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UCLA outlasts Stanford

Feb 27, 2009 - 6:34 AM PALO ALTO, California (Ticker) -- Forty minutes proved a microcosm of UCLA's season on Thursday.

Alfred Aboya hit four huge free throws in the final 15 seconds as the 19th-ranked Bruins took turns being awful, excellent, mediocre and finally clutch in a 76-71 victory over Stanford in a Pac-10 clash.

UCLA (21-7, 10-5 Pac-10) trailed by 14 points in the first half, rallied to lead at the break and hung tough in a tight game before creating some space with a 6-0 run that created a 69-61 lead on a basket by Josh Shipp, who had 24 points, with 4 1/2 minutes left.

The Cardinal refused to go away, closing within 72-69 with a minute left on a dunk by Josh Owens and a pair for free throws by Landry Fields.

Aboya was then fouled and missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Stanford came down and Nikola Dragovic fouled Anthony Goods, an 80-percent free-throw shooter. Goods, who led Stanford with 18 points, was short on the first and crisp with the second to make it 72-70.

Aboya was wide-open underneath the basket after taking a feed from Darren Collison. He went up strong for the jam and hit the back of the rim. Fortunately for the Bruins, Aboya was fouled by Lawrence Hill on the play.

The native of Cameroon hit both free throws with 14 seconds left to make it 74-70. UCLA played tough defense on Stanford (15-11, 4-11) and Goods was bad from long range with time running out. Fields was fouled on the scramble for the rebound with 2.6 seconds left. He missed the first attempt from the stripe and coach Johnny Dawkins called a timeout.

Hill hit the second and Stanford fouled Aboya, who hit both foul shots to close out the Cardinal.

"Once we were able to get some easy baskets we picked up the intensity and made it hard for them to score," said Aboya, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half.

Shipp came up big in a game the Bruins needed to stay in the thick of the Pac-10 race.

"We knew coming in how important it was," said Shipp, who was 9-of-12 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. "Fortunately for me, I got hot early and was able to knock down some shots."

The Bruins next face California. UCLA, Cal and Arizona State are all tied for second place in the Pac-10, 1 1/2 games behind Washington.

"We have to win all our games," Collison said. "We want to go out the right way. We want to win our last four games."

It didn't look as if the Bruins were going to win this one as the Cardinal surged early and often.

Stanford sizzled at the start of the game, hitting its first seven shots and 10-of-11 en route to a 26-12 advantage.

Just when it seemed UCLA was going to be blown out of Maples Pavilion, the Bruins started to roll. A 9-0 run close the gap to 26-21.

"We felt like we were playing good 'D,'" Shipp said. "They just knocked down some tough shots."

The Bruins kept nibbling away at the Cardinal's advantage and eventually went into the break with a 37-35 advantage when freshman Drew Gordon hit a layup in the final minute.

"We tried to figure them out and control tempo as much as possible," Collison said.