Nov. 27, 2004
LOS ANGELES (AP) -Aaron Afflalo scored four of his 14 points in the final 3:03 and Dijon Thompson clinched it with three free throws with 52 seconds left to help UCLA held off stubborn UC Irvine 76-65 on Saturday.
Thompson and Jordan Farmar also has 14 points each for UCLA, off to its first 3-0 start since 1999-00. Center Michael Fay scored all 13 of his points in the first half.
The Bruins' three victories have come against teams that were a combined 26-62 last season. A win Tuesday night against Long Beach State at Pauley Pavilion would give the Bruins their first 4-0 start since 1994-95, when they won their first six games, finished 31-1 under coach Jim Harrick and captured their 11th NCAA championship.
Aaron Fitzgerald scored 17 points for Irvine (1-2). The Anteaters are 9-27 against Pac-10 teams and haven't beaten anyone from that conference since a 65-55 victory at Washington on Dec. 28, 2000.
Irvine's Jeff Gloger, who played 14 scoreless minutes in the first half, scored 11 points in the second half. He opened the final 20 minutes with a 15-footer and a driving layup before the Anteaters narrowed the gap to 52-49 with 8:58 remaining on consecutive jumpers by Gloger, Schraeder and Shamar Armstrong.
But UCLA responded with a 12-4 run that restored their double-digit margin to 64-53 with 5:16 left. Thompson made a 3-pointer, Brian Morrison barely beat the shot clock with another 3, and Farmar's fast-break layup ended a string of eight straight Bruins points to cap the rally.
Irvine (1-2) held the lead only once - after Ross Schraeder opened the scoring with an 18-foot jumper that just beat the shot clock 38 seconds after the opening tip. UCLA led 40-18 at halftime after Farmar made a nice fake on Fitzgerald and hit a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds on the clock, restoring the Bruins' biggest lead of the half.
The Bruins, who had committed 40 turnovers in the first two games made just three before intermission. The Anteaters committed eight turnovers in the first half and shot 43 percent, including 2-for-10 from 3-point range.