LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobi Simmons scored 20 points and No. 14 Arizona’s defense contained UCLA’s top-rated offense in the Pac-12, beating the third-ranked Bruins 96-85 on Saturday to stay undefeated in conference play.
Lauri Markkanen added 18 points for the Wildcats (18-2, 7-0), who have won 12 in a row.
Lonzo Ball scored 24 points for UCLA (19-2, 6-2), which had its 11-game home winning streak snapped in front of a sellout crowd that included Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA), Cris Carter (NFL) and Dave Winfield (MLB).
It was the first time the longtime Pac-12 powers faced each other while both were ranked in the top 15 since Jan. 20, 2007, when UCLA won at home.
Simmons scored consecutive baskets that pushed Arizona’s lead to 14 points early in the second half.
UCLA’s defense faltered as the second half wore on, with the Wildcats scoring on nearly every possession. That prevented the Bruins’ speedy transition game from getting going.
They scrambled to get back into it on 3-pointers, with Isaac Hamilton hitting one that drew them to 67-65. Aaron Holiday’s 3 left UCLA trailing 72-68 just after Ball picked up his third foul. Three other starters also had three fouls.
Hamilton made two free throws that left UCLA trailing by six with just over a minute to go. But Markkanen dunked off his offensive rebound, got fouled and made the free throw to extend Arizona’s lead to 92-83.
The Bruins came in averaging a league-best 93.3 points and had been beating opponents by an average of 17.8 points. Arizona’s top-rated defense was allowing 61.8 points.
Down 29-27, the Wildcats closed the first half on a 21-8 run to lead 48-37 at the break. They hit four 3-pointers in the spurt, including one by Allonzo Trier, who singlehandedly outscored the Bruins 6-0 to end the half in his first game of the season.
Ball carried the Bruins in the first half with 15 points. The rest of his teammates shot 9 of 25 from the field.
Arizona: The Wildcats figure to move up several spots after easily remaining undefeated in the Pac-12 with a weekend sweep of the Los Angeles schools.
UCLA: The Bruins will tumble in the rankings after losing for the first time since Dec. 28 by two points to then-No. 21 Oregon.
Trier finished with 12 points in his first game this season after testing negative for a performance-enhancing drug.
The sophomore from Seattle has been practicing and traveling with the Wildcats all season, but the school had refused to say why he wasn’t playing. Trier said this week that he had inadvertently taken a substance with a trace amount of PED in it. He said the NCAA wouldn’t allow him to play until his system was completely cleared of the drug.
UCLA fans chanted “steroids” at him.
UCLA celebrated Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Day to honor their retired basketball great after he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“This is a very special thing for me,” he told the crowd at halftime.
Abdul-Jabbar helped lead the Bruins to consecutive NCAA championships from 1967-69 under coach John Wooden. The Hall of Famer played on teams that had an 88-2 record in his three seasons before going on to become the NBA’s career scoring leader.
Arizona: Hosts Washington State on Thursday.
UCLA: Visits Southern California on Wednesday in the first meeting between the crosstown rivals this season.