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Afflalo, inside game leads UCLA to another league title

Mar 2, 2007 - 8:07 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- UCLA pounded the ball inside to carve out another Pac-10 championship.

The second-ranked Bruins scored the first nine points of the second half to take command and held off Washington State en route to wrapping up the regular-season title with a 53-45 victory.

Arron Afflalo scored 14 points and Josh Shipp added 12 for UCLA (26-3, 15-2 Pac-10), which scored 11 of its 13 baskets after intermission from inside the lane.

Using its patented tough defense and deliberate offense, Washington State (23-6, 12-5) hung around in the first half and took a 23-22 lead into the half after a dunk by Aron Baynes and a 3-pointer by Daven Harmeling.

UCLA countered in the opening minutes of the second half, getting a layup by Shipp, a 3-pointer by Afflalo and inside hoops from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Shipp to forge a 31-23 edge just 3 1/2 minutes in.

"We were shaky to start and UCLA is a very good defensive team," Washington State coach Tony Bennett said. "One thing about UCLA, if you commit a turnover, miss a shot or have a breakdown, UCLA makes you pay."

Washington State shot just 37.5 percent (18-of-48) and committed a conference season high-tying 14 turnovers.

Mbah a Moute added three more hoops from around the rim as the Bruins maintained a 10-point advantage most of the second half before the Cougars scored six straight points, capped by a banker by Robbie Cowgill to cut the lead to 47-43 with 3 1/2 minutes left.

"I thought our guys got a little tired, our starters with five minutes left to go, but I didn't want to pull them," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

The sophomore Mbah a Moute struck again, taking a perfect pass from Darren Collison from the top of the key and scoring a layup with 3:08 left. Collison had six of his eight assists after halftime.

"I thought Darren Collison did a great job in the second half running the team," Howland said.

Baynes followed with a layup 30 seconds later, but Washington State was shut down the rest of the way while Shipp converted four free throws to seal the victory.

Kyle Weaver scored 14 points but leading scorer Derrick Low was held to just two on 1-of-8 shooting for the Cougars, who shot just 37 percent (18-of-49).

"That was a tournament-type game, low scoring and physical," Bennett said. "That's how good teams play in the tournament."

"Chances are, we'll see these guys again in eight or nine days (at the Pac-10 tournament)," Howland said.

By going to the inside power game, UCLA shot 51 percent (22-of-43). It shot just just 33 percent (18-of-55) in surviving, 55-52, at home on December 28 in the first meeting between the teams.

The Bruins have won the last six games in the series overall and 14 straight here.

Washington State fell to 1-68 all-time against top-five ranked opponents.

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    UCLA (2) 22 31 53
    WASHINGTON ST (13) 23 22 45 FINAL

    Mar 2 12:29 AM

    UCLA (2) 22

    Mar 1 11:19 PM
  • 45
    RUWTbot Added 45 roots

    UCLA vs. Washington StateMar 1 10:37 PM