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UCLA defeats Oregon State, 74-64, for 10th straight win

The Bruins are 5-0 in Pac-12 play going into a key stretch of games starting Saturday.

January 18, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA's Travis Wear fouls Oregon State's Jarmal Reid in the second half Thursday night.
UCLA's Travis Wear fouls Oregon State's Jarmal Reid in the second… (Michael Robinson Chaves…)

There are things UCLA Coach Ben Howland will avoid discussing at the moment.

The Bruins' 10-game winning streak, following a 74-64 Pac-12 Conference victory over Oregon State on Thursday at Pauley Pavilion.

"We don't care about the streak," Howland said.

The fact that the last time he had a UCLA team that started 5-0 in conference was 2003-04, and the Bruins won only two more games that season.

"Shabazz [Muhammad] and Kyle [Anderson] were 8 or 9 years old," Howland said. "It means zilch."

The crucial two-game trip to Arizona next week.

"That is an eternity away," Howland said.

But those things have a way of working into the conversation.

The Bruins (15-3 overall, 5-0 in Pac-12 play) do have a 10-game winning streak, after defeating the Beavers in an uneven performance.

Muhammad had 21 points and Anderson 17 to help put the embarrassing loss to Cal Poly further in the past and leave No. 24 UCLA stalking teams in the top 25 again.

"It took some time to adjust and find out what each other is about," said forward Travis Wear, who had 17 points.

"It took cohesion for us to develop as a team."

UCLA did match its best conference start under Howland. He called the 5-0 start in 2003-04 a "miracle," and said, "I'm not surprised with the way our team has started off this year."

The Bruins do play at Arizona and Arizona State next week, part of a key stretch of games that can make them, break them or leave them treading water. It begins with No. 21 Oregon on Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion.

"It's time to worry about Oregon," Muhammad said.

But …

"Arizona, that's always in the back of our minds," Muhammad said. "The coming schedule is hectic."

So was the past game.

About the only thing that could be called smooth Thursday was former UCLA player Jamaal Wilkes, whose number was retired at halftime. Bookending the ceremony was a Bruins' performance that was herky-jerky.

UCLA got it done in spurts.

A 10-0 first-half run put the Bruins ahead and led to a 37-26 halftime advantage. A 11-0 run early in the second half put some distance between them and the Beavers.

UCLA led by as many as 20 points in the second half. Oregon State never looked capable of overcoming such a deficit. The Beavers (10-7, 0-4) could only get as close as 10 midway through the second half.

"We had a couple down moments," Wear said. "Once we figure out how to play for 40 minutes, we're going to be a much better team."

The spurts were enough.

Anderson did a little bit of everything throughout. He made seven of nine shots, had nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.

"He starts breaking guys down, it creates for us 'bigs,'" Wear said. "Someone has to go help on him and our eyes get big. We dive right to the basket."

Muhammad had labored with his offense in road games at Utah and Colorado. He made eight of 14 shots Thursday.

"I think I played too fast on the road," Muhammad said. "I came out tonight and relaxed."

That's something the Bruins won't be able to do starting Saturday. Howland already had a list of things heading into the Oregon game.

"Our rebounding, we beat them by two boards [37-35]," Howland said. "We had too many turnovers [13]."

Still, he said, "We're playing pretty good right now. We've won 10 in a row."

Something, it seems, he will discuss … at times.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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