for this game

UCLA pulls away late to beat USC

Feb 8, 2007 - 7:26 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Southern California's defense had no answer for UCLA when it counted most - at the free-throw line.

Darren Collison tied a career high with 17 points and the second-ranked Bruins took advantage of a late technical foul to avert the upset with a 70-65 Pac-10 Conference victory over the 21st-ranked Trojans.

UCLA (21-2, 10-2 Pac-10) completed a season sweep of its city rival, having won the previous meeting on a jumper by Arron Afflalo with four seconds left in overtime.

"This was a very important win over an outstanding team," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "USC proved to be a difficult opponent and the win was hard fought and well earned."

This game appeared to be following a similar script to the first meeting as USC (18-7, 8-4) led the entire way until Afflalo dunked off a fast break for a 50-48 lead with 5:49 to play.

The Trojans scored the next four points to regain the lead, setting up the decisive play of the game.

UCLA's Josh Shipp followed up a shot to knot it at 52-52 with 4:25. Shipp was fouled on the play, leading to a technical foul assessed to USC guard Lodrick Stewart.

Afflalo made two foul shots before Shipp finished off his three-point play and a five-point possession that pushed the Bruins' lead to 55-52.

Collison extended the advantage to 59-54 with a slicing drive down the lane with 1:53 left and UCLA converted 10 straight free throws to seal it.

"I thought Darren Collison played a better second half and did so by attacking USC's zone," Howland said. "We were able to finally take the lead and fight though the second half. USC stayed in it, but we fought until the end."

The Bruins owned a huge advantage at the stripe, making 24-of-31 free throws. The Trojans got to the line just five times, converting three.

"I am not allowed to talk about the officiating," Trojans coach Tim Floyd said. "I'm encouraged that we played 75 minutes. I wish we could have played 80. We played hard, spirited basketball. I was impressed that we had 18 points in the paint in the first half."

Dwight Lewis, Gabe Pruitt and Nick Young each hit 3-pointers as USC scored 11 points in the final 20 seconds. Young almost had a second from the arc but his foot was on the line.

Afflalo finished 3-of-11 from the field but scored 13 points in the final nine minutes to help rally UCLA, which hit just 2-of-17 3 point attempts.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 11 points and 10 rebounds to help the Bruins to a 33-24 edge on the glass.

"I thought Luc did a tremendous job on Nick Young," Howland said. "He really made him earn a lot of his points."

Young scored 20 points and Pruitt finished with 16 for the Trojans, who fell to 5-3 against ranked teams this season.