NCAA BK

Sat, Jan 19, 2013 - 4:00 PM ET
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UCLA coach Ben Howland isn't concerned about the team's lengthy winning streak or a potentially tough road trip next week.

His focus is on 21st-ranked Oregon.

The 24th-ranked Bruins go for an 11th consecutive win Saturday when they host a Ducks team off to its best conference start in 39 years.

With Thursday's 74-64 victory over Oregon State, UCLA (15-3, 5-0 Pac-12) is now a win away from its longest streak since a 14-game run in its 2007-08 Final Four season, and is off to its best conference start since Howland's first season in Westwood in 2003-04.

That rapidly deteriorated into a 7-11 conference finish, but Howland doesn't expect a collapse this time.

"We're a much better team than we were my first year,'' Howland said.

Games at No. 7 Arizona and Arizona State next week give the Bruins a great opportunity to prove they belong among the Pac-12 elite, but Howland doesn't even want to think about those matchups.

"That is like an eternity away," he said. "All we're concerned about with is trying to beat the University of Oregon."

After defeating host Southern California 76-74 on Thursday in their first game as a ranked team in five years, the Ducks (15-2) arrive at Pauley Pavilion with their first 4-0 league record since 1973-74 - when the conference was known as the Pac-8.

Oregon has won its last three by a total of nine points to extend its run to six.

"You've got to find a way in some games,'' coach Dana Altman said. "We haven't been sharp now the last two games which is a big concern, but we did find a way to win, which is very important on the road."

The Ducks, however, have dropped seven of eight at UCLA.

Those struggles could continue if they can't contain freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad, who is averaging a team-best 21.6 points during UCLA's eight-game home winning streak.

Guard Kyle Anderson has been solid lately as well, averaging 12.9 points and 10.8 rebounds in his last seven games overall while shooting 55.8 percent.

Fellow freshman Jordan Adams has struggled recently, though. He had a season-low two points against Oregon State and has averaged 10.5 points - shooting 35.6 percent - since Christmas.

Adams topped the 20-point mark in seven of his first 12 collegiate games.

But with plenty of offensive options, the Bruins are scoring a league-best 78.2 points per game - 1.8 more than No. 2 Oregon. The Ducks, however, are fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (62.1) and opponents' field-goal percentage (39.6).

Oregon, which had all five starters score in double figures on Thursday, has six players averaging between 8.1 and 12.0 points.

Damyean Dotson leads that group, and the freshman has been at his best outside of Eugene. Dotson has averaged 19.0 points in four road games, shooting 61.5 percent from inside the arc.

In addition to containing Dotson, UCLA will have its hands full in the paint. Oregon's plus-9.3 rebound differential is second in the Pac-12, while the Bruins' plus-2.7 is ninth. Ducks forward Arsalan Kazemi is third in the Pac-12 in rebounds (9.5) and first with 2.3 steals per game.

"We've got our hands full," Howland said.

Tagged: Oregon, UCLA

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