No. 2 UCLA 100, Duke 77
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ed O’Bannon scored a career-high 37 points as No. 2 UCLA positioned itself to claim the nation’s top ranking with its ninth straight victory, 100-77 over Duke on Sunday.
The Bruins (21-2) are expected to move into the top spot Monday for the first time since January 1994, when they held that position for one week.
Chants of ``We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1″ rang throughout Pauley Pavilion with four minutes remaining.
By then, the Bruins had turned the game into a slam-dunk contest, burning Duke’s defense for easy fast-break baskets.
UCLA (21-2) is coming off its best stretch of the season, having won five games in 11 days, including home victories against both Arizona schools that solidified its Pac-10 Conference lead.
Ed O’Bannon took over the game during a critical stretch midway through the second half when Duke had closed within four points. O’Bannon scored 11 of the Bruins’ next 15, giving them a 76-63 lead with 5:48 to play.
The Blue Devils (12-15) once got to 65-62 on Trajan Langdon’s 3-pointer with 10:17 remaining, but UCLA quickly built its advantage to 10.
Duke is 3-8 against Top 25 opponents this season, but the total margin in 10 games had only been eight points until UCLA went wild. The Blue Devils had won three straight against the Bruins.
Cherokee Parks led Duke with 21 points. The Blue Devils trailed by eight when Erik Meek fouled out with 7:43 remaining. He scored eight of his 12 points early in the second half when Duke was still in the game.
UCLA never trailed in the second half after twice being down by seven before the break.
The Bruins twice led by nine points, the last time on Tyus Edney’s basket that made it 61-52 with 13:27 to play. Edney added 18 points.
UCLA was down 27-21 when the Bruins outscored Duke 19-10 to end the first half ahead 40-37.
The Blue Devils led by seven points twice in the half. UCLA took its first lead, 16-15, on Edney’s jumper midway through a 13-2 spurt.
But Jeff Capel’s 3-pointer put Duke back in front and the Blue Devisl led by six points twice before the Bruins’ run to end the half.