Afflalo, UCLA use strong start to dump OregonFeb 2, 2007 - 7:43 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Arron Afflalo and UCLA showed that they don't mind being a frontrunner.
Afflalo scored 10 of his 17 points in the first half as the fifth-ranked Bruins raced out to a big lead and held off a rally in recording a 69-57 Pac-10 Conference victory over No. 9 Oregon.
Bouncing back from a tough 75-68 loss at Stanford on Sunday, UCLA (19-2, 8-2 Pac-10) grabbed sole possession of first place in the conference by posting its fourth straight win here in this series.
"It's nice to be in first place because this is a tough conference," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "But it really doesn't matter right now. We want to be first at the end of the year and we want to win the tournament."
Along with continuing its mastery of Oregon here, UCLA avenged a 68-66 loss at the Ducks on January 6 that ended the Bruins' undefeated start to the season at 14-0.
"That was huge for us, beating the team we were tied with to take over the leadership of the Pac-10," Afflalo said. "It was also big because they were the team that handed us our first loss and we still feel that sting, so it was an important win for us."
Returning home following a two-game road trip, the Bruins were more than happy to be in familiar surroundings, connecting on 12 of their first 17 shots in grabbing a 29-14 lead with 8:05 left in the first half.
"We were really amped up early," Howland said. "We moved the ball around and made our shots. It was a matter of being patient and taking good shots. After that they went into a zone and we went stagnant for a while but still led at the half by nine."
"UCLA had a lot of fight," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "Give them credit to how hard they came out, not that we were just flat."
Josh Shipp, who provided that margin with his only 3-pointer of the game, had seven points and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added six on 3-of-3 shooting in the first 12 minutes.
Although the Ducks (19-3, 7-3) cut the deficit to 35-26 at the break, the Bruins also came out shooting in the second half, pulling back ahead 47-28 on a jumper by Darren Collison with 14:41 to play.
Off to the school's best start in 80 years, Oregon found the fight to try and rally again, closing within 60-51 with 4:09 left on a three-point play by Malik Hairston.
"You expect that from great teams," Howland said. "It all comes down to your defense and we were able to pick up our intensity again. Our guys were disappointed from losing that big lead at Stanford and I was happy with the way we bounced back in this one."
UCLA came right back as Mbah a Moute grabbed a loose ball out of the air off a drive by Collison and hit a layup to build the lead back up to double digits. Oregon got no closer thereafter.
Afflalo finished 4-of-7 on 3-pointers and Mbah a Moute ended up with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bruins, who finished 57 percent (28-of-49) from the field and held a 34-18 advantage in points in the paint.
Bryce Taylor scored 17 points and Aaron Brooks 14 for the Ducks, who shot 37 percent (21-of-57) in being held under 60 points for just the second time this season.
Oregon did not get much help from its bench, receiving just four points on 2-of-7 shooting.
"We are in a tough stretch in our conference schedule," Kent said. "We have to gather ourselves and refocus. We need to get more productivity from our bench, especially in this tough stretch run."
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