clear
Monday November 19th, 2018 2:31AM

UCLA strengthens NCAA bid with win over No. 13 Arizona

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — UCLA had a difficult start to the season when three players were arrested in China on shoplifting charges. The Bruins had a rough stretch early in the Pac-12 schedule while laboring through a series of injuries.

They seem to be turning a corner at just the right time.

UCLA played one of its best all-around games of the season Thursday night, picking up a resume-boosting win by beating No. 13 Arizona 82-74 at one college basketball's most difficult road venues.

"It's huge," said UCLA guard Aaron Holiday, who had 17 points and eight assists against the Wildcats. "We're obviously fighting for our spot in the NCAA Tournament and it's just a big win for us in that aspect."

Alford had to restock his roster for the 2017-18 season after losing Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton from last year's team.

The Bruins had more holes to fill after Jalen Hill, Cody Riley and LiAngelo Ball were suspended indefinitely following their arrests in China for shoplifting. Ball left the team and the other two players had their suspensions extended for the rest of the season.

On the court, UCLA had a few growing pains, but picked up a neutral-site win over Kentucky and won three of its first four Pac-12 games. A three-game losing streak followed, seemingly pushing the Bruins away from the NCAA Tournament bubble.

UCLA (17-7, 8-4 Pac-12) pushed its way back in the NCAA Tournament picture with Thursday night's road win. The Bruins have won four straight and are now a game behind Arizona in the Pac-12 race.

"This is a top 20 team, they've been top 10, so this is huge for us," Bruins coach Steve Alford said.

UCLA has another difficult road test on Saturday, playing at Arizona State, which knocked off Southern California Thursday night.

ON THE RISE

Texas A&M. The Aggies (16-8, 5-6 SEC) appeared to have their bubble popped after opening conference play with five straight losses. Texas A&M has played itself back into the NCAA Tournament conversation by winning five of its last seven games. The most recent one was huge: 81-80 at No. 8 Auburn, the Tigers' only home loss this season. The Aggies have another shot to build their case on Saturday, facing No. 24 Kentucky.

Boise State. The first-place Broncos (20-4, 9-2 Mountain West) have been taking care of business, winning four straight and seven of the past eight. The only loss in that stretch was to Nevada, the team right behind them in the standings. Boise State plays Utah State before its rematch against Nevada, giving the Broncos a chance to boost their lead and regular-season title chances.

Marquette. A string of four-point losses put the Golden Eagles (14-10, 5-7 Big East) precariously close to bubble bursting territory. A win over Seton Hall last week, their third Quadrant 1 victory, gives them life again. Still a lot of work left to get there. Marquette has games against St. John's and Creighton this weekend.

Virginia Tech. The Hokies (17-7, 6-5 ACC) bounced back from a loss to Miami last Saturday by knocking off fellow ACC bubble team North Carolina State. The next two games provide big chances for resume boosting: At No. 2 Virginia and at No. 9 Duke.

FADING HOPES

Washington. The Huskies moved into the NCAA Tournament picture by sweeping the Arizona schools, their first consecutive wins against ranked opponents since 2007. A loss to Oregon Thursday night was a step back. Washington (17-7, 7-4 Pac-12) is still in good shape, but can't afford many more losses or a quick exit from the Pac-12 tournament.

TCU. The Horned Frogs (16-8, 4-7 Big 12) play in college basketball's toughest conference, which could help them come Selection Sunday. Even so, they could stand to pick up a few more wins after missing out on resume-building wins last week in losses to No. 7 Texas Tech and No. 10 Kansas. Wins over Texas and No. 19 West Virginia this weekend could certainly help.

Georgia. The Bulldogs (13-10, 4-7 SEC) lost a game they couldn't afford to lose against Vanderbilt on Wednesday and now have dropped five of six. There are opportunities to build their resume back up, but the margin for error has become incredibly thin.

