UCLA Clinches Pac-10 Title With Win Over Washington State, 53-45

March 1, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -Arron Afflalo scored 14 points to help No. 2 UCLA beat No. 13 Washington State 53-45 on Thursday night to wrap up its second consecutive Pac-10 title.

UCLA (26-3, 15-2) had already clinched at least a tie with WSU and the top seed in the tournament before Thursday night's victory.

Kyle Weaver scored 14 points for Washington State (23-6, 12-5), which saw its hopes for the first Pac-10 title in its history end.

After trailing by one at the half, the Bruins made 11 of their first 14 shots to open the second half and pulled away from the Cougars in a game matching the top two defenses in the conference

UCLA scored the first nine points of the second half on two baskets by Josh Shipp, one by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a 3-pointer by Afflalo for a 31-23 lead.

Washington State missed its first six shots of the second half and did not score until Aron Baynes made two free throws with 16:06 left. The Cougars made just one field goal in the first 7 minutes of the second half.

Darren Collison's jumper gave UCLA a 45-35 lead midway through the second half.

Washington State scored six straight, with Robbie Cowgill's short jumper cutting the UCLA lead to 47-43 with 3:25 left. But Moute replied immediately with a basket for the Bruins.

Baynes' layup cut UCLA's lead to 49-45 with 2:35 left. But Shipp iced the game from the foul line.

Shipp finished with 12 points for the Bruins, who shot 51 percent in the game and held Washington State to 37 percent. The Cougars made just 8-of-28 from the field in the second half.

The Bruins have won five straight since a loss at West Virginia.

In the first, UCLA made its first five shots to take an 11-4 lead. Cowgill's slam for WSU tied the game at 16 with 5:56 left.

Daven Harmeling's 3-pointer, the only one of the game on 10 attempts for WSU, gave the Cougars a 23-22 lead with 28 seconds left, and that was the halftime score.

Washington State, which leads the conference with only nine turnovers per game, committed 10 turnovers in the first half and 14 in the game.

The Bruins lead the series 91-13, winning 12 in a row in Pullman.

Before the game, WSU presented retired basketball coach Dick Bennett with an honorary alumnus award for the three years he spent rebuilding the problem before turning it over to his son Tony this year.

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