Capitals

UCLA uses fast start to beat No. 6 Arizona 84-73

201301242109761511198-p2.jpeg

UCLA uses fast start to beat No. 6 Arizona 84-73

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Shabazz Muhammad scored 23 points, Jordan Adams added 15 and UCLA rode a dominating start to an 84-73 win over No. 6 Arizona on Thursday night.

The Pac-12's top scoring and shooting team, UCLA (16-4, 6-1) tried to turn Arizona's whiteout into a blowout, racing to a 16-point lead in the game's first seven minutes. Even when Arizona chipped away at the lead, bringing the all-in-white crowd at the McKale Center to life, the Bruins kept their composure to pick up a huge road win.

David Wear added 15 points and eight rebounds for UCLA.

Arizona (16-2, 4-12) got off to a miserable start at both ends and never fully recovered, pulling no closer than four points after digging a huge opening hole.

Nick Johnson had 23 points, Mark Lyons added 16 and Solomon Hill 13 for the Wildcats, who went 5 for 24 from 3-point range.

Heading in, this was one of the most anticipated games of the Pac-12 season, two of the conference's most talented teams that score in bunches and have some of the best freshmen anywhere.

Arizona's freshmen big men - Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett - have been solid in their first season in the desert, though they have been able to fall back on Arizona's veterans when things have gotten tight.

After opening with 14 straight wins, the Wildcats' luck in pulling out tight games ran out with a 70-66 road loss to Oregon on Jan. 10. They responded with a pair of impressive wins, beating Oregon State and Arizona State both by double digits.

UCLA had some rough patches early in the season, losing to Cal Poly and needing overtime to beat UC Irvine, along with Tyler Lamb and Joshua Smith transferring from the program.

The Bruins rounded back into form after losing to San Diego State on Dec. 1, winning 10 straight games before losing to No. 16 Oregon on Saturday.

UCLA's freshmen - Muhammad, Adams and Kyle Anderson - handled a big road test in a win over Colorado two weeks ago, but the McKale Center and all those rowdy fans wearing white T-shirts and screaming at them.

No problem for these Bruins, young and old.

Confident and crisp on offense, UCLA made eight of its first 12 shots, racing out to a 19-3 lead. Arizona helped out by clanging shot after shot, opening 1 for 13, with most of those around the rim.

The Wildcats were getting decent shots, though, and a few started to fall as they chipped away at the lead.

Arizona climbed its shooting percentage up to 31 percent (11 for 25) by halftime, but had trouble stopping the Bruins, who went 19 for 34 from the floor for a 40-30 lead. Muhammad led the way with 11 points.

Even without Travis Wear, who sat out the second half with a head injury after scoring six points in the first, UCLA maintained its composure.

Scoring on the break, inside and on tough drives to the basket, the Bruins kept dropping in shots, pushing the lead to 55-41 in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Arizona wasn't quite done, though.

Sparked by Johnson's three-point play, the Wildcats scored the next 10 points to get within four and crank up the volume in the McKale Center.

The Bruins made sure they didn't get any closer.

Tony Parker scored on a three-point play, Muhammad dropped in a 3-pointer and UCLA pushed the lead up to 70-60 with just over four minutes left.

Arizona kept clanging from the perimeter and the Bruins made the shots and free throws when they needed to, pulling out their biggest road win of the season.

Quick Links

Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

COLUMBUS — Alex Ovechkin confidently predicted earlier this week that the Caps were going to win twice at Nationwide Arena and take their first round series back to Washington knotted, two games apiece.

And, on Thursday night, that’s exactly what Ovechkin made sure his team did.

No. 8, who was playing in his franchise-record 101st playoff game, scored his third goal of the playoffs early in the final frame and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 in Game 4.

Tarik’s Three Stars of Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 4

1. Tom Wilson, Capitals

After a slow (and penalty plagued) start to this series, Wilson has become a force. Yes, he took another minor.

But the good is far outweighing the bad these days. Big Willy recorded a goal, an assist and a team-high seven shots.  

2. Braden Holtby, Capitals

Holtby had his best game in, well, a long time. He stopped 23 shots, including all eight he saw in a contentious second period.

The goal he surrendered was a nearly unstoppable tip-in by Boone Jenner.

3. T.J. Oshie, Capitals

Osh just plays the game so dang hard.

So it should come as no surprise that he delivered in his team’s biggest game of the season to this point. Oshie, of course, scored the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the second period. It was No. 77’s second tally of the series.

Agree? Disagree?

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

Quick Links

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

MORE REDSKINS:

Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins