for this game

Afflalo, UCLA shake off early deficit for win

Dec 6, 2006 - 6:00 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- It took Arron Afflalo and UCLA a couple of minutes to realize they are the top team in the nation.

Afflalo scored 20 points as the top-ranked Bruins overcame an inspired start by Cal State Fullerton to continue their unbeaten start with a 78-54 victory.

Looking to start the season with seven straight wins for the first time in 13 seasons, UCLA (7-0) and Afflalo witnessed their opponent clicking on all cylinders from the start.

Behind seven points by senior guard Bobby Brown, the Titans (5-2) raced out to a 14-4 start inside the opening five minutes.

"Tonight it wasn't anything we did wrong," UCLA Ben Howland said. "We were mentally ready to play this game. If we had not been ready, we would have lost.

"We had six turnovers in the first four minutes and you have to give them credit, they forced a lot of that. They were up on us, they were denying passes, we got down by 10. It was shaky for a while."

The surprising deficit did not rattle Afflalo, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 17-2 run that Josh Shipp capped with a shot from the arc with 9:15 remaining.

The Bruins, who shot 48 percent (15-of-31) in the first half, pulled ahead, 39-33, at the half and remained in control until a late run led to the 24-point margin.

"We didn't think they would jump on us like that," Afflalo said. "We know a lot of their players and they really thought they could beat us.

"I was proud of the way we showed maturity. Their mental energy was very high early in the game and throughout the first half, but we were mentally stronger in the second half. It's what coach Howland stresses."

Afflalo shot 7-of-15 with four 3-pointers and Shipp finished with 15 points.

Sophomore point guard Darren Collison scored 15 points and collected six steals and Lorenzo Mata had nine and a career-high 16 rebounds for UCLA, which held a 40-31 advantage on the boards.

Brown had 18 points but also committed seven turnovers for Cal State Fullerton, which finished with 28 giveaways.

Scott Cutley scored all 11 of his points in the first half for the Titans, who shot just 31 percent (8-of-26) in the second half.

"They wore us down with their strength and defense," Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton said. "They are such a second-half team that we had to keep our best players on the floor in the first half to stay in it and I thought it affected us in the second half. We hit a wall."

    --- --- -----
    CS FULLERTON 33 21 54
    UCLA (1) 39 39 78 FINAL

    Dec 6 12:26 AM

    UCLA (1) 39 HALFTIME

    Dec 5 11:21 PM