UCLA visits Colorado in pivotal Pac-12 affair

Boulder, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Ranked foes in the Pac-12 Conference duke it out on Thursday night, as No. 25 UCLA pays a visit to No. 21 Colorado.

Both teams have only three losses on the season, but at least one will have to go the rest of the way without the service of its best player.

Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie (14.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.8 apg) suffered a season- ending knee injury in Sunday's 71-54 loss at Washington. In addition to leading the Buffaloes in scoring, the 6-foot-6 junior also paces the club in assists, steals, 3-pointers and free-throw percentage.

The Buffs are right in the thick of the Pac-12 race, but now others will need to step up and carry the team from here on out. The loss to the Huskies snapped a four-game win streak for CU, which puts its perfect 11-0 home mark on the line tonight.

UCLA is coming off an 87-72 win over Arizona State, putting the wraps on a five-game homestand. The Bruins have won four of their last five outings overall, and will try to pick up their first win in this, only their second true road clash of the campaign. Steve Alford's club will actually play two straight and five of its next seven on enemy hardwood.

UCLA has won six of the seven previous meetings in the series with Colorado, and the Bruins are 2-0 versus the Buffs in Pac-12 play.

Zack Lavine led five players in double figures, netting 19 points in 24 minutes of action off the bench, as UCLA downed Arizona State at Pauley Pavilion last weekend. Kyle Anderson logged a double-double consisting of 17 points and 13 rebounds, and he dished out seven assists for good measure, while Jordan Adams tacked on 15 points, Bryce Alford had 13 and Norman Powell 11 for the Bruins, who knocked down 7-of-12 3-point tries and went 26-of-35 at the free-throw line. A 42-29 rebounding margin certainly helped matters, as did the fact that the Sun Devils committed 14 turnovers and went just 14-of-23 at the stripe.

For the season, Adams averages 18.1 ppg, while Anderson is close behind with 15.3 ppg, while also securing 9.3 rpg and handing out 6.6 apg in what has truly been a memorable campaign to this point. Levine (12.6 ppg, 2.1 apg) and Powell (10.7 ppg, 2.1 apg) round out the double-digit scorers for a unit that puts up 86.3 ppg, which ranks as the ninth-highest average in the country. The Bruins are shooting 54.1 percent from the field, which has them third in the nation this week. Their .410 3-point percentage ranks 12th.

With Dinwiddie out of commission, it will be up to guys like Josh Scott (13.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg), Askia Booker (13.1 ppg) and Xavier Johnson (10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) to elevate their respective games in an attempt to keep the Buffaloes moving forward. The team as a whole is shooting 44.8 percent from the field, but just 30.8 percent from beyond the arc, while permitting 68.1 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .427 overall and .382 from long range. Rebounding has played a huge role in the team's success, as it currently owns a +8.7 rebounding differential.

Dinwiddie was injured late in the first half of Sunday's game at Washington, leaving Scott to assume to role of scoring leader, and we wound up with 15 points and six rebounds. Wesley Gordon was the team's only other double-digit scorer, as he actually notched a double-double consisting of 11 points and 13 caroms. As a team, Colorado shot just 34.5 percent from the field, with only one of its 12 3-point tries finding the bottom of the net. Conversely, the Huskies drained nine treys and took advantage of 20 CU turnovers.

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