Cougars Take No. 1 Bruins To Brink Before Falling 55-52

Dec. 28, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Josh Shipp scored 14 points, Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo added 13 points each and No. 1 UCLA overcame Washington State's slowdown game for a 55-52 victory Thursday night in the Pac-10 opener for both teams.

Washington State (11-2) dropped to 0-25 all-time against top-ranked teams, including 0-17 against the Bruins.

Derrick Low led the Cougars with 14 points and Nikola Koprivica added 12, but missed a tying 3-pointer as time expired. Kyle Weaver had 10 rebounds.

UCLA's fifth consecutive win over Washington State didn't come easily after trailing by 10 points in the first half.

The Cougars' deliberate style frustrated the Bruins, who survived despite shooting 33 percent from the field. UCLA dominated the boards, 40-28, including 10 by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Neither team led by more than two points during a 6-minute stretch late in the second half until Collison hit his second 3-pointer for a 48-45 lead.

Afflalo turned the ball over, then fouled Weaver, causing UCLA to lose possession with 4 1/2 minutes left clinging to a one-point lead. But the Bruins caught a break when the Cougars lost the ball out of bounds.

Shipp's ensuing steal and layup, followed by a 3-pointer from Michael Roll extended UCLA's lead to 53-47 -- its largest of the game -- with 3:29 remaining.

Koprivica's 3-pointer got the Cougars to 53-50. The Bruins were called for a held ball, giving the Cougars possession and Ivory Clark dunked to make it 53-52.

Collison's layup rolled around the rim and out with 25 seconds left.

After a timeout, the Cougars worked the ball around to Low, whose 3-pointer fell short with 6 seconds left. Clark fouled Afflalo going for the rebound, and Afflalo made both to keep UCLA ahead 55-52 before Koprivica's long-range miss preserved the Bruins' winning streak.

A fastbreak layup by Low pushed the Cougars' lead to 35-26 early in the second half. But he soon picked up his third foul, and Afflalo and Collison teamed up to score 14 consecutive points for UCLA.

Afflalo hit two 3-pointers and Collison added eight points, including a long-range basket that gave the Bruins their first lead since the opening minutes of the game, 40-39.

The Bruins were flustered into putting up quick shots, seven of which were blocked in the first half. Collison thrives on getting out on the break, but he sat down with his third foul late in the half.

The Bruins were 8-of-29 from the field in the first half, when they trailed 28-24. Their final possession was indicative of how things went: Afflalo's shot was blocked and Russell Westbrook grabbed the offensive rebound but missed.

UCLA improved to 19-10 in Pac-10 openers since 1978-79, while the Cougars fell to 11-18.

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