44 edge. ... UCLA last played a true road game against a ranked opponent on Dec. 20, 2010, losing 77-76 at Kansas. The Bruins' most recent road victory against a ranked team came Feb. 17, 2008, at Washington State.
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