Bruins Outlast Hilltoppers, Earn Elite Eight Date
March 27, 2008
PHOENIX (AP) - With Kevin Love scoring a career-high 29 points, the Bruins weathered a tenacious second half rally to defeat Western Kentucky 88-78 in the NCAA West Region on Thursday night.
Top-seeded UCLA (34-3) will play No. 3-seeded Xavier on Saturday for a trip to its third consecutive Final Four.
Love also had 14 rebounds. He hit 10-of-14 shots from the floor and helped rescue the Bruins for the second time in as many games.
Love wasn't the only Bruin to notch a double-double. James Keefe had 18 points and 12 rebounds, both career highs, and Russell Westbrook had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Tyrone Brazelton scored 31 points -- 25 in the second half -- and Courtney Lee added 18 for 12th-seeded Western Kentucky (29-7).
The Bruins blitzed the Hilltoppers with a 23-4 run midway through the first half.
UCLA led 41-20 at halftime, but Western Kentucky wouldn't go away. The Hilltoppers began pressing, and the Bruins made costly mistakes. They had 12 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
The Hilltoppers took advantage, and went on a 19-6 run to whittle the lead to 61-57 with 6:50 to play. Tyrone Brazelton capped the run by scoring eight unanswered points in less than a minute, on back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup.
The Bruins appeared in trouble when point guard Darren Collison fouled out -- for the first time this year -- with 5:39 to play.
But then Love scored from close range and Josh Shipp, an erratic long-range shooter, hit a 3-pointer to push UCLA's lead to 68-59 with 4:30 to play.
The Hilltoppers wouldn't draw closer than six points the rest of the way.