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UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad sees Arizona as a must-win game

January 22, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad is averaging 17.9 points.
UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad is averaging 17.9 points. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

There are no guarantees in life. But UCLA freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad came close to making one.

The Bruins, who lost to Oregon on Saturday, face sixth-ranked Arizona in Tucson on Thursday.

“We have to win this game, especially after losing to Oregon,” Muhammad said.

Muhammad took it a little further, taking personal responsibility.

“I’m taking it upon myself to win this game,” Muhammad said.

Easier said than done.

The problems UCLA had against Oregon could pop up again in Tucson. The Ducks dominated the Bruins inside, outrebounding them, 40-31.

Oregon is sixth nationally in rebound margin. Arizona is fifth. UCLA is 131st.

“It’s an effort thing,” Muhammad said about the Bruins' troubles on the boards.

Muhammad said, “About half of practice was about rebounding. Coach [Ben Howland] wanted to get it into our mind.”

Kyle Anderson missed that lesson, sitting out the practice with what Howland said was illness and  Muhammad said was food poisoning.

Jordan Adams labored through practice with the same illness/dietary ramifications.

Both are expected to play at Arizona. The Bruins have only eight scholarship players.

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