Bruins Batter Tigers 59-45, Claim Spot In Championship Game
April 1, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Oh, Baby, can UCLA play defense.
Throw some offense in there on the same night and not even LSU and its gigantic star, Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, had a chance. The Bruins shut him down Saturday en route to a 59-45 victory over the Tigers that put them one win away from their 12th national title.
The last step in the quest to hang another banner at Pauley Pavilion comes Monday in the final against Florida, a 73-58 winner over George Mason in the first semifinal.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was UCLA's top performer in this one, finishing with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting, to go with nine rebounds. But he got plenty of help.
Lorenzo Mata dominated the middle, capping Davis at least twice, sending him to the floor a few other times and generally driving him nuts. LSU's 6-foot-9, 310-pound star - arguably the most entertaining character in this tournament - didn't look so big in this one.
He shot 5-for-17, finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and was serenaded with chants of 'Ba-by, Ba-by' by the UCLA fans after he took a frustration foul on Bruins guard Darren Collison early in the second half, trailing by 23.
Bruins forward Alfred Aboya set the tone early in the first half when he swatted Darrel Mitchell's shot into the stands, then glowered at Mitchell as he fell to the floor. A few minutes later, Mbah A Moute stepped into an LSU passing lane for a steal that led to a bucket for Collison.
On offense, the Bruins (32-6) were just as good, especially early. They made three of their first four 3-pointers and shot 58 percent in the first half to push their lead to as many as 16, 3 1/2 minutes before the break.
The start of the second half put it out of reach.
Mbah A Moute dunked twice, Ryan Hollins took an alley-oop from Jordan Farmar for another slam, then Farmar threw one up from 28 feet with the shot clock going off and swished it for a 48-27 lead. He celebrated by taunting the LSU fans as he ran to the other end. Most of the purple-and-gold crowd simply sat there stoically - they knew a mismatch when they saw one.