LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Barely a month ago, UCLA had lost two of three games and fallen out of the Top 25. Now, the Bruins are rolling.
Shabazz Muhammad scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half when UCLA pulled away to defeat Stanford 68-60 on Saturday, extending its winning streak to seven games.
Jordan Adams added 12 points and Kyle Anderson had 12 rebounds for the Bruins (12-3, 2-0 Pac-12), who are on their longest run of consecutive wins since taking 10 in a row during the 2008-09 season. They won their eighth straight at home against Stanford, and 11th in their last 12.
The victory allowed UCLA to complete a sweep on opening weekend of Pac-12 play. The Bruins beat California 79-65 on Thursday.
“A win is a beautiful thing,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said after being asked about the ugliness of a game that included a combined 28 turnovers.
Six of the Bruins’ seven wins during the current streak have come at home. Before the streak began at Texas on Dec. 8, they were upset at home by Cal Poly and lost on a neutral court to ranked San Diego State.
“We’re like a whole different team,” Muhammad said.
Anderson agreed, saying, “We bought into playing defense and a collective effort to help each other out.”
Dwight Powell had 17 points and tied his career high with 13 rebounds, and Chasson Randle added 17 points for Stanford (9-6, 0-2). The Cardinal lost at Southern California 71-69 two days earlier, and they fell to 9-29 on the road in conference play dating to the 2008-09 season. They have dropped 15 of their last 16 on the Los Angeles road trip.
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins kept his locker room closed for 56 minutes after the game.
“It was a record for me,” he said about the lengthy team meeting. “We talked about what we have to do to get better and it was a conversation involving everyone. We held UCLA way under their scoring average, but we have to do a lot better at making shots. We missed too many point-blank shots.”
The Bruins built a 15-point lead with 6:33 to play, but they got sloppy. UCLA committed eight turnovers while Stanford scored nine of the next 11 points to close to 57-49. John Gage, who finished with 10 points, scored five in a row in the spurt.
“We started relaxing,” Muhammad said. “They get an edge on you. We had to buckle down and play `D’ and make free throws down the stretch.”
Larry Drew II, who had seven assists, made a layup that restored UCLA’s lead to 10 points. Then Adams missed three straight one-and-ones, while Randle hit a layup and 3-pointer to get Stanford to 59-54 with 47 seconds left.
The Bruins converted 9 of 10 free throws after Adams’ misses, which Howland described as “an odd occurrence.”
The Bruins’ high-octane offense sputtered in the slow-moving game. They came in averaging a Pac-12-leading 80.8 points and they’d averaged 90.2 in their previous five games. They were 21 of 51 from the floor and had 14 turnovers, as did the Cardinal.
But they held Stanford to 34 percent shooting in the game.
“We talked about playing more together and we talked about offense and defense and lots of things,” Powell said. “The coach is passionate and he is all about winning.”
Muhammad started slowly for the second straight game before picking up his scoring in the second half.
“I don’t want to rush,” he said. “The Wears started off really hot and I let them do their thing and I played defense.”
Both teams shot poorly in the first half of a game that tipped off at noon PST. The Bruins were 9 of 25 from the field — missing their first six shots and trailing by four points — while the Cardinal were 7 of 26.
The Wear twins combined to score UCLA’s first 15 points. Travis Wear had seven in a row before David scored the next eight, including back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the Bruins’ lead to 15-11.
UCLA used a 6-3 run to end the half leading 30-22.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)