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Collison's second half helps UCLA pull away

Feb 8, 2008 - 7:58 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- UCLA continued its march towards a third straight Pac-10 title, while adding to Washington State's recent home woes.

Darren Collison had all 18 of his points in the second half and freshman Kevin Love had 16 points and nine rebounds as the fourth-ranked Bruins pulled away from No. 17 Washington State, 67-59, on Thursday.

Russell Westbrook chipped in 14 points for UCLA (21-2, 9-1 Pac-10), which won its fifth straight contest and 14 of 15 overall.

The Bruins, who swept the season series with the Cougars for the fourth straight campaign, also remained one game ahead of Stanford (8-2) in the conference after the ninth-ranked Cardinal defeated Oregon, 72-43, on Thursday.

The contest was tight throughout and, after being tied at 26-26 at the break, neither team had a lead bigger than three points for nearly 14 minutes to start the second half.

But Collison's 3-pointer gave UCLA the lead for good at 44-41 midway through the second half and the Bruins later used an 8-0 run - capped by a layup by Love - to take a 54-45 bulge with 4:42 left to play.

The Cougars (17-5, 5-5) could get no closer than five the rest of the way and suffered their third straight loss at home after opening the season 11-0 at Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.

Washington State, which started the season 14-0 before losing to UCLA, had been ranked as high as fourth in the nation and has now dropped into fifth place in the conference due to the recent skid.

A junior point guard, Collison went 5-of-8 from the floor in the second half - after missing all four attempts in the first - and made all seven of his free-throw attempts, helping UCLA pull away.

Love had six early points as UCLA led, 10-4, just over four minutes into the game before Washington State came back and eventually took the lead.

Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first half and, after the Cougars led by as many as four late in the half, Westbrook's dunk tied the game for the Bruins, 26-26, at the intermission.

UCLA outrebounded Washington State, 29-20, and the contest featured nine ties and nine lead changes.

Kyle Weaver had 13 points, leaving him two shy of 1,000 for his career, and Aron Baynes added 11 for Washington State, which is on its first three-game losing streak since dropping the last seven contests of the 2005-06 season.