Originally created 02/23/98

Duke wants No. 1 back, romps past No. 12 UCLA

DURHAM, N.C. -- It's safe to assume UCLA has seen enough of the Atlantic Coast Conference for one season.

No. 2 Duke made a strong bid to reclaim the nation's top ranking with a 120-84 victory over the 12th-ranked Bruins on Sunday as Trajan Langdon matched his career-high with 34 points. The 120 points scored by Duke was the most ever allowed by a UCLA team.

Still, the loss wasn't the Bruins' worst of the season as they fell 109-68 to North Carolina in the Great Alaska Shootout in November.

"(Duke) played probably about as well as anybody we've played going back to the North Carolina game, so that kind of explains why they are the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation," said UCLA coach Steve Lavin. "It shows you what a great conference the ACC is.

"I just told my team we've got to get better. Hopefully, an experience like this will make us better for (NCAA) tournament play. I don't think we'll play in any more of a difficult environment the rest of our season."

UCLA (20-6) began playing basketball in 1919 and the most points allowed had been 116 to Stanford in double overtime in 1987.

Duke (25-2) or No. 3 Arizona, with the nation's longest winning streak, will likely rise to the top of the poll following No. 1 North Carolina's 86-72 home loss to North Carolina State on Saturday. It could be Duke's third stint as the top-ranked team this season.

"We still haven't gotten a trophy for the last two times," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said when asked about the possibility of another No. 1 ranking. "We're still waiting for it. All you do at No. 1 is eventually you get beat. That's of little consequence right now."

Duke wasted little time showing it may belong on top again -- five games removed from losing the No. 1 ranking in a 24-point loss at North Carolina. The two ACC powers meet here for a rematch on Saturday.


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