Bruins Hold Off Arizona State, 69-60

Feb. 2, 2006

Box Score

LOS ANGELES (AP) - UCLA is playing catch-us-if-you-can in the Pac-10. Arizona State nearly did.

Jordan Farmar scored 18 points and Arron Afflalo added 17 to help the 14th-ranked Bruins win 69-60 Thursday night and remain alone atop the conference.

The Bruins (18-4, 8-2) didn't take their first double-digit lead until Afflalo hit a jumper with 2:39 remaining.

"This team is still capable of a lot more," he said.

UCLA has a one-game lead over California and Stanford, who both won Thursday, and two games over Arizona, which lost at Southern California.

"Every game is a chance for us to put it away," Farmar said. "Nobody can catch us if we don't lose anymore."

The Sun Devils (7-12, 1-9) dropped their fourth in a row. Bryson Krueger led them with 14 points and Antwi Atuahene added 12. Their leading scorer, Kevin Kruger, was held to eight against Afflalo's defense.

"Our effort was there," ASU coach Rob Evans said. "Just too many turnovers and not enough stops late in the game."

Afflalo broke out of his shooting slump with the most 3-pointers (two) and field goals (five) he's had since playing Washington on Jan. 14. He also had six defensive rebounds, two steals and made 5-of-6 free throws.

"I have a lot of respect for Afflalo," Evans said. "He hit some critical baskets in the second half. We let him get away."

Last month, the Bruins escaped with a 1-point victory in Tempe on two late baskets by Farmar. This time, he did his damage in the first half with 15 points.

"I was just looking to be aggressive," he said. "I was more interested in getting my teammates the ball. We were saying in the huddle, 'Let's just put this away.' They're a very scrappy team, but we made some mental mistakes."

Arizona State trailed 50-46 when the Bruins went on a 19-14 run to end the game. Afflalo scored seven in a row and Cedric Bozeman beat the shot clock buzzer with a 3-pointer before repeated trips to the free-throw line.

Bozeman is still working his way back after missing eight games with an injured left shoulder. The fifth-year senior had 10 points, four assists and two steals.

"Having Ced in the lineup is huge," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Without Ced, it's a problem for us. He's even-keeled with his emotions and being able to keep things under control out there."

The Sun Devils briefly closed within three on two free throws by Serge Angounou. But freshman Michael Roll rescued UCLA with a 3-pointer that bounced out, then in before the game-ending run that was fueled by 61 percent field-goal shooting in the half.

UCLA center Michael Fey returned for the first time since playing a minute against Washington on Jan. 14. He had missed most of the previous 10 games because of groin, shoulder and ankle injuries. He had two points and two rebounds in one minute.

The Bruins never led by more than eight points in the first half, when Farmar scored 15. Arizona State outscored UCLA 8-3 to end the half trailing 32-30 after leading by four in the opening minutes.

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