February 8, 2007

Bruins Slide By Trojans Again

For a second consecutive game in the rivalry, UCLA found itself trailing the majority of the way only to take a late lead and hold on, sneaking past USC once more, 70-65 in front of a loud, sold out Pauley Pavilion crowd.

Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp scored 22 of their combined 25 points after halftime and most impressively shot 15-for-15 from the charity stripe in the second session in leading the Bruins to a win which gives them a bit of breathing room in the conference as they go out of the league this weekend at West Virginia.

Southern Cal was impressive on both ends of the floor on Wednesday, playing stifling defense while shooting a healthy 54 percent from the field on the offensive end. They jumped on the Bruins early and held a double-digit lead eight minutes in. Their execution on offense was impeccable and by using the one-on-one ability of future pros like Gabe Pruitt and Nick Young, Tim Floyd was able to break UCLA's stout defense down in the early going.

Another thing working against the Bruins in the opening minutes was that Darren Collison wasn't able to handle the terrific defense Pruitt played on him and once again he wasn't able to handle the zone look employed by the Trojans. Collison turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes of the game and was quickly yanked in favor of freshman Russell Westbrook.

The 6-foot-3 rookie made an immediate impact, attacking the zone and collecting three assists and one tough basket against no turnovers over the next five minutes of action.

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