LOS ANGELES — Different season, different interim Arizona Wildcats head coach.
The UA lost its eighth straight game to UCLA Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion, and it wasn't close again: 83-60.
It was the Wildcats' worst loss at UCLA in over a quarter-century. They lost 111-58 in 1982-83, during Ben Lindsey's one season as UA head coach.
The Wildcats fell behind 14-5 out of the gate and were never really in the game after that point. They trailed by 14 at halftime and by up to 26 in the second half when they substituted heavily toward the end of the game.
"They came out ready to play and pinned us back on our heels," UA interim head coach Russ Pennell said. "We could never really recover."
The UA lost by 22 points at Pauley Pavilion last season, in a game when then-coach Kevin O'Neill broke a greaseboard at halftime in frustration. The Wildcats trailed in that game by up to 32 points.
Although the final score was worse than last year's UA game at Pauley, it was closer in subtle ways. Arizona was never in the game, but it never really let it get completely out of hand, either, trailing the most only after Pennell began substituting heavily.
"This was a different loss," wing Chase Budinger said. "Everybody played hard on the defensive end."
The problem was the UA could only get significant production from three players: Jordan Hill, who led the team with 22 points and eight rebounds; Budinger, who had 14; and Zane Johnson, who had eight in a reserve role.
Point guard Nic Wise struggled with a 1-for-8 night, while he had three turnovers with his five assists.
Meanwhile, UCLA just hummed along, getting five players in double figures and dishing out 20 assists. The Bruins also had a 31-24 rebounding advantage.
"There's a reason why they've been to three straight Final Fours," Pennell said. "They do an outstanding job."
The Bruins picked up where they left off at halftime early in the second half, taking a quick 50-31 lead and going ahead by 21. Arizona cut the lead back under 20 for several minutes but was down 77-55 by the time Josh Shipp hit a three-pointer with 3:38 to go.
The Wildcats played with reserve guard Garland Judkins, who was suspended for their game with Oregon State last week for unspecified reasons. Judkins did not get in the game until 4:45 was left in the second half, and left 17 seconds later after he fouled Shipp.
Despite getting another dominant first-half performance from Hill, who scored 13 points and picked up five rebounds, the Wildcats trailed 42-28 at halftime. Hill was by far the biggest problem for the Bruins.
"Jordan was very active," Pennell said. "They played him straight up (defensively) and when you play him straight up, he's going to put up some pretty good numbers."
In the first half, Budinger added another eight points. Wise had three assists, too.
But UCLA had seven players scoring four points or more, led by Darren Collison and Nikola Dragovic, who each had eight. Collison was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line while Dragovic was 2 of 2 from three-point range.
The Bruins shot 58 percent overall from the field and hit half of their 10 three-pointers.
UCLA threw a final punch at Arizona at the end of the first half. With the seconds ticking down to two, Jerime Anderson found Alfred Aboya behind the UA defense along the baseline, and Aboya drove inside for a score.
Arizona started the game ominously, trailing 14-5 early while allowing the Bruins to hit four of their first five field goals, including three-pointers from Shipp and Dragovic.
Arizona pulled back to within 26-20 midway through the half, after Johnson hit a jumper and a three-pointer.
But the Bruins kept efficiently finding holes in the UA zone and shooting over it. They went on a 10-2 run late in the half to take a 38-22 lead.
The Wildcats wore red uniforms for the first time this season, having been unable to wear them in previous road games because the red tights for Wise had not been received.