Los Angeles — Boosted by the return of Allonzo Trier, No. 14 Arizona showed off a potent offense to go along with its swarming defense.
Trier led a late run in the first half and finished with 12 points in his first game of the season, helping the Wildcats topple No. 3 UCLA 96-85 Saturday.
Trier’s status was resolved Friday night after he tested negative for a performance-enhancing drug.
The sophomore from Seattle — who averaged nearly 15 points per game last season — had been practicing and traveling with the Wildcats, but the school had refused to say why he wasn’t playing.
Trier said this week that he had inadvertently taken a substance with a trace amount of PED in it. He said the NCAA wouldn’t allow him to play until his system was completely cleared of the drug.
UCLA fans chanted “steroids” at him. Trier wasn’t made available to the media afterward.
“I don’t think we win without him,” coach Sean Miller said. “It means a lot, especially for this team and his family.”
The Wildcats won their 12th in a row, putting up 21 more points than they average. Arizona (18-2, 7-0 Pac-12) has the top-rated defense in the conference.
Kobi Simmons scored 20 points and Lauri Markkanen added 18.
“We’ve had big goals all along,” Markkanen said. “This gives us an extra boost.”
So do the Bruins (19-2, 6-2), who hope to be playing for a national championship in April.
“If we want to become great, we’ve got to play as unselfishly defensively together as we do at the offensive end,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “You could be awfully special by the time we get to March, but your defense has got to grow.”
Lonzo Ball scored 24 points for UCLA, which had its 11-game home winning streak snapped in front of a sellout crowd that included Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA), Cris Carter (NFL) and Dave Winfield (MLB).
“It’s a wake-up call,” Ball said. “The places we want to go we have to play defense.”
It was the first time the longtime Pac-12 powers faced each other while both were ranked in the top 15 since Jan. 20, 2007, when UCLA won at home.
Simmons scored consecutive baskets that pushed Arizona’s lead to 14 points early in the second half.
UCLA’s defense faltered as the second half wore on, with the Wildcats scoring on nearly every possession. That prevented the Bruins’ speedy transition game from getting going.
They scrambled to get back into it on 3-pointers, with Isaac Hamilton hitting one that drew them to 67-65. Aaron Holiday’s 3 left UCLA trailing 72-68 just after Ball picked up his third foul. Three other starters also had three fouls.
Hamilton made two free throws that left UCLA trailing by six with just over a minute to go. But Markkanen dunked off his offensive rebound, got fouled and made the free throw to extend Arizona’s lead to 92-83.
The Wildcats controlled the boards, 42-33, and owned a 24-18 edge in second-chance points.
“It’s a big win. It means a lot them being ranked number three,” Markkanen said. “We knew their transition offense was really tough. We focused on getting back after crashing the offensive glass. It worked extremely well at times.”
The Bruins came in averaging a league-best 93.3 points and had been beating opponents by an average of 17.8 points. Arizona’s defense was allowing 61.8 points.
Down 29-27, the Wildcats closed the first half on a 21-8 run to lead 48-37 at the break. They hit four 3-pointers in the spurt, including one by Trier, who singlehandedly outscored the Bruins 6-0 to end the half in his first game of the season.
“They have to change up their game plan,” Simmons said. “We had another player that they didn’t know was coming. That was big.”
Ball carried the Bruins in the first half with 15 points. The rest of his teammates shot 9 of 25 from the field.
(At) No. 1 Villanova 78, Providence 68: Josh Hart scored 25 points, Kris Jenkins had 19 and Villanova beat Providence.
The defending national champion Wildcats (19-1, 7-1 Big East) have won five straight since their only loss at Butler on Jan. 4 temporarily knocked them out of the No. 1 spot in The AP Top 25.
Rodney Bullock had 17 points and Jalen Lindsey added 14 for Providence (13-8, 3-5).
(At) No. 2 Kansas 79, Texas 67: Devonte’ Graham scored 18 points and Frank Mason III added 17 for Kansas.
Freshman Josh Jackson chipped in 15 points for the Jayhawks (18-1, 7-0 Big 12) while Svi Mykhailiuk added 12 points and Landen Lucas had 12 rebounds.
Freshman Jarrett Allen posted season-highs with 22 points and 19 rebounds for Texas (7-12, 1-6).
(At) No. 4 Gonzaga 73, Portland 52: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 15 points as Gonzaga beat short-handed Portland to remain the only unbeaten team in Division I.
Przemek Karnowski added 12 points for Gonzaga (19-0, 7-0 West Coast), which has a nation’s best 19-game winning streak. It is the best start in program history.
Gabe Taylor scored 13 points and Jazz Johnson 12 for Portland (9-10, 2-5), which has lost five games in a row. The Pilots played without leading scorer Alec Wintering, who earlier Saturday was declared out for the season with a torn ACL.
(At) No. 5 Kentucky 85, No. 24 South Carolina 69: Malik Monk scored 27 points, Bam Adebayo added 18 and Kentucky overcame an ankle injury to starting guard De’Aaron Fox to beat South Carolina and take over first place in the Southeastern Conference.
The showdown of the SEC’s lone unbeaten teams in league play featured a subplot of injuries to key players on both squads. Fox, Kentucky’s No. 2 scorer, turned his right ankle midway through the first half; he returned early in the second on crutches with his foot in a soft cast. His injury followed the pregame scratch of Gamecocks guard and No. 2 scorer P.J. Dozier with back spasms.
The Wildcats (17-2, 7-0 SEC) regrouped without Fox and earned the hard-fought victory.
Sindarius Thornwell scored a career-high 34 points and Temarcus Blanton 12 for South Carolina (15-4, 5-1 SEC), which had won five straight.
