Los Angeles UCLA always plays its best basketball when coach Steve Lavin's job is on the line. And that's been just about every one of his seven seasons in Westwood.
The Bruins stunned No. 1 Arizona, 96-89, in overtime Thursday in the opening round of the Pac-10 Conference tournament, once again showing their penchant for turning things around after a disappointing regular season.
"We have not been able to put 40 minutes together, and today we finally did," said senior Ray Young, whose emergence as a replacement point guard has coincided with the Bruins winning four of their last five games.
"Although they made a run, we stuck together," Young said. "Everybody was completely focused and just wanted to win. When we do that, we're very deadly because we have the manpower."
The game was reminiscent of shockers the Bruins have pulled in the NCAA Tournament under Lavin. Last year they surprised No. 5 Cincinnati in the second round. In 2000, they defeated No. 17 Maryland in the second round, and in 1998, they sent No. 12 Michigan packing in the second round.
Thursday was the 10th time the Bruins have knocked off a No. 1 team, breaking a tie for the national record with Notre Dame. Four of those have been under Lavin.
"We got our hit, now let's see how well we bounce back from that," Arizona coach Lute Olson said.
The loss ended Arizona's 10-game winning streak, although the Wildcats (25-3) probably will earn a No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA Tournament. They won last year's Pac-10 tournament.
"We have next week to accomplish our goal, which is to win it all," Arizona senior Rick Anderson said.
The Bruins (10-18) advanced to tonight's first semifinal against fifth-seeded Oregon.
No. 5 Pittsburgh 67, Providence 59
New York -- Pittsburgh held Providence to one field goal during the final 51/2 minutes to advance to the semifinals of the Big East tournament. Donatas Zavackas had 16 points to lead the Panthers (24-4), who will play Boston College tonight as they try to reach the title game for the third straight year.
UAB 83, No. 8 Marquette 76
Louisville, Ky. -- Eric Bush scored 17 points and tied a Conference USA tournament record with six steals to lead Alabama-Birmingham past Marquette in the tournament quarterfinals. Morris Finley scored 23 points and Demario Eddins added 16 points and five steals for the Blazers (18-11), who set a tournament record with 20 steals. Conference USA Player of the Year Dwyane Wade set a tournament record with 10 turnovers as Marquette (23-5) lost for just the second time in 17 games.
No. 10 Xavier 78, George Washington 73
Dayton, Ohio -- David West scored 27 points and Xavier set a school record with its 16th straight win in advancing to the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals. West, the conference's only three-time player of the year, also had 13 rebounds and a team-high four assists.
No. 11 Syracuse 74, Georgetown 69
New York -- Carmelo Anthony, Billy Edelin and Gerry McNamara made six straight free throws down the stretch and Syracuse held off Georgetown to advance to the semifinals of the Big East tournament.
Southern California 79, No. 15 Stanford 74
Los Angeles -- Desmon Farmer scored 24 points and Roy Smiley added a career-high 20 as Southern California defeated Stanford in the opening round of the Pac-10 Conference tournament. The Trojans (12-16) beat the Cardinal (23-8) in the first round for the second straight year.
No. 16 Memphis 62, South Florida 56
Louisville, Ky. -- Chris Massie had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Memphis overcame poor shooting to beat South Florida in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament. Rodney Carney scored 18 points and Antonio Burks added eight assists for the Tigers (23-5).
No. 20 Louisville 82, Tulane 66
Louisville, Ky. -- Reece Gaines scored 15 points and Luke Whitehead had 11 points and 11 rebounds, helping Louisville beat Tulane in the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament. Francisco Garcia scored 15 and Otis George 14 for the Cardinals (22-6).
No. 22 Dayton 74, Rhode Island 57
Dayton, Ohio -- Keith Waleskowski scored 16 points and Sean Finn added 15 as Dayton showed little rust after a 12-day layoff in defeating Rhode Island in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
No. 25 St. Joseph's 68, La Salle 48
Dayton, Ohio -- Delonte West returned from his leg injury and Pat Carroll hit several pivotal three-pointers as St. Joseph's pulled away and reached the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament for the 11th time in 20 seasons.