Feb. 26, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - UCLA finished up its home season with a victory and immediately started looking ahead to its next game, one that could decide the Pac-10 title.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 14 points 10 rebounds to lead the 19th-ranked Bruins to a 70-53 victory over Oregon on Sunday that left UCLA tied for first place in the Pac-10 with California.
The Bruins and Golden Bears meet Thursday night in Berkeley.
"That's the focus now. We're the two teams atop the Pac-10 right now, so it's definitely going to be a pivotal game for us," UCLA's Aaron Afflalo said. "A few days of tough practices are really going to benefit us."
UCLA's four seniors - Cedric Bozeman, Michael Fey, Ryan Hollins and Janou Rubin - all started in their final home game along with point guard Jordan Farmar. Afflalo and Mbah a Moute came off the bench for the first time this season.
Afflalo scored all of his 14 points in the final 11 1/2 minutes, and Farmar had 11 points for UCLA (22-6, 12-4 Pac-10).
The Bruins, vying for their first Pac-10 title since 1996-97, finished 13-3 at home - their best record at Pauley Pavilion since going 15-1 in 1998-99 under Steve Lavin.
Aaron Brooks scored 19 points for Oregon (13-16, 7-10) in the 100th meeting between the Bruins and Ducks. Bryce Taylor missed his fifth straight game because of a hyperextended right knee.
The Bruins trailed Oregon 28-23 at halftime, but UCLA's Michael Roll hit consecutive 3-pointers to put the Bruins ahead 33-30 early in the second half.
"Roll hit two big threes that hurt us," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "It was a tale of two halves. We played a fantastic first half that was some of the best defense we have played, but we didn't have the legs in the second half and didn't match their intensity. I think we were worn down a little bit."
UCLA extended the margin to 46-34 as Mbah a Moute capped an 11-2 run with a putback of Farmar's missed jumper with 9:23 to play.
The Ducks got no closer than nine points on a 3-pointer by Brooks with 3:39 remaining and were swept in the season series by UCLA for the second straight season.
"We had a sense of urgency and a feeling that we had to get it done," Farmar said. "In the locker room at halftime, we were kind of looking at each other and trying to find a way to get it going.
"When we went on that little run, it forced them to come out of that zone defense and be more aggressive. That created openings, and we were able to capitalize on that."
Brooks scored the first seven points of a 16-6 run that helped Oregon go up 28-21 with 17 seconds left in the half.
"In the first half I don't think we were being as aggressive," Farmar said. "But in the second half, we were more aggressive and got stops on defense, so they couldn't set that up. We got a lot of stuff in transition, and that helped us a lot. It all starts with our defense and our intensity."
The game was played in front of a crowd that included seven players from the Bruins' 1968 NCAA championship team, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lucius Allen, Lynn Shackelford and Hill Street Blues actor Michael Warren.
The Bruins have beaten the Ducks 76 times in their 100 meetings. Oregon has won only five times against UCLA at Los Angeles in 50 games.