Afflalo helps UCLA hold off late Temple rally

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bring on the Big Apple. UCLA is on its way out of the doldrums and headed to a prominent date in New York.

Arron Afflalo scored 18 points and the 18th-ranked Bruins (No. 18 AP, No. 19 ESPN/USA Today) squelched Temple's second-half surge for a 54-47 victory in a second-round Preseason NIT game Thursday night.

The Bruins (2-0) advanced to next Wednesday's semifinals at Madison Square Garden. They'll play Memphis, an 87-76 winner over Alabama. The Bruins last reached the semifinals in 1992, losing to Seton Hall.

"We're very excited," Afflalo said. "We deserve it. We're hungry."

He scored a career-high 23 points in a first-round victory over New Mexico State on Tuesday, when the Bruins had 80 points.

The Owls (1-1) were led by Mardy Collins with 15 points.

Temple hasn't lost since 1995 when it holds opponents under 50 points, and the Bruins didn't clear that mark until the game's final three minutes. It was their fewest points since a 64-51 loss to California in January.

UCLA controlled the boards, 42-29, including a career-high 10 by freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute from Cameroon. Senior Cedric Bozeman had 11 points and nine rebounds.

"I've never been to New York," he said. "The only thing I know about New York is big buildings and a nice city."

UCLA's guards, 6-foot-2 Jordan Farmar and 6-foot freshman Darren Collison, handled Temple's bigger trio of the 6-foot-6 Collins, 6-5 Dustin Salisbery and 6-5 Mark Tyndale, who combined for five points in the first half. Collins was coming off an 18-point effort
Tuesday against Army.

Tyndale finished with six points and Salisbery went scoreless.

"We didn't shoot the ball all that well," Temple coach John Chaney said. "We used a lot of young kids and they don't know all of our plays. We had to use a lot of zone because UCLA likes to run a lot, but we lost to a good team."

The Owls came out of halftime trailing by 15 and quickly got back into the game with a 19-9 run to start the second. Collins scored nine points as Temple trailed 42-37 with 9:18 remaining.

The Bruins, who solved Temple's zone so well in the first half, struggled against it later on.

"Coach had us try to replicate that zone twice as hard as they would play," Afflalo said. "We're a young team. We had a small letdown, but it's something we can work on."

Tyndale scored on a layin, Dionte Christmas hit a 3-pointer and Collins made two free throws to get within three points with 5:46 remaining.

But that was it for the Owls.

UCLA excited the crowd on a huge dunk by Ryan Hollins, who also made two free throws, keeping the Bruins ahead 51-44. Temple didn't score a field goal in the final 6:53.

"We weren't tired," Collins said. "We just dug ourselves a hole in the first half, but we played well in the second half. UCLA is really a good team and we held our own."

Tyndale's jumper tied the game at 14 before the Bruins closed the first half with a 19-4 run to lead 33-18. Afflalo started and ended the spurt with 3-pointers and scored four points in between.

Both teams shot poorly in the first half, with the Owls hitting 21 percent to UCLA's 38 percent.

"Our defense was outstanding," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We did a great job going to the boards, which was huge. We got tentative in the second half and weren't nearly as good attacking the zone."

Playing UCLA for the first time since 1987, the Owls had one day to travel to the West Coast after beating Army in the first round, Chaney's 500th victory as Temple coach and 725th overall in his Hall of Fame career.

"I gave them enough time to rest," he said. "I've never used that as an excuse. Of course, I'd rather play them at home."

UCLA center Michael Fey left the game with a left shoulder sprain and was scheduled for an MRI. He has been bothered by a severe groin strain the last five weeks. Farmar sprained his right ankle and was to get an X-ray after the game.