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Mbah a Moute helps UCLA hold off Kentucky

Nov 22, 2006 - 5:35 AM MAUI, Hawaii (Ticker) -- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and UCLA wouldn't let Kentucky do to them what Georgia Tech did to Memphis.

Mbah a Moute scored 18 points and the fifth-ranked Bruins fought off a late rally by the No. 22 Wildcats for a 73-68 victory in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.

In the first semifinal game, the 19th-ranked Yellow Jackets trailed by 19 points in the opening half, but continually chipped away over the remainder of the contest, paving the way for a trip to the championship game with a 92-85 triumph over the No. 11 Tigers.

UCLA's 17-point first-half lead was reduced to 38-30 at the half. The Bruins lost their lead twice in the second half, but Mbah a Moute pulled them back even both times.

Mbah a Moute's biggest basket was a dunk following a steal by Darren Collison for a 69-65 edge with 27 seconds. Kentucky's Joe Crawford was responsible for that turnover since he mishandled the pass.

Arron Afflalo, who had 14 points, added a dunk 17 seconds later and two foul shots to secure the win.

The Bruins (3-0) will face the Yellow Jackets in the tournament championship game on Wednesday

Crawford scored 16 points and freshman Derrick Jasper added 12 for Kentucky (3-1), which shot 6-of-15 from the arc.

A 3-pointer by Crawford with 11:50 left drew the Wildcats even at 48-48, erasing a 17-point deficit. Nearly 1 1/2 minutes later, Jasper added a free throw to give Kentucky its first lead of the contest.

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