LOS ANGELES — Nick Johnson scored 22 points and No. 1 Arizona withstood UCLA’s late 15-1 run to beat the Bruins 79-75 Thursday night, equaling the best start in school history at 16-0.
The Wildcats (3-0 Pac-12) held on despite blowing a 13-point lead with 6:16 to play and committing a season-worst 17 turnovers.
“We’re undefeated and we’ll keep it like that if we can keep churning out wins and not worry about who our opponent is or how special it is, and just play our game,” Johnson said.
Kaleb Tarczewski made all six of his field-goal attempts and scored 16 points for the Wildcats, who snapped a three-game skid against the Bruins in the lone regular-season meeting between the longtime conference powers.
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The 1931-32 Wildcats also began the season 16-0.
Freshman Zach LaVine, a graduate of Bothell High School, hit a three-pointer that got UCLA to 77-75 with 15 seconds left, but he missed another one with two seconds to go that would have left the Bruins down one.
Kyle Anderson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Jordan Adams added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bruins (12-3, 1-1). They haven’t beaten a top-ranked team since March 13, 2003, when they took down Arizona in overtime in the Pac-12 tournament.
Buoyed by loud chants of “U of A” in Pauley Pavilion, the Wildcats pulled away to a 12-point lead midway through the second half after UCLA kept it close in the first 20 minutes. Arizona starters Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley and T.J. McConnell all played with four fouls in the second half.
Johnson’s dunk gave Arizona its largest lead of the game, 68-55.
That’s when the Bruins reeled off a 15-1 run, including 13 consecutive points, to take their last lead at 70-69.
Adams hit a three-pointer for a 68-all tie. He, Anderson and Bryce Alford combined to outscore the Wildcats, who made just one free throw during that stretch. Alford finished with 12 points.
The Wildcats were limited to one field goal over the final 1:27, when they went 8 of 10 from the free-throw line to hang on.
The Bruins’ 79 points were the most scored by an Arizona opponent this season. They missed five straight free throws before their big run.
California 96, at No. 17 Oregon 83
Freshman guard Jordan Matthews scored a season-high 32 points and California beat the Ducks for the 12th straight time.
Justin Cobbs had 20 points and 11 assists for the Golden Bears (11-4, 2-0), who shot 52.5 percent.
Joseph Young scored 29 for the Ducks (13-2, 1-2), who went 5 of 19 from three-point range and dropped their second consecutive game after opening 13-0. Oregon was held to 40.6 percent shooting overall.
Cal tied the game on a three-point play from Richard Solomon, but Mike Moser took the lead back with a 15-foot jumper. Cobbs hit a three-pointer followed by a two-handed dunk from Solomon with 12:45 left, putting California up 59-56. Oregon took a one-point lead with 11:56 to go, but Cal went on an 8-0 spurt and led 67-60. Cal took its first 10-point lead on a dunk from Solomon with 2:52 remaining, and the Golden Bears managed to hold on.
Arizona State 79, at USC 60
Jordan Bachynski had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Jahii Carson scored 18 points despite being held scoreless for the first 15 minutes and Arizona State snapped the Trojans’ nine-game winning streak at home.
Shaquielle McKissic had 12 points and eight rebounds and Jermaine Marshall added 10 points for the Sun Devils (13-3, 2-1), who won for the sixth time in seven games. Seven of the previous nine games between the teams were decided by six points or fewer, but this one wasn’t close most of the way.
Byron Wesley led the Trojans (9-6, 0-2) with 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. He was the only player in double figures for USC, which won its first seven games at Galen Center this season and its last two last season.
At Oregon State 81, Stanford 72
Eric Moreland had 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks as Oregon State beat Stanford. Moreland was back for his third game after a 12-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Roberto Nelson scored 21 points for the Beavers (9-6, 1-2), and freshman Hallice Cooke, making his first start, had 16 points.
Chasson Randle scored 30 points and Dwight Powell added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Stanford (9-5, 0-2).