USC Drops Home Game to No. 4 UCLA in Closing Seconds, 65-64

Jan. 13, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) -Arron Afflalo hit a go-ahead jumper with 4 seconds left, Darren Collison scored a career-high 17 points and No. 4 UCLA rallied in the final 4 1/2 minutes to beat crosstown rival Southern California 65-64 Saturday.

USC's Gabe Pruitt and Nick Young hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the score at 63 with 22 seconds to go. Young was fouled and made the free throw for a 64-63 lead.

Afflalo's jumper put the Bruins back in front, 65-64. The Trojans brought the ball past midcourt under heavy pressure, but freshman Taj Gibson was being forced out of bounds as he tossed up a desperation shot that never had a chance.

Afflalo added 15 points and Lorenzo Mata 12 for UCLA.

The Bruins (15-1, 4-1 Pac-10) were coming off a 68-66 loss at Oregon that knocked them out of the No. 1 ranking.

The Trojans (13-5, 3-2) led 55-49 before going scoreless for nearly five minutes. UCLA ran off nine straight points and seemingly had the momentum.

Young finished with 14 points, Lodrick Stewart added 13 and Pruitt 10 for the Trojans, who fell to 3-2 against ranked opponents this season.

Young hit his tying 3 from the right baseline as Collison came flying at him. Young collapsed on the floor in joy, while Collison tossed up his arms in disgust at the foul call.

The first sellout crowd at USC's new Galen Center went wild, but Afflalo soon thwarted their enthusiasm. At the buzzer, Young bent down, his hands covering his face, and stayed in that position while the Bruins celebrated.

The Trojans twice led by 10 points in the second half, but the Bruins kept cutting into the lead. They stayed close on the shooting of Collison, who scored nine in a row, including back-to-back 3-pointers.

Afflalo, who opened the second half with consecutive 3-pointers, got fouled by USC freshman Daniel Hackett and made both for a 55-all tie with 4:38 remaining. Then Afflalo hit a 3-pointer to give UCLA its first lead of the half, 58-55.

Hackett's pesky defense on Afflalo held UCLA's leading scorer to two points in the first 20 minutes.

Mata, the Bruins' worst free throw shooter at 31 percent, made the first and missed the second to keep UCLA in front, 59-57, after a basket by Young.

Mata scored inside, then Stewart's jumper bounced off the rim to keep USC down 61-57. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute committed his fourth foul against Young, who missed the 1-and-1 attempt.

Mata scored on a cleanup of Collison's missed jumper for a 63-57 lead. After a timeout, Pruitt hit his second 3-pointer of the half to get within three.

Mata got fouled, but missed both free throws, then Young completed his four-point play that put the Trojans ahead by one.

The Trojans led much of the first half, with their largest lead eight points. Hampered by USC's tough defense, UCLA managed just two baskets in the opening eight minutes and shot 34 percent.

Hall of Famer Bill Sharman, who played at USC from 1947-50 and later starred on four NBA championship teams with the Boston Celtics, had his jersey retired at halftime.

Prior to the game, there was a moment of silence for USC kicker Mario Danelo, whose body was found last week down a rocky cliff in San Pedro.



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