Arizona basketball: No depth? No problem for UCLA

Arizona's Grant Jerrett battles UCLA's David Wear for the ball. Wear played 31 minutes and scored 15 points in the Bruins' win.


Travis Wear didn't play the second half Thursday night, resigned to cheering from the bench and taking concussion tests after being whacked by a stray elbow from one of the Arizona Wildcats.

And, two days removed from the flu, Jordan Adams cramped and left the game, too, filling his belly with so much purple Gatorade that he was afraid he'd throw it back up.

This was the formula that should have killed the Bruins.

Instead, with an 84-73 win, the Bruins - no depth and all - managed to knock off America's No. 6 team.

"We really questioned that (depth)," said freshman wing Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 23 points and looked like the best player on the floor. "If you look at Arizona, they have so many good players. Off the bench they have guys that can start on teams.

"If you look at it we had six, seven guys who played. When Trav got hurt, we were at six. We really gutted it out down the stretch.

"It was a great win for us."

Arizona, which boasts of its deep bench, has six players log 21 minutes or more per game.

The Bruins have seven. That's a significant difference late in games.

"You're fighting through adversity," said UCLA coach Ben Howland, "and that's what this is all about."

David Wear, Travis' identical twin, played 31 minutes, his most since the second game of the season.

His 15 points was his second-most all season, his eight rebounds third-most.

Freshman big man Tony Parker, who averaged four minutes in conference play before Thursday, played 10 minutes, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds, two on offense.

He scored more points than the UA's Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett combined.

Travis Wear, whose condition for Saturday's game at Arizona State is uncertain but said he felt fine, had never seen Parker like that at UCLA.

"I like it," he said, smiling.

Howland said he "thought Tony played fantastic," and that "his minutes were critical."

The Bruins played their usual eight players, with Norman Powell the third bench option.

"We were getting a little tired, and we had to suck it up and play, and we did," Muhammad said.

UCLA's lack of depth could hurt it in the long haul, but Thursday it helped hang onto a 19-3 lead to start the game.

"We knew they had the crowd behind them," said Adams, who had 15 points. "You can't keep that lead forever. We knew they'd come back sooner or later."

The Wildcats did, but never pulled closer than four - with 11:14 to play in the game.

"I thought we just attacked," Muhammad said. "I don't think anyone can deal with our transition. We have so many athletic wings."

Muhammad said earlier in the week he planned to carry his team to victory.

"He didn't win it by himself tonight," Howland said. "He played really well."

Howland smiled when talking about his star freshman.

"You see it in very few players," he said. "When the lights are on and the cameras are on, his level raises.

"It always raises.

"It always gets better."

Muhammad, who made 8 of 16 shots despite saying the "whiteout" backdrop made it "hard to shoot," shouldered an added responsibility once Travis Wear left.

"I felt like I had to produce more on the defensive end, and especially boxing guys out," he said.

The win is a "huge confidence-builder," he said.

For a team with high expectations, that could be a perilous road.

"Our upside," Howland said, "is to try to win the next game."

Others, especially UCLA's freshmen, can't get too caught up in Thursday's win.

"I just hope it doesn't get to their head," a serious Larry Drew II said. "It's still a business trip for us.

"We came out, and we took down a top-10 team in the nation on their home floor."