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Bruins Get Caught With Guards Down

Farmar and Afflalo struggle and Washington holds on for a 70-67 victory and a rare sweep of UCLA.

February 12, 2006|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE — With only a few seconds to play Saturday afternoon at Bank of America Arena, the Washington Huskies led UCLA by three points.

But the 13th-ranked Bruins had the ball right where they wanted it, in the hands of guard Jordan Farmar. Standing just beyond the three-point arc, Farmar had all sorts of options. To his right was Darren Collison, open in the corner. To his left was Arron Afflalo, also open. In front of Farmar was the basket. But also in front of Farmar was 6-foot-6 Washington guard Brandon Roy.

Farmar elected to shoot. Poor choice.

The ball traveled only a few feet before one of Roy's long arms deflected it into the arms of fellow Husky Jon Brockman.

Game over, the Huskies holding on for a 70-67 victory to give Washington (18-5, 7-5 in Pacific 10 Conference) a sweep of the Bruins (20-5, 10-3) for the first time since the 1986-87 season. It was also Washington's third consecutive victory over UCLA, the first time the Huskies had done that to the Bruins since 1952.

"It was a street fight for 40 minutes," Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "UCLA made it that way."

Ultimately, it came down to the opposing backcourts. The final play was a microcosm of the game.

Farmar and Afflalo, who have carried UCLA to the top of the conference in a season in which the front court has often struggled, had a horrible game. The Washington backcourt, which faltered when the Huskies lost three in a row before this week, saved this one.

Farmar (two for 13 from the floor, including one for eight from behind the three-point line) and Afflalo were a combined four for 23 from the floor, including two for 13 from beyond the arc. Farmar was also guilty of seven of his team's 20 turnovers.

"It was myself and Jordan," Afflalo said in assessing the cause of the defeat. "Early in the season, we needed the big guys to come along. Now that they're coming along, as guards, we need to do our job."

Farmar, who has sprained his right ankle four times this season and his left ankle badly enough a week ago against Arizona to require a walking boot earlier in the week, admitted that he again aggravated his left ankle late in the first half Saturday.

Limping a bit as he came out of the locker room after the game, Farmar said, "I was kind of wobbly out there. I had to move gingerly."

No such problems affected Roy and Justin Dentmon, Washington's two starting guards. In addition to playing tight defense against Farmar, Roy had a game-high 20 points. Dentmon added 16.

Roy didn't exactly ignite the offense from the floor, connecting on only three of 11 shots. But he pushed the ball aggressively enough to earn 16 free throws and made 13 of them.

There were a lot of plays the Bruins could point to in explaining their first road loss of the season (not including neutral courts). There was a missed free throw by Collison with 9.2 seconds to play that would have tied the score, and there was a verbal confrontation between UCLA's Ryan Hollins and Washington's Ryan Appleby that forced the Bruins to use a timeout they subsequently needed at the end of the game.

The officials were also a factor, whistle after whistle reverberating through the arena all afternoon. In all, 54 fouls were called, 27 on each side. Hollins, playing one of his best games of the season with seven points and nine rebounds, fouled out with 11:54 to play. UCLA forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the team's leading rebounder, was limited to three minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. UCLA's Cedric Bozeman fouled out, as did Washington's Jamaal Williams.

In all, 10 players, five Bruins and five Huskies, were called for four or more fouls.

Neither coach was about to address the officiating afterward, but Romar was more than happy to talk about Roy. The 20 points were nice, but it was Roy's defense on Farmar that Romar focused on.

"We needed him to put the clamps on the best playmaker in our league, and one of the best playmakers in the country," Romar said. "And Brandon stepped up."

Especially on the last shot.

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