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Balanced attack, outside shooting carries UCLA

Feb 29, 2008 - 7:05 AM By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Freshman sensation Kevin Love had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Darren Collison added 17 points to lead fourth-ranked UCLA past Arizona State, 70-49, in Pac-10 Conference action Thursday.

Josh Shipp also scored 17 points for UCLA, which shot 10-of-20 from the arc and has now defeated Arizona State in eight straight contests.

With the win, UCLA (25-3, 13-2 Pac-10) maintained its one-game lead over Stanford (12-3) for first place in the Pac-10.

In a slow-paced first half, the score was tied at 11-11 with 7:23 left before the Bruins took over.

"We really were struggling offensively in the first 10 minutes," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We finally got into a flow and what started it for us was our defense."

Collison ignited an 18-7 run that closed the first half with five straight points and capped the spurt with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The junior guard had 12 of his points in the half, hitting 4-of-5 from the field, including all four attempts from the arc to help the Bruins to a 29-18 lead at the break.

"It was just a matter of time, we had to be patient against them in that zone," Collison said. "The majority of the game we were patient. We held our ground, played defense and did a good job of opening up with our threes."

Arizona State shot 7-of-21 (33 percent) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and the 18 points were a season low for the Sun Devils in the first half.

UCLA continued its defensive pressure and hit seven of its first eight shots after intermission, opening the second half with a 15-5 spurt en route to a 44-23 lead four minutes in. Shipp, who had missed 20 straight 3-point attempts entering the game, capped the run with a 3-pointer.

"I thought our team really did a good job defensively through the majority of the first half, if not for the entire first half," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "UCLA was able to open up the lead not so much on our defense but our offense. Then to start the second half our defense wasn't as good."

Shipp finished 4-of-8 from the arc and Collison made 5-of-6 to lead the Bruins' outside attack. The duo also combined for 13 assists and UCLA had 19 as a team on 24 field goals.

The young Sun Devils cut the lead to 14 on three different occasions - the last coming with 3:41 remaining - but could get no closer.

Led by Love's 12 rebounds, UCLA outrebounded Arizona State, 34-20, for the game. It was the 17th double-double of the season for the freshman and his 10th in his last 12 games.

"We kept on grinding it out and finally hit some 3-point shots," Love said. "That spread it out a bit and then I was able to get to the line. We kept the defense up and started controlling the boards, which were key."

Freshmen James Harden and Rihards Kusiks each scored 11 points for Arizona State, (17-10, 7-8) which has lost three of four and eight of its last 11 contests.