February 21, 2007
Bruins Come Back Home
Following a very successful road trip to the Arizona schools last weekend, UCLA comes back to Pauley Pavilion for its final two home games of the season against the Bay Area schools. First up for the Bruins on Thursday evening are the Golden Bears of California. UCLA was able to easily win the previous meeting between the two schools this season, 62-46 in Berkeley on January 25th.
It was Berkeley's lowest scoring output of the season and the game featured a virtuoso performance from Bruin guard Arron Afflalo. The 6-foot-5 junior scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half while holding Cal's 2nd leading scorer, Ayinde Ubaka, to zero points on eight field goal attempts.
The game was something of a laugher following a slow start for the Bruins in the first half (remember that phase of the season?). UCLA cruised in the second session without much resistance from a team which is still short-handed following the losses of starting frontcourt players DeVon Hardin and Jordan Wilkes.
The loss dropped California to 12-8 overall and was the Bears' second defeat during a six game streak which saw them completely fall out of contention for an NCAA tournament berth. At this point, the team sits at 14-12 and still has a shot at an NIT bid, although they're going to have to do some work to reach that goal.
Ben Braun and company are coming off a home sweep of the Oregon schools, although considering the 2-6 slide the Ducks are currently on in their last eight, and the fact that 9th place Oregon State took the Bears to overtime on Saturday, the excitement over winning two straight is somewhat tempered.
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