UCLA pounds Weber State
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) – Arron Afflalo posted 22 points and eight
rebounds, as the second-seeded UCLA Bruins rolled to a 70-42 rout of the
Big Sky Tournament champion Weber State Wildcats in the first round of the
NCAA Tournament from ARCO Arena.
UCLA will face Indiana, which downed Gonzaga 70-57 in the later matchup, in
the second round of the West bracket on Saturday.
Darren Collison, playing on a sprained ankle suffered during practice this
week, scored 14 points and dished out eight assists for the Bruins (27-5), who
once again were one of the top teams in the Pac-10 this year and won the
regular-season title for the second consecutive season. Josh Shipp added 12
points for UCLA, which was coming off a shocking loss to California in the
quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament.
“Collison did a terrific job today, coming off an ankle injury,” UCLA coach
Ben Howland said. “We’ve been blessed all year with good health with the
exception of him missing the West Virginia game. He played good defense, made
lots of good decisions and was effective on both ends of the floor.”
Dezmon Harris scored 10 points as the only player in double figures for the
Wildcats, who are just 6-15 in the Big Dance and made their first appearance
since 2003. David Patten netted nine points for the Wildcats.
“They were bigger than what I imagined,” Patten said. “They’re quick. The bigs
are big, their guards are quick, and wings are shooters. They have it all.”
The Bruins, who are one of the most notable schools in NCAA Tournament
history, have won 91 games in this event, which is second most, trailing
only Kentucky (99). UCLA has reached the Final Four 16 times and in those 16
appearances the Bruins have won 11 National Titles. Last year the Bruins fell
just short of making it 12 NCAA championships, as the team was downed by
Florida in the title game.
Ahead by one just past the midway point of the first half, UCLA blew the game
open on a 22-5 burst, finished by Afflalo’s layup with one tick left on the
clock for a comfortable 37-19 halftime lead.
“We have been struggling to get off to good starts, but we tried to be intense
and competitive from the get-go in this one,” Afflalo said. “I had put that
last game behind me. The guys did a great job of playing together. We had a
positive focus tonight.”
UCLA padded its lead down the second-half stretch on a 14-0 burst capped by an
Afflalo jumper midway through the stanza for a 67-33 lead, and cruised to the
easy first-round win.
The Wildcats headed into this event as the clear underdog to the far superior
Bruins, but have been known to post huge wins in the Big Dance. In 1995, the
Wildcats defeated Michigan State in the first round and in 1999 Weber State
disposed of North Carolina in the first game of the tournament.
UCLA shot 27-for-58 (46.6 percent) from the floor, while Weber State went 13-
for-38 (34.2 percent)…The Bruins controlled the glass, outrebounding the
Wildcats 35-26…The only meeting between these two schools on the hardwood
took place back in 1972. The setting for that matchup was similar, as the
Bruins posted a convincing, 90-58 win over the Wildcats in the opening round
of the NCAA Tournament…UCLA head coach Ben Howland is a graduate of Weber