Bruins Bury Weber State In NCAA Opener, 70-42

March 15, 2007

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Arron Afflalo put an awful game behind him in UCLA's impressive NCAA tournament opener.

Shaking off a terrible performance in last week's Pac-10 tournament, Afflalo had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bruins to a 70-42 victory over Weber State on Thursday night in the West Regional.

Darren Collison scored 14 points while playing on a sprained ankle, and Josh Shipp added 12 for coach Ben Howland's second-seeded Bruins (27-5), who reached last season's national championship game before falling short of their 12th NCAA title.

But after spending six weeks of this season ranked No. 1, UCLA lost its previous two games before traveling to Arco Arena - including a humiliating loss to mediocre California in the conference tournament that cost them a chance at a No. 1 seed.

Afflalo, the conference player of the year, was particularly stung by the last loss because of the way he played: Scoring a season-low three points on 1-of-7 shooting, and later hanging his head in the locker room.

But Afflalo was back on his game as soon as he stepped on the floor where he led his Compton high school to a state title. He scored 15 points in the first half as UCLA rolled to an 18-point halftime lead on the overmatched Wildcats (20-12) of the Big Sky Conference.

Dezmon Harris led Weber State with 10 points.

One year after reaching the NCAA title game, UCLA again is a No. 2 seed out west - and once again, the Bruins won't have to leave California to reach the Final Four.

They'll face the winner of Indiana's game against Gonzaga - UCLA's foe in the West Regional final last year - on Saturday.

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