SMU. Consecutive losses to Tulsa and Houston didn't kill the Mustangs' NCAA Tournament hopes, but certainly didn't help. SMU (15-9, 5-6 AAC) has a neutral-court win over No. 13 Arizona and won at No. 22 Wichita State, but too many more slip-ups could end up costing the Mustangs.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UCLA strengthens NCAA bid with win over No. 13 Arizona
UCLA moves itself further away from the NCAA Tournament bubble after convincing win at No. 13 Arizona
5:21PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Utah taxpayers paid for hotel linked to prostitute report
Utah legislative leaders say they're not sure yet if the House will ask a Republican lawmaker to return taxpayer money for hotel rooms he's accused of using to meet up with a prostitute
4:59PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Even 'safe' bond investments falter as markets tumble
Stocks aren't the only thing dropping. Bonds, which are supposed to be the safe part of your portfolio, are faltering, too
4:53PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Michigan State plans to fire official over Nassar scandal
Michigan State University will fire the former dean of its osteopathic medicine college and has suspended the radiology chairman in the wake of former sports doctor Larry Nassar's sentencing for molesting young female athletes
4:48PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
'This is where I want to be': Garoppolo completes long-term deal with 49ers
4:45PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Spring training opens with turmoil, many moves to make
Baseball spring training workouts start on Feb. 14 with the sport in turmoil, with most top free agents unsigned and roughly one-third of the 30 teams focused more on rebuilding than on competing this season.
4:45PM ( 44 minutes ago )
AP Sports
After whirlwind day, LeBron excited by Cavs' new 'pieces'
LeBron excited by Cavs' new 'pieces' after massive makeover at trade deadline
1:32PM ( 3 hours ago )
Low-major programs faced with slim margin for error
Margin for error razor thin for low-major college basketball programs against bigger schools
12:07PM ( 5 hours ago )
After whirlwind day, LeBron excited by Cavs' additions
LeBron excited by Cavs' additions after massive makeover at trade deadline
11:30AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
New Mexico football coach faces heat over slur allegations
The University of New Mexico head football coach Bob Davie continues to face questions after a report says witnesses reported him using racial slurs
1:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
New Mexico suspends football coach amid misconduct probe
The University of New Mexico has announced it is suspending head football coach Bob Davie for 30 days in connection alleged physical abuse of football players
7:45PM ( 21 hours ago )
No. 14 Ohio St. closes strong to end No. 3 Purdue's streak
Keita Bates-Diop scored 18 points Wednesday including the decisive putback with 2.8 seconds left to give No. 14 Ohio State a 64-63 upset at No. 3 Purdue
12:20AM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
NCAA selection chair: revamped evaluation a 'positive step'
NCAA selection committee chairman Bruce Rasmussen figures the revamped way to evaluate quality of wins for determining this year's tournament field is an improvement
3:52PM ( 2 days ago )
No. 15 Tennessee edges No. 24 Kentucky 61-59
Turner scores 16 and key 3-pointer to lift No. 15 Tennessee past No. 24 Kentucky 61-59
10:55PM ( 2 days ago )
West Virginia survives Young's 32 points to beat Oklahoma
Lamont West scores 17, No. 19 West Virginia survives Trae Young's 32 to beat No. 17 Oklahoma
2:21AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Utah taxpayers paid for hotel linked to prostitute report
Utah legislative leaders say they're not sure yet if the House will ask a Republican lawmaker to return taxpayer money for hotel rooms he's accused of using to meet up with a prostitute
4:59PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Even 'safe' bond investments falter as markets tumble
Stocks aren't the only thing dropping. Bonds, which are supposed to be the safe part of your portfolio, are faltering, too
4:53PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Olympic swimmer: Coach's manipulation, abuse dulled success
An Olympic swimmer who accused her former coach of sexually abusing her as a minor described "an extensive, abusive and incredibly manipulative relationship" that spanned a decade
4:48PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Michigan State plans to fire official over Nassar scandal
Michigan State University will fire the former dean of its osteopathic medicine college and has suspended the radiology chairman in the wake of former sports doctor Larry Nassar's sentencing for molesting young female athletes
4:48PM ( 42 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kelly defends handling of Rob Porter allegations
White House chief of staff John Kelly says a senior aide's resignation came within an hour of learning about new accusations of spousal abuse.
4:46PM ( 44 minutes ago )