Top Ranked UCLA Holds Off No. 6 Texas A&M, 65-62

Dec. 9, 2006

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -No. 1 UCLA survived its first serious challenge of the season with solid defense and the late scoring touch of Arron Afflalo.

Josh Shipp scored 18 points and Afflalo had eight of his 13 in the final nine minutes as the Bruins held off No. 6 Texas A&M 65-62 on Saturday in the John R. Wooden Classic.

Darren Collison added 15 points, but had six of the 13 turnovers committed by the Bruins (8-0).

Acie Law scored 21 points for Texas A&M (7-2), which controlled the boards 34-23 and outshot UCLA in the second half. Dominique Kirk added 12 points for the Aggies and Joseph Jones had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Texas A&M came into the game leading the country in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 32.2 percent. Both teams shots 25-of-51 (49 percent).

Law's basket with 41 seconds remaining cut UCLA's lead to 63-60, and Collison stepped out of bounds near UCLA's bench, turning the ball over. But Jones missed what could have been a tying 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go.

The Aggies were forced to foul, and after struggling at the line the entire game, the Bruins got two from Collison for a 65-60 lead. Shipp was fouled and missed before Law's basket with two-tenths of a second left completed the scoring.

The last time UCLA and Texas A&M played, on Dec. 11, 1971, the Bruins won 117-53 in what stands as the worst loss in A&M history. The Aggies made it much closer this time, but couldn't spring the upset.

The Bruins led 33-27 at halftime, and extended their lead to nine points three times, the last on Lorenzo Mata's putback that made it 44-35.

Josh Carter's first basket of the game was a timely 3-pointer that drew the Aggies within two. Afflalo answered with a 3 - his first points of the second half - for a 52-47 lead.

Law scored twice in a row to cut UCLA's lead to 52-51, and a three-point play by Jones with 6:42 remaining tied the game at 54.

Afflalo got knocked down on a 3-point attempt, but typical of the Bruins' poor free throw shooting, he made just one free throw, putting the Bruins ahead for good.

Jones was called for a 3-second violation, but the Bruins didn't capitalize when Mata turned the ball over on the baseline. Law scored to draw the Aggies within one.

After Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored his second basket of the game for a 59-56 lead, Mata fouled out, leaving a critical hole inside.

The Aggies turned the ball over coming out of a timeout and Afflalo scored with 3 1/2 minutes left for a 61-56 lead.

Texas A&M wasted another possession on a shot-clock violation, and Collison scored inside to keep the Bruins ahead by seven with 1 1/2 minutes to go.

UCLA forced 20 turnovers, but was just 8-of-16 from the foul line.

Neither team shot well in the first half, with the Bruins missing several open looks.

The Aggies took their first lead on three-point play by Donald Sloan with four minutes to go. The Bruins responded with a 6-0 run before Jones tied the game at 27.

Collison hit consecutive 3-pointers, including a wide-open one at the buzzer, to give UCLA its six-point lead at halftime.

Wooden received a standing ovation during a timeout late in the game, and the Aggies' bench joined in applauding the 96-year-old coach who led UCLA to 10 national championships in a 12-year span before retiring in 1975.

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