Thursday , Mar , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Beavers try to upset Bruins in Pac-10 Tournament tilt

=== Beavers try to upset Bruins in Pac-10 Tournament tilt ===

(Sports Network) – The top-seeded and 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins make their
first appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament this evening, when they take on the
ninth-seeded Oregon State Beavers in the quarterfinal round. The winner
will square off against either Stanford or Arizona in the semifinal round on
Friday. With four straight wins to close out the regular season, the Bruins
were able to capture their first Pac-10 title in nine years with a 14-4
finish. It is the eighth league crown overall by UCLA, which has also
posted a 20-plus win season (24-6) for the 42nd time in school history and
the first time since 2001-02. This is the second time the Bruins have been
the top seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. The last time UCLA was seeded first
was when it won the inaugural event back in 1987. It is the only Pac-10
Tournament title for the Bruins, who are even 7-7 all-time in this event.

As for Oregon State, it finished 5-13 in league play during the regular
season and because of that it was forced to play an opening-round game. The
Beavers posted a 71-68 win over eighth-seeded Arizona State on Wednesday to
improve to 5-6 all-time in this event. OSU is one of five current Pac-10
members to have never won this tourney. With regard to the all-time series,
UCLA owns a 78-33 advantage, including a pair of wins during the regular
season.

Oregon State connected on 46.8 percent of its shots from the floor and
converted 9-of-13 free-throw attempts en route to a three-point win over
Arizona State on Wednesday. The team also won the battle on the boards, 34-23,
including a 14-7 edge on the offensive glass. Kyle Jeffers led the Beavers
with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Stephens added 14 points. The
team, however, was dealt another blow in the win, as leading scorer Sasa Cuic
(13.5 ppg) suffered an ankle injury early on and never returned. Cuic’s status
is unknown for this game and if he can’t go he will join Nick DeWitz (11.6
ppg), who dislocated his shoulder in the second-to-last game of the season, on
the sideline.

At 11.7 ppg, Stephens is the only remaining player on the roster currently
averaging in double figures for the Beavers. As a team, OSU is averaging
66.5 ppg this season, although it is giving up a slightly higher 69.7 ppg.

The Bruins’ success this season can be attributed to their tenacious defense,
as they are holding their opponents to mere 59.8 ppg and just 42.5 percent
shooting from the floor. At the other end of the court, UCLA is turning in
68.1 ppg behind a solid 47.7 percent shooting from the field. Arron Afflalo
currently leads the team in scoring with 17.1 ppg and he is also grabbing 4.5
rpg and shooting 36.6 percent from behind the arc. Jordan Farmar adds 14.0 ppg
and 31 steals for the Bruins, and has also been in charge of running the
offense with a team-high 5.5 apg to his credit. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has
provided the team with a presence in the low post and is contributing 11.3 ppg
and a club-best 8.4 rpg. He is also shooting 52.9 percent from the floor, as
he earned the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award.

OREGONST UCLA