No. 6 Baylor 62, (at) TCU 53: Manu Lecomte scored 17 points and Baylor beat TCU in a game that was back-and-forth for most of the second half until a late run by the Bears.
Baylor (18-1, 6-1 Big 12) is 10-0 against the Frogs since they joined the Big 12 four years ago.
There was a 9½-minute stretch in the second half when the teams traded scores until Ishmail Wainright swished a 3-pointer with 4:16 left that put the Bears up 50-48. That started a 7-0 run that kept them ahead to stay.
In the second half, there were five ties and 13 lead changes.
Vlad Brodziansky had 19 points and 10 rebounds for TCU (14-5, 3-4), while Kenrich Williams had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Marquette 102, (at) No. 7 Creighton 94: Katin Reinhardt scored 17 of his season-high 21 points in the first half and Marquette picked up its first Big East road win.
Luke Fischer and Jajuan Johnson added 18 points apiece for the Golden Eagles (13-6, 3-3).
Marcus Foster scored 30 points to lead the Bluejays (18-2, 5-2), who were playing their first full game without star point guard Maurice Watson Jr., who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Monday against Xavier.
(At) Kansas State 79, No. 7 West Virginia 75: Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown each scored 13 points to help Kansas State rally to upset West Virginia.
The Wildcats (15-4, 4-3 Big 12) trailed by 12 late in the first half before Stokes keyed a late burst, hitting a layup right before the halftime buzzer to cut the deficit to two at the half.
Buoyed by that run, Kansas State went on a 14-6 run to start the second half and take a 50-44 lead on a layup by Dean Wade.
The Mountaineers (15-4, 4-3) trailed 65-55 with 7:43 left before taking a 68-67 lead on Nathan Adrian’s jumper with just under 5 minutes left.
No. 9 North Carolina 90, (at) Boston College 82: Kennedy Meeks scored 20 points with nine rebounds and Justin Jackson scored 22 points for North Carolina.
It was the sixth straight win for Carolina (18-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) since a league-opening loss to Georgia Tech.
Ky Bowman matched his career high with 33 points for BC (9-11, 2-5).
(At) No. 10 Florida State 73, No. 12 Louisville 68: Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Bacon both scored 16 points for Florida State.
Terance Mann added 15 points and Michael Ojo had 10 for the Seminoles (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who went 5-1 during a stretch where it faced six straight ranked opponents.
Tony Hicks led Louisville (16-4, 4-3) with 16 points.
No. 11 Oregon 69, Stanford 52: Chris Boucher had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Dylan Ennis scored 15 points and Oregon rolled to a victory over Stanford.
With preseason All-America forward Dillon Brooks on the bench and his left leg in a boot to protect a sprained foot, the Ducks (18-2, 7-0 Pac-12) broke a 104-year-old school record with their 16th consecutive win and 38th in a row at home.
Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey each had 11 points for Oregon, which overcame 19 turnovers by shooting 11 of 25 from 3-point range and outrebounding Stanford 40-29.
Marcus Allen had 13 points as the only scorer in double figures for the Cardinal (11-9, 3-5).
No. 13 Butler 70, (at) DePaul 69, OT: Kethan Savage scored 20 points for Butler.
Kamar Baldwin added 18 points and Kelan Martin had 12 for the Bulldogs (17-3, 6-2 Big East).
Eli Cain scored a career-high 32 points for DePaul (8-12, 1-6). Billy Garrett Jr. added 16 points and Tre’Darius McCallum had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Demons.
(At) No. 15 Notre Dame 84, Syracuse 66: V.J. Beachem scored a career-high 30 points for Notre Dame, which snapped a four-game losing streak against Syracuse.
Matt Farrell added 15 points and nine assists for the Irish (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were coming off a three-point loss at No. 10 Florida State that stopped a seven-game win streak.
Tyler Lydon had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse (11-9, 3-4).
(At) No. 16 Virginia 62, Georgia Tech 49: Marial Shayok scored a career-best 19 points as Virginia used a 22-7 run spanning halftime.
London Perrantes added 11 points, all in the first 7 minutes, for the Cavaliers (15-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), and Devon Hall had 10. The victory was the fourth in a row for Virginia.
Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 3-4) with 14 points.
(At) No. 18 Duke 70, Miami 58: Matt Jones scored all 13 of his points in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers during the run of 20 consecutive points that lifted Duke over Miami.
Jayson Tatum had 14 points and Luke Kennard 11 for the Blue Devils (15-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a two-game skid with a dominant second half.
After falling behind by 12 points in the first half — the largest deficit they’ve overcome in a victory this season — the Blue Devils opened the second with a 22-1 run, shot 67 percent after halftime and ended up outscoring Miami 45-22 in the final 20 minutes.
Davon Reed had 19 points and Bruce Brown added 15 to lead the Hurricanes (12-6, 2-4), who have lost two straight and four of five.
Vanderbilt 68, (at) No. 19 Florida 66: Matthew Fisher-Davis scored 19 points and Nolan Cressler came up big in the final minute for Vanderbilt.
The Commodores (9-10, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) ended a four-game losing streak.
KeVaughn Allen had a season-high 29 points for the Gators (14-5, 5-2), who have dropped two in a row.
No. 20 Cincinnati 78, (at) Tulane 61: Jacob Evans scored 15 points as Cincinnati won its 10th consecutive game.
Cincinnati (17-2, 7-0 American Athletic Conference) shot 56 percent from the field and the Green Wave (4-15, 1-6) shot 45 percent and made just five first-half field goals as it lost for the eighth time in its last nine games.
Cameron Reynolds led Tulane with 20 points.