Feb. 24, 2007
UCLA-Stanford Post Game Recap
Coach Ben Howland addresses the media and junior center Lorenzo Mata speaks with UCLA All-Access reporter Jeff Siegel following the Bruins' 75-61 victory over Stanford Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion. Click the link below to view this exclusive UCLA All-Access post game video package.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Only Arron Afflalo knows whether he has played his final home game at UCLA, and he isn't telling.
Afflalo scored 20 points, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 11 and the fourth-ranked Bruins defeated Stanford 75-61 to close out their first undefeated home season in 32 years Saturday.
In the final seconds, 12,001 fans chanted "One more year!" at Afflalo, a junior who entered the NBA draft last April before withdrawing.
"I heard them," he said, smiling. "It's good to have that support and I appreciate it. I'm just happy to be in the moment right now."
And there was several important moments Saturday.
The Bruins (25-3, 14-2 Pac-10) clinched at least a share of the Pac-10 title for the second consecutive year. They wrap up the regular season next week at the Washington schools.
"It's only a share," Afflalo said. "You want to win outright and you do that by playing as hard as you can against the next team. We understand the importance of every game now."
UCLA is 20-0 at Pauley Pavilion dating to last season, including 16-0 this season. The 1974-75 team, which won coach John Wooden's 10th and final NCAA championship, also was perfect at home.
"That's exciting to go through the whole year and hold your home court," coach Ben Howland said. "It's hard to do. Everyone is coming in giving us their best shot."
This year's team, which had no seniors to honor at the last home game, became the 10th in school history to go undefeated in the arena's 41-year history. Among the previous nine, eight advanced to the Final Four and seven won the national championship.
Afflalo has spoken often of his desire to leave a mark at UCLA, and he helped do so on a day Wooden and members of the 1967 national championship team, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Warren, were honored at halftime.
"It's good to go undefeated at home," Afflalo said. "Our fans deserve it."
UCLA led all the way, although not by more than six points in the first half against a team that handed the Bruins one of their three road losses. In that defeat, UCLA blew a 17-point lead.
Stanford (17-10, 9-7) was led by Brook Lopez with 23 points and nine rebounds and Lawrence Hill added 13. The Cardinal, which had 16 turnovers, has lost four of six.
Guard Anthony Goods, who had 20 points in Stanford's earlier win over UCLA, missed his fourth consecutive game because of a high ankle sprain.
"I don't like to make excuses, but Anthony is important to our team," Cardinal coach Trent Johnson said. "We had some ill-advised turnovers. They (the Bruins) had a lot of energy."
UCLA stretched a three-point lead at the break into its largest lead of the game, 53-40, on a 17-7 run that opened the final 20 minutes. Afflalo launched the spurt with a 3-pointer, Mbah a Moute hit a 3 and dunked off Josh Shipp's steal before Russell Westbrook closed it out with a 3.
The Bruins' defense swarmed Stanford in the second half, and on one occasion when they lost the ball, they outhustled the Cardinal to grab it right back.
The Cardinal gained a bit of momentum with an 11-7 run that cut its deficit to 60-51 with 7:16 remaining. Robin Lopez, Brook's 7-foot twin, had four points in Stanford's only serious run of the half.
UCLA quickly pushed its lead back to double digits, getting 3-pointers from Michael Roll and Afflalo to stay ahead 69-56.
Stanford used a full-court press in the final three minutes, but the Bruins passed through it and moved the ball around to kill the clock, forcing the Cardinal to foul.