UCLA Sets Out to Defend Pac-10 Tournament Title

March 7, 2007


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DATE: March 8, 2007
SITE: Staples Center (Los Angeles)
TIP-OFF: 2:50 p.m. PST
TALENT: Barry Tompkins (play-by-play), Dan Belloumini (analyst)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play), Don MacLean (analyst)
WEB: www.uclaBruins.com

The 29-time conference champion UCLA Bruins look to defend their 2006 Pacific Life Pac-10 Conference Tournament title, entering as the top seed in 2007. The two previous times UCLA entered the Pac-10 Tournament as the number one seed (1987 and 2006), it went on to win the title. The Bruins sport an all-time record of 10-7 (.588) in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Bruins are looking to become the first team to repeat as Pac-10 Tournament champions for the first time since Arizona pulled off the feat in 1990, after defeating the Bruins 94-78 to win their third-straight Pac-10 Tournament title. Last year, UCLA breezed to the title, posting three wins by an average of 21 points a game. The top-seeded Bruins opened with a 79-47 win over eighth-seeded Oregon State in the Quarterfinals, then posted a 71-59 victory over fourth-seeded Arizona in the Semifinals. The Bruins defeated third-seeded California 71-52 in the Championship game.

UCLA is currently ranked third in the ESPN/USA Today poll and fourth in the Associated Press poll. Earlier this year, UCLA spent six weeks (Nov. 27-Jan. 1) ranked first in the AP poll and five weeks (Dec. 4-Jan. 1) atop the Coaches poll. UCLA has spent more time (134 weeks) at number one in the history of the AP poll than any other program.

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland won his 250th game in the 70-65 home win over 19th-ranked USC on Feb. 7, 2007. Howland, now in his 13th season as a Division I head coach, is averaging 19.6 wins per season with still more games to play in 2006-07. Equally impressive is the fact that he won his 200th victory just last year on Nov. 19 in a 56-37 home win over Delaware State.

UCLA ...
• Has won its second-straight Pacific-10 title and earned the No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament.
• Has completed the first true undefeated home season (16-0) since 1974-75 (32 seasons). The 1994-95 squad was 15-0 at home, but it included a forfeit win over California (after the Bruins originally lost the game 100-93).
• Has made 207 three-point field goals, which is third on the season list while the 554 attempts are third and the .374 percentage is sixth.
• UCLA averages 34.0 points and shoots .461 from the floor, .333 from three and .581 from the line in the first half of games. In the second half, it averages 38.6 points and is shooting .512 from the floor, .416 from three and .706 from the line.
• Has won 26 or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1974-75 (28-4, John Wooden's last season) and the 1975-76 season (28-3, Gene Bartow's first year).
• Is looking to become only the second school in Pac-10 Tournament history to win back-to-back Tournament titles (Arizona has done it twice, winning the 1988, 1989 and 1990 titles).

Arron Afflalo ...
• Junior guard Arron Afflalo has led the team in scoring in nine of the last 13 games and in 12 of the last 19 contests.
• Was the first Bruin since Ed O'Bannon (1995) to be named Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year (just the sixth time overall for UCLA).
• Has been selected first-team All-America by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, ESPN.com and by Dick Vitale.
• Also named to All-District 9 team by USBWA and District 9 Player of the Year, as well as Pac-10 Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.
• Has scored at least 20 points in six of his last 13 games and 10 times overall this year.
• His 77 three-pointers are sixth on UCLA's season list (needs 11 to pass Jason Kapono's 87 in 2002) and his 198 attempts are second, only to his 227 attempts a year ago.
• His 199 career three-pointers rank second, behind Jason Kapono's 317 from 2000-03.

Darren Collison ...
• Sophomore point guard Darren Collison has registered 42 assists and just 10 turnovers in his last six games for an assist to turnover ratio of 4.2 to one and an assist average of 7.0 assists per game.
• Was a first team All-Pac-10 selection in 2007 and has been named to the All-District 9 team by the USBWA and to the first team All-District 15 by the NABC.
• His 65 steals on the year are fifth on UCLA's season list and are three shy of moving into fourth place (Baron Davis, 68, 1999).
• Has led the team in assists in 24 of his 29 games and is averaging 7.8 assists in the last five games.
• Has 14 games of at least six assists and UCLA is 14-0 in those contests. Has scored in double figures in 23 of his 29 games.

Josh Shipp ...
• Sophomore guard/forward Josh Shipp scored 24 points at Arizona and 22 points vs. California, marking the first time in his career he has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games.
• Shipp was named to the honorable mention All-Pac-10 team in 2007.
• Shipp has shot 55.4 percent (31-for-46) from the field, 33.3 percent (5-for-15) from three-point range and 80.0 percent (12-for-15) from the free-throw line in the last five games while averaging 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game during that span.

Lorenzo Mata ...
• Junior center Lorenzo Mata has shot 66.7 percent (14-for-21) from the free-throw line in the last eight games and 70.6 percent (12-for-17) in the last five contests. Prior to the last eight games, Mata was shooting just 27.4 percent (17-for-62).
• Mata has scored in double figures in four of the last six games, including a streak of three consecutive games, the longest double-figure scoring streak of his career. Prior to the streak, he had never scored in double figures in back-to-back games.
• Has made 22 of his last 30 field goal attempts (.733) in the last seven games.
• In the last six games, he is averaging 9.0 points (54 points), 5.7 rebounds (34 boards) and 1.7 blocks (10 blocks).
• His .654 field goal percentage is currently fifth on UCLA's season list.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ...
• Sophomore forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has hauled in seven or more rebounds in eight of his last 10 games. He has led UCLA in rebounding in 19 games this season and in 52 contests in his young Bruin career.
• Mbah a Moute was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2007 after being selected the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2006.
• Has led the team in rebounding in seven of the last 10 games and in 19 of his 29 games this season. In two years, he has led the team in rebounding in 52 of 68 games.
• Has grabbed at least eight rebounds in 14 games and at least seven on 20 occasions this season.

Alfred Aboya ...
• Sophomore forward/center Alfred Aboya has made 20 of his last 27 field goal attempts (.741) in the last seven games.
• Is averaging 6.6 points (46) and 5.0 rebounds (35) in his last seven games and has at least five rebounds in four of those contests.

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