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January 12, 2008
Love too much for Cougars to handle
The fifth-ranked Bruins knocked the No. 4 Cougars from the unbeaten ranks Saturday with an 81-74 victory led by freshman Kevin Love's eighth double-double of the season.
"I'd never seen anything like that," Love said about the Cougars' seven 3s in the final 1 1/2 minutes.
"Wow," marveled teammate Darren Collison.
Love had a career-high 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Collison added 18 points and the Bruins (16-1, 4-0 Pac-10) won their ninth in a row and seventh straight over the Cougars.
"For college, it's probably my best game overall," Love said.
Derrick Low scored 24 points after getting nothing in the first half for Washington State, which saw its best start in 91 years ended. The Cougars committed 13 turnovers, nine in the first half.
"Once you get in a little hole against a team as high-caliber as them, it's going to be tough," Low said. "They're what a championship team is. That's how we want to play."
The Cougars (14-1, 2-1) still have just one victory in 51 games at UCLA. They had lost the previous three meetings in Westwood by a combined eight points.
"We could not get stops," Washington State coach Tony Bennett said. "We pride ourselves in trying to get people to work for their shots and they got so many easy looks."
The Cougars made it close at the end with nine 3-pointers - five by Low - over the final 5:48. Most of the 3s were contested, but the Cougars' accuracy shocked the crowd of 12,590 and the Bruins.
"We were doing what we had to do in a situation that we didn't want to be in," said Taylor Rochestie, who had 13 points. "That's not how good teams win."
The Cougars called timeouts during their shooting spree.
"I told guys, `Nice flurry on the 3s, but don't lose the meaning of the message,"' Bennett said. "When it was really game time, we couldn't hang in there. If we're not really clicking, we're so vulnerable."
Washington State's 13 3s and 62 percent shooting from 3-point range were season highs. The 13 tied the school record for 3s in a Pac-10 game.
The Bruins held the Cougars off from the free throw line, where they were 17-of-21.
"As soon as you let up a little bit, the dam can break," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Fortunately, our free throw shooting was tremendous."
UCLA boosted its lead to 42-34 early in the second half on a wide-open 3-pointer by Love. He leaped and bumped bodies with Russell Westbrook in celebration going into a timeout.
The Cougars cut a 17-point deficit to 10 with 9:18 remaining, but Love ended that run. He scored inside, then grabbed the ball on the defensive end and sent a bounce pass to Josh Shipp, who was out in front. Shipp picked up the ball and sailed in for a one-handed dunk that got the crowd on its feet. Shipp finished with 14 points and Westbrook added 12.
Love canned two 3-pointers in the second half when he wasn't ripping down rebounds, scoring down low or setting screens on the perimeter.
Low hit consecutive 3-pointers that drew the Cougars to 57-49 with 5:14 remaining.
The Bruins answered again. Collison drove around Daven Harmeling and scored before falling into the basket support. He got up and made both free throws for a 61-49 lead.
UCLA dominated from the opening tip, running up a 26-8 lead, including eight in a row, before the shaky Cougars knew what hit them. Love had eight points, Shipp hit two 3-pointers and Westbrook scored six points and made some pinpoint passes in the spurt.
"How could you not be fired up for this game?" Shipp said. "Four and five, they're undefeated. If that isn't motivation, I don't know what is."
Both teams played man-to-man, but the Bruins were quicker and doubled in the post against Aussie big man Aron Baynes and his backup Harmeling. Baynes finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
"He looks like he's about to be in the Outdoors Games and chop down a tree," Love said about his 6-foot-10, 270-pound rival. "I had to box him out as much as I could."
Love single-handedly outrebounded the Cougars in the first half, grabbing eight to their seven.
Washington State starter Robbie Cowgill was scoreless in the half and finished with two.
The Cougars were 0-of-7 and had five turnovers before Rochestie got their first field goal at 11:24, leaving them trailing 16-6. Baynes went 4-of-6 from the line for their early points.
"We got to come out ready in an atmosphere like this," Low said. "You can't come out and be shocked by their defensive pressure. We were on our heels because they were so into us."
Washington State settled down after UCLA's opening run, outscoring the Bruins 14-9 to end the half trailing 35-22. Rochestie gave the Cougars a lift going into the locker room with a 3-pointer that barely beat the halftime buzzer.
Former UCLA stars Reggie Miller, Michael Warren and Sidney Wicks attended the game, but 97-year-old former coach John Wooden had a scheduled appearance that kept him away.