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UCLA Vs. Washington: Bruins Try To Stay On Top In Pac-10

(Sports Network) -- Following a statement victory over then-No. 10 Arizona, the UCLA Bruins will look to continue their late-season surge, as they invade Bank of America Arena for a Pac-10 date with the Washington Huskies. UCLA downed Arizona 71-49 on Saturday to move into a tie with the Wildcats for first place in the Pac-10. The Bruins, who have won 12 of their last 14 games, now control their own destiny, and will finish no worse than first place in the league standings if they win their final two regular season games.

Washington last played on Sunday, in an 80-69 loss to Washington State. The Huskies have lost two of their last three after reeling off three consecutive victories from Feb. 10th to Feb. 17th. With respect to the all-time series, tonight's matchup marks the 130th meeting between UCLA and Washington. The Bruins currently hold a 91-38 lead, although the Huskies have won the last two meetings.

UCLA put together two solid halves of basketball - something it has struggled to do for the majority of the season - to upset Arizona on Saturday. Reeves Nelson led the dominating charge, tallying a career-high 27 points and 16 rebounds. Joshua Smith added 17 points and Tyler Honeycutt finished with 15 points for the surging squad. Defensively, the Bruins turned in an impressive performance, as they held the Wildcats to a season-low 49 points. The stifling effort has become a staple recently, as the Bruins ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (65.7 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (41.6 percent). They employ a balanced offense, as five players average at least 9.9 ppg. Nelson leads the way at 14 ppg, as the Bruins average 71 ppg.

On Sunday, poor shot selection and a leaky defensive effort led to a setback for Washington. The Huskies, who thrive on the long ball, forced several shots from beyond the arc, hitting just 1-of-13 attempts from deep in a first half that saw them net only 17 points. For the game, the Huskies hit just 8-of-27 three-pointers and shot just 33.8 percent from the field. Isaiah Thomas managed to have an efficient night in the loss, as he scored a team-high 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Matt Bryan-Amaning turned in a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards, while Justin Holiday finished with 11 points and five assists. Defensively, Washington turned in perhaps its worst 20 minutes of basketball in recent memory, allowing Washington State to score 56 second half points. Despite the lackluster effort on both sides of the ball, the Huskies still possess the top offense in the Pac-10 (85.4 ppg), which knocks down 9.1 three-pointers per game. Thomas and Bryan-Amaning prove to be a dangerous duo, as they average 16.9 and 16.5 ppg, respectively. On defense, the Huskies allow 70.9 ppg.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Bruins Nation.