Collison, UCLA pick off IndianaMar 18, 2007 - 7:45 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- After needing 35 minutes to find its offense, Indiana threw away its season in one second.
Darren Collison stole an errant pass and hit a pair of clutch free throws as No. 2 seed UCLA labored past seventh-seeded Indiana in an NCAA Tournament second-round game in the West Region.
Prevailing in one of the ugliest games in its rich tournament history, UCLA (28-5) moves on to play third-seeded Pittsburgh in Thursday's third round in what promises to be another defensive struggle.
With the Bruins clinging to a two-point lead with 29 seconds to play, Lance Stemler tried to lead Earl Calloway with an inbound pass and threw it right to Collison, who was immediately fouled.
After Collison made both from the stripe, Roderick Wilmont heaved up an off-balance 3-pointer with two defenders around him to send UCLA into the regional semifinals for the fifth time in eight seasons.
"(Calloway) was running toward the ball, the ball was outletted a little too far and I just took it," Collison said. "I was anticipating it the whole time."
"If I could do it all over again I just wouldn't have led Earl as much as I did," Stemler said. "I had to get it out and get it around the defender who had tipped my last two. I just led him too far." Collison scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and gave the Bruins what seemed to be an insurmountable 46-33 lead with 5:57 to play.
Averaging less than a point a minute to that juncture, the Hoosiers hardly appeared capable of a comeback until they suddenly discovered their touch from outside.
"It was frustrating offensively the first half, especially when we just couldn't make a basket," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Shots were going in and out, not a lot of things going our way. UCLA took it to us to start the second half but we came back. We kept attacking.
"I liked the shots we were getting, we just weren't making them. In the second half we started attacking a little better and knocked some shots down."
Stemler sandwiched 3-pointers around one by Wilmont in a 10-0 burst that closed the deficit to 46-43 with 2:36 left.
"Everytime we came out of the huddle, we just said 'believe,'" Stemler said.
Indiana finally drew even at 49-49 on Calloway's drive down the lane with 59 seconds remaining, but Arron Afflalo answered with a pair of go-ahead foul shots with 38 ticks to go before Collison wrapped it up.
"Actually I'm happy to see how we continue to get through obstacles and poor shooting," Afflalo said. "Obviously I take the most shots on the team so when I'm not shooting well opportunities are going to be down as a team. But the guys do a great job and they still trust me at the end of the game and that's what most important."
D.J. White had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots and Calloway added 12 for Indiana, which failed to advance beyond the second round in its last three NCAA appearances.
"He played with intensity, as you can see - blocked shots, career high in rebounds," Calloway said of White. "He played like a man. He stepped up and helped us."
The first half was forgettable as the Bruins forged a 20-13 lead at the break despite shooting 27 percent (7-of-26). They were helped by Indiana's 18-percent effort (5-of-28) that included missing all eight attempts from the arc.
Now the Bruins gear up for a matchup with Pittsburgh, where Howland previously coached before taking the job at UCLA.
"I go back and have so many great memories of Pittsburgh," Howland said. "I would have never left. There was only one job I was ever going to leave for, and that was UCLA."
- WEST REGIONAL
AT SACRAMENTO CA
NCAA BB WEST REGIONAL
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
INDIANA 13 36 49
UCLA 20 34 54 FINAL
Mar 17 10:58 PM
- WEST REGIONAL
AT SACRAMENTO CA
NCAA BB (7) INDIANA 13
(2) UCLA 20 HALFTIME
Mar 17 9:33 PM
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