No. 4 UCLA Rallies to Edge Arizona, 68-66
March 2, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Kevin Love had 24 points and 15 rebounds and No. 4 UCLA hung on to defeat Arizona 68-66 on Sunday, the Bruins' seventh straight victory over the Wildcats.
The Bruins led by six points with 90 seconds to go, but had to withstand a last-second shot by Jerryd Bayless, which came up short.
UCLA also blew an 11-point first half lead and fell behind 47-43 early in the second half. But the Bruins rallied behind Love, who scored 15 points after intermission and had his 18th double-double.
Love scored seven straight points late in the second half, capping the spurt with a three-point play that gave UCLA a 65-61 lead with 3:18 to go.
But Love turned the ball over in the final minute, and the Wildcats pulled within 67-65 on Bayless' drive with 50 seconds left.
After Russell Westbrook made 1-of-2 free throws with 14 seconds left, Bayless passed up a potential tying 3-pointer and drove to the basket.
He was fouled by Love. Bayless made the first free throw and missed the second, but the Bruins knocked the ball out of bounds with 5 seconds to play, giving the Wildcats one last shot. Bayless' off-balance shot at the buzzer came up short.
UCLA (26-3, 14-2 Pac-10), remained one game ahead of No. 8 Stanford in the Pac-10 race. The Bruins meet the Cardinal on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
Chase Budinger had 24 points for Arizona (17-12, 7-9), which has lost six of seven and is in danger of snapping its 23-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances, the longest in the nation.
Jordan Hill had 18 points and Bayless added 15 for the Wildcats.
Under Ben Howland, UCLA has supplanted Arizona as the Pac-10's dominant basketball program - and the Bruins have done it by cleaning up against the Wildcats.
UCLA thrashed Arizona 82-60 on Feb. 2 in Pauley Pavilion, and early on it looked as if the rematch would be a repeat.
With Darren Collison hitting his first five shots from the floor, UCLA cruised to an 11-point lead with 4:13 to go in the first half. But Arizona went on a 13-4 run to pull within 41-39 at intermission.
Two minutes after halftime, the Wildcats took their first lead since the opening minute when Bayless stole the ball and raced the length of the court for a dunk to put Arizona up 42-41.
Hill hit his first seven shots from the floor. But he picked up his fourth foul with 8:16 to go in the game. That's when Love took over, with nine points in the final 8:16.