for this game

Afflalo powers UCLA to rout of Weber State

Mar 16, 2007 - 9:21 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- UCLA missed out on a coveted No. 1 seed but its play was anything but second-rate.

Arron Afflalo scored 22 points and the second-seeded Bruins breezed to a 70-42 victory over 15th-seeded Weber State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's West Region.

Losing its final two games likely cost UCLA (27-5) a top seed, but the Bruins looked in peak form in overmatching the Wildcats, holding them to a season low in points.

"That really doesn't matter. We can learn from our mistakes," Bruins point guard Darren Collison said of the two defeats prior to the tournament. "Those losses can be good for us. We grouped up and talked about things we need to work on. But none of those things matter. It's all about the next game on, because your next game could be your last."

UCLA, which lost to Florida in the national title game last season, will play seventh-seeded Indiana in Saturday's second round.

Wooden Award candidate Afflalo bounced back from a dismal last game, scoring 15 of his points in the opening 20 minutes to spark the Bruins to a 37-19 halftime cushion.

Afflalo had scored a season-low three points as UCLA was ousted by California in the Pac-10 Conference tournament quarterfinals.

"Early on I was just being aggressive and get into my rhythm a little bit," Afflalo said. "The entire team did a great job playing together and finding our stride as a team."

UCLA broke the game open with a 12-0 run in the first half as Michael Roll hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Collison scored on a pair of drives for a 27-14 lead with 4:20 left in the first half.

"We gave them a bunch of opportunities as far as second-chance points," Weber State's Dan Henry said. "I remember I missed a key box out to start that run, and it sort of snowballed from there. They got after it. They went on their run and we didn't really counter it with a run of our own.

"We were hanging on it, and then at that point when they went on that run, that's when they got away."

Getting five points from Afflalo, the Bruins used a 14-4 spurt to open a commanding 51-23 lead less than six minutes into the second half.

Weber State, the champions of the Big Sky tournament, ran off eight straight points to get within 20, only to see Josh Shipp answer with a pair of 3-pointers as UCLA hiked the margin to 63-33 with just under six minutes to play.

"It always feels good to win. We didn't have a whole lot of momentum coming into this tournament," Afflalo said. "But we won 26 games this year. We have a lot of experienced guys who know what it takes to win. It was a fresh start for us tonight and we did a good job."

Collison added 14 points and eight assists and Shipp had 12 for the Bruins, who were 10-of-21 from the arc.

"He did a terrific job today," UCLA coach Ben Howland said of Collison. "Very solid, played great defense - made a lot of good decisions. (He) really played well and effectively at both ends of the floor."

Dezmon Harris was the only player in double figures for the Wildcats, scoring 10 points. Big Sky Player of the Year David Patten was held to nine points on 1-of-4 shooting.

"(Games) like this, if you allow it, will do nothing but help your program," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "Playing the biggest, the best, the baddest, the best coaches. If I could draw up a blueprint for my team and how I want them to be, it's UCLA's team and what they do. We'll get better because of it."

    --- --- -----
    WEBER ST 19 23 42
    UCLA 37 33 70 FINAL

    Mar 15 9:21 PM

    NCAA BB (15) WEBER ST 19
    (2) UCLA 37 HALFTIME

    Mar 15 8:15 PM