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Love, UCLA hold off pesky California

Jan 6, 2008 - 4:52 AM BERKELEY, California (Ticker) -- Fifth-ranked UCLA relied on a simple formula to hold off California: Kevin Love and a stiffling defense.

Love scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Bruins to a 70-58 victory over the Golden Bears in a Pac-10 Conference contest on Saturday.

Darren Collison added 14 points and Josh Shipp chipped in 13 for UCLA (14-1, 2-0 Pac-10), which posted its eighth straight win.

"Darren (Collison) had one of his best games with 14 and five (assists) and Kevin Love played like a man with 19 points and 14 rebounds," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We had a lot of guys play well today, and we needed it."

"Obviously, Collison and Shipp are their perimeter guys who can make huge shots," California coach Ben Braun said. "And they made big shots for their team. There was a sequence under our basket where Love went up and kept the ball alive, must have been three or four times, and finally gets a tip-in. That's a strong will, that's not just a strong body."

The freshman Love was silent in the second half, scoring just six points, but Shipp and Collison picked up the slack to help the Bruins to their second straight road conference victory.

UCLA, which entered the game fifth in the nation in scoring defense at 54.7 points per game, held the Bears to 36 percent (21-of-58) from the floor.

"This was a great, great win for us today," Howland said. "We played so well defensively. Held Cal to 36 percent shooting. The defense really gave us a chance today."

UCLA exacted a measure of revenge for a loss to California (10-3, 1-1) in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament last season. It was a setback that may have cost the Bruins a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Love and company came out strong with a 16-6 run to open the game and led, 36-25, after 20 minutes.

But California put up a valiant fight. It opened the second half on an 11-2 run to pull within 38-36 on a three-point play by DeVon Hardin with 14:15 to play.

However, that was as close as the Bears would get. Russell Westbrook hit a pair of jumpers during an 8-3 spurt that gave the Bruins a 46-39 lead with 10:41 to play.

"They made a run and cut it to two, but we showed our experience and composure," Howland said. "To open the conference with two wins on the road is big. I think both Stanford and Cal are NCAA teams. Both teams will be difficult to beat, home or away."

The teams then traded baskets until a huge momentum swing occurred.

The turning point in the game came after a missed 3-pointer by Nikola Knezevic with UCLA holding a 50-45 lead. The Bruins started a fastbreak after the miss and Shipp was grabbed by Patrick Christopher while trying to convert a layup.

An intentional foul was called and Shipp hit both free throws, then hit a jumper on the ensuing possession for a 56-45 lead with 5:49 remaining.

The Bruins continued to pull away, expanding the lead to 15 on a pair of free throws by Love with 28 seconds left.

Ryan Anderson scored 12 points and Christopher added 11 for the Bears, who beat Southern California in their conference opener on Thursday.

The Bruins' defense held the Bears, who lead the Pac-10 with 229 assists, to just 12 while forcing them into 12 turnovers.

"Defensively, our doubles were really good," Howland said. "And we had good ball pressure. Everybody has to work together. We just really came out focused on the defensive end."

"We really didn't do as good a job as we should," said Braun of the low assist total. ... We've got to really spread the floor and do a better job."

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    UCLA (5) 36 34 70

    Jan 5 8:01 PM

    (5) UCLA 36

    Jan 5 6:53 PM
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    noble1557 Added 5 roots

    UCLA(5) vs. CaliforniaDec 17 4:03 AM