Post time: 11:07 p.m., Saturday
PHOENIX -- Darren Collison admitted he had to play smarter after he fouled out of UCLA's Sweet 16 game against Western Kentucky with 5:39 left to play. "That was the first time I've been fouled out -- ever," Collison said Friday. "It was a weird feeling. It was like I got benched real early in the game."
Saturday's 76-57 win over Xavier was a different story. Collison played 37 minutes, committed one foul, and tied with teammate Kevin Love for a game-high 19 points.
"I just wanted to make a statement," Collison said. "I felt like I let the team down a little bit [against Western Kentucky]. My coach told me good players don't have two bad games in a row."
The majority of the more than 18,000 fans at the U.S. Airways Center were behind Collison and the Bruins, with the "U-C-L-A" chants drowning out the chants of "Let's Go X." One Bruins bunch near the baseline kept booing the Xavier band. At one point, one member of the bunch shouted, "Go back to Cincinnati. Your city sucks."
The Xavier band went back to Cincinnati but not without some souvenirs they picked up Friday night back at the team hotel. A few band members had decorated white T-shirts they bought in Phoenix to read, "Mid-Major This" (with a big "X" in the middle). While hanging out on their hotel-room balcony, they talked to Musketeers forward Joe Hughes and guard Stephen Duckett, who were out on the balcony directly above them. The band members ended up getting the shirts signed by Hughes, guard Danté Jackson, guard Stanley Burrell and forward B.J. Raymond. Trombone player Kurt Westfall proudly draped his souvenir over the front of the band's section during the game. Said Westfall, "This is being framed."