No. 3 UCLA Claims Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament Title
March 15, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Darren Collison scored 28 points and No. 3 UCLA survived its fourth close call in a week, beating 11th-ranked Stanford 67-64 Saturday to win the Pac-10 tournament title.
The Bruins (31-3) used a 22-8 run in the second half to earn their 10th victory in a row and add the title to their third consecutive regular-season crown. They swept Stanford in the regular season, including an overtime win last week to clinch the league title.
Freshman Kevin Love overcame back spasms to score 12 points, giving him double figures in all 34 games he's played this season. Russell Westbrook had 11 rebounds.
Brook Lopez scored 15 points and Anthony Goods added 13 for the Cardinal (26-7), which was going for their first league tourney title since 2004. They've won nine of 13 heading into the NCAA tournament.
UCLA led by 10 with 2 minutes remaining before Stanford whittled its deficit to 65-64 on a dunk by Lawrence Hill with 3 seconds to go. The Cardinal fouled Collison, who made both for a three-point cushion. He was named tournament MVP.
Goods' jumper hit the backboard wide right at the buzzer.
The Bruins beat California by one point to end the regular season, then blew out the Golden Bears in the tourney quarterfinals before slipping by Southern California 57-54 in the semifinals.
Tied at halftime, Stanford opened the second half on an 11-7 run, a stretch dominated by the 7-foot Lopez twins. Brook scored five in a row and Robin scored over Love to give the Cardinal a 43-39 lead.
Collison steadied the Bruins with his defense at the same time he launched an 11-0 run with a jumper and ended it with a drive that propelled them to a 50-43 lead with 8:40 remaining.
Stanford scored five in a row to get within two before reserve James Keefe blocked Robin Lopez at Stanford's end and Love hit a 3-pointer for a 55-48 lead.
Collison's floater went in with 1 second on the shot clock and Love scored four in a row to cap the 22-8 spurt that produced UCLA's largest lead, 61-51, with 2 minutes to go.
Stanford outscored the Bruins 12-6 over the final 54 seconds only to lose. The Bruins went 4-of-8 from the line in that stretch, with reserve Keefe missing two free throws, including airballing his second, with UCLA clinging to a three-point lead.
Alfred Aboya started in place of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who sprained his left ankle in the first half of a three-point semifinal win against Southern California. He stood with crutches in the huddle during timeouts.
Love was hit with back spasms in the game's first four minutes. It was obvious to the Cardinal as the Pac-10 player and freshman of the year frequently bent over and clutched his right lower back while grimacing in pain.
He shuttled in and out after that, getting massaged on the sideline by the trainer. Love clearly wasn't happy being subbed out, yelling 'I'm fine!' and gesturing toward the coaches' end of the bench.
But Love seemed revived in the second half, his grimace replaced by an occasional smile.
With Love limited to 14 minutes in the half, Lorenzo Mata-Real elbowed it out with the Lopez twins. He came up with a huge block that gave possession to the Bruins, leading to a 3-pointer by Collison. On the previous play, Westbrook stole the ball and dunked in the spurt that tied the game at 20.
Westbrook came up with another steal from Robin Lopez and hit a 3-pointer. Love was blocked and fell in the ensuing scramble, but he got up, snagged the rebound at the other end and sent an outlet pass to Collison, who scored for a 25-22 lead. Love's 3-pointer capped the 15-4 run that put the Bruins in front, 28-24, for the first time since the opening minute.
Stanford went to a zone in the closing minutes and Robin Lopez and Fred Washington combined for six straight points before Collison tied it on a floater. Brook Lopez scored inside and then Collison answered for another tie at 32 going into halftime.