Jan. 12, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - So good was UCLA's first-half defense that the Bruins held Washington State to a season-low 17 points. They were lucky to escape at the end, though.
Arron Afflalo scored three of his 18 points in the final 28 seconds and No. 11 UCLA held off the Cougars 63-61 Thursday night for its 11th win in 12 games.
The Bruins (14-2, 4-1 Pac-10) beat the Cougars (9-4, 2-2) for the 48th time in 49 meetings in Los Angeles.
"This is a great win for us with all the adversity," UCLA coach Ben Howland said, noting injuries to seven players.
Josh Akognon, last week's Pac-10 player of the week, led Washington State with 25 points, all in the second half including a career-tying six 3-pointers.
"I tried to do it by myself in the first half, but that wasn't working," he said. "We just worked harder in the second half. I finally relied on my guys to get me open."
Trailing by 17 points, the Cougars outscored UCLA 22-7 to close to 58-56 with 1:15 remaining. Akognon did most of the damage, scoring 14 straight points, including four 3-pointers.
"It was kind of frustrating watching him bring his team back into it," Afflalo said. "He was doing a lot of moving and he had three guys screening for him. He was running free wherever he likes."
Afflalo scored inside to keep UCLA ahead 60-56 before Akognon made three free throws to cut Washington State's deficit to a point.
UCLA's Darren Collison dribbled the length of the court for a layin, making it 62-59 with 19 seconds to go. Afflalo then fouled Akognon, who made both to trail 62-61.
"That was a mistake," Howland said about the foul call. "He grabbed the ball away and the official saw the second part of the play."
The Cougars fouled Afflalo, who made the first and missed the second, giving Washington State another chance at the upset. But Kyle Weaver missed a layup at the buzzer.
"I played Arron too many minutes," Howland said. "He got really tired down the stretch and it showed."
The Bruins held the Cougars to 32 percent shooting in the first half. Washington State only scored nine points in the first 8 minutes.
UCLA built a double-digit lead midway through the half on a 3-pointer by Jordan Farmar. By halftime, the Bruins were up 31-17.
"UCLA's execution in the first half was a thing of beauty," Washington State coach Dick Bennett said. "Their screens, their cuts, their timing was perfect. In the second half, we made them earn it."
UCLA won without sophomore forward Josh Shipp, who found out Tuesday that he'll miss the rest of the season because of continuing pain in his right hip.
He averaged 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in UCLA's first four Pac-10 games after missing the first 11 games because of hip surgery in September. Freshman Michael Roll scored 10 points starting in place of Shipp.
Hollins has missed six straight games because of a strained groin, but is likely to return Saturday; Bozeman has yet to play a conference game because of torn cartilage in his left shoulder; and Fey has missed six in a row with a sprained right ankle.
Even the Bruins who played aren't all healthy. Afflalo sustained a left hip pointer last week against Arizona State; Farmar has been slowed by a right ankle sprain; and Lorenzo Mata, who fractured his nose against Arizona State, went down with 3 minutes remaining in a collision with Farmar. He injured his right knee and was scheduled to have an MRI late Thursday night.
Farmar and Mata collided going for the ball.
"We bumped knees and he got the worst of it," Farmar said.