Sunday , Apr , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Bruins dominate Tigers to advance to NCAA championship

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 17
points and grabbed nine rebounds, as the UCLA Bruins punched their ticket into
the national championship game after dominating the Louisiana State Tigers,
59-45, in a Final Four matchup at the RCA Dome.

Jordan Farmar netted 12 points for the Bruins (32-6), who extended the
nation’s longest current win streak to 12 games while advancing to the title
game for the first time since 1995. That’s also the last time UCLA won a
national championship.

“All I know is every time I step on the court, I give my best trying to play
as hard as I can, helping my team, helping me become a better player,” Mbah A
Moute said.

Arron Afflalo added nine points and six rebounds in the second-seeded
Bruins’ 16th Final Four appearance.

UCLA will meet Florida in Monday’s title game after the Gators defeated
darling George Mason, 73-58, earlier Saturday. The Bruins will be seeking
their 12th NCAA title.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis paced the Tigers (27-9) with 14 points while
pulling down seven rebounds, but he shot just 5-of-17 from the floor while
Tasmin Mitchell added 12 points in the loss.

“We tried to do some good things,” Davis said. “But, you know, it just didn’t
go our way today. You know, that’s how it happens, man. This is basketball.
It’s so unpredictable.”

Darrel Mitchell contributed eight points for fourth-seeded LSU, which was
playing in its first Final Four contest since the school made it as an 11th
seed in 1986.

After defeating Iona and Texas A&M earlier in the NCAA Tournament, LSU downed
both top-seeded Duke and second-seeded Texas to reach the tourney’s semis.
However, the Tigers fell to 0-4 all-time in the Final Four.

LSU has also lost all eight of its meetings with UCLA.

UCLA shot a blistering 58.3 percent from the floor in the first half to LSU’s
30 percent.

“We beat a very good team tonight, an outstanding team,” Bruins head coach Ben
Howland said. “I thought our intensity defensively for the entire 40 minutes
was really, really incredible. That’s the best defense we’ve played all year.
We needed that to be able to beat a team as talented and as good as LSU.”

Down 2-0 early, a jumper from Ryan Hollins started a 12-2 Bruins run that set
the tone early. Afflalo capped the stretch, which spanned nearly 3 1/2
minutes, with a three-pointer with 15:24 left in the first half.

UCLA continued to roll in the opening 20 minutes as a small 8-2 run later gave
the Bruins a 20-8 edge with 11:29 to go as Cedric Bozeman ended the spurt
with a layup.

The Tigers got to within nine at 25-16 with 8:28 left in the first half after
a layup and free throw by Darrel Mitchell, but UCLA answered with six straight
to go up 31-16.

“I thought the first 10 or 12 minutes of the game, UCLA, they were able to get
us back on our heels,” said Tigers head coach John Brady. “We really weren’t
able to really recover from that or make up the deficit that we created for
ourselves or they created for us the first 10 or 12 minutes.”

Neither team went on a big run for the rest of the half and the Bruins led
39-24 at halftime. Mbah a Moute led all scorers at the break with 12 points.

The Bruins then put the game away quickly in the second half, opening up the
frame with an 11-3 run that lasted over seven minutes.

Mbah a Moute started the burst with two dunks, Hollins also converted a dunk
and Farmer hit both a three-pointer and a jumper, the latter making it a 50-27
game with 15:44 to play.

Tasmin Mitchell made it a 21-point contest after his layup with 12:47 to go,
but the Bruins led by as many as 24, 55-31, after a three-pointer by Michael
Roll.

“I never seen this coming,” Davis said of his team being dominated for most of
the game. “You know, I never seen this type of game coming, especially the
kind of team we are, the kind of character we have. But, you know, you never
say ‘never.’ They came out and they just punched us. We didn’t recover from
it.”

Surprisingly, LSU never got closer then 20 points until a layup by Davis with
just over 2 1/2 minutes remaining made it a 58-39 game.

Game Notes

Hollins finished with six points while Bozeman scored just four…Magnum Rolle
grabbed eight boards for LSU…The Bruins are making their 40th appearance in
the NCAA Tournament…UCLA shot 41.2 percent from the floor in the game while
LSU hit on 32 percent of its shots…The Bruins held the rebounding edge at
42-33…The Tigers hit just 46.4 percent of their free throws…This was the
first time these two schools met since 1994.

LSU UCLA