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MVP Collison leads UCLA to Maui Invitational title

Nov 23, 2006 - 6:10 AM MAUI, Hawaii (Ticker) -- Darren Collison passed an early test of his skills as a point guard with flying colors.

Collison scored 15 points and handed out seven assists and fifth-ranked UCLA led practically throughout in an 88-73 victory over No. 19 Georgia Tech in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.

Having the enormous task of trying to replace Jordan Farmar, who quarterbacked the Bruins to the national championship game last season before becoming a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers as an underclassman, Collison has made the transition almost seamlessly.

The sophomore played a hand in UCLA's big first-half run, scoring five points and handing out two assists in a 26-10 spurt. The Bruins grabbed a 33-20 advantage with 8:22 left.

Sophomore Michael Roll also played a big roll in UCLA's strong start, scoring all 13 of his points in the first half. He finished 5-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers.

UCLA (4-0) led, 47-36, at intermission and extended the advantage to 58-40 by scoring 11 of the first 15 points of the second half. Collison hit a 3-pointer and Arron Afflalo added five points.

A team that starts three freshman and one sophomore, the Yellow Jackets (5-1) got no closer than 12 points thereafter.

Afflalo, the Pac-10 Preseason Player of the Year, scored 19 points and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 14 and seven rebounds for the Bruins, who shot 59 percent (31-of-53) from the field.

Lorenzo Mata added nine points and 10 rebounds and Josh Shipp, who missed the majority of last season due to complications from offseason hip surgery, netted nine for UCLA, which scored 23 points off 16 turnovers by Georgia Tech.

The one major blemish for the Bruins was at the foul line, where they made just 58 percent (18-of-31).

Freshman Javaris Crittenton scored 21 points for Georgia Tech, which had its reserves outscored, 22-12.

Fellow freshman starters Thaddeus Young and Zach Peacock added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Yellow Jackets, who shot 43 percent (24-of-56).






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