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January 6, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif.(AP) Kevin Love's case for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year gets stronger each time he helps UCLA win.
Love scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half and grabbed 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double, and the fifth-ranked Bruins beat California 70-58 on Saturday to complete a sweep of the Bay Area schools on the opening weekend of conference play.
"Kevin Love played like a man today," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "Nineteen and 14."
And Love had plenty of help as UCLA again showed its depth.
Russell Westbrook added 11 points and seven rebounds, Darren Collison had 14 points and five assists and Josh Shipp scored 13 for the Bruins (14-1, 2-0), who won their seventh straight. The streak includes a victory at No. 24 Stanford on Thursday night.
"We got two wins on the road against two very good teams, and for most teams it will be hard to sweep," Love said.
UCLA's 6-foot-10, 260-pound center shot 8-for-10 and had another strong showing in just his second conference game - and not only on the offensive end. His inside presence made things tough for Cal big men DeVon Hardin and Ryan Anderson, and Love pulled down several key rebounds in crunch time.
He was whistled for his third foul and second on the offensive end with 16:48 to play and took a seat, but wasn't out long. He scored a key basket with 2:15 left and converted two free throws with 28 seconds to go, two days after finishing with 15 points and seven boards in the win over Stanford.
Cal used an 11-2 run to start the second half to pull to 38-36 on Hardin's three-point play at 14:15 before consecutive baskets by Westbrook.
Anderson scored 12 points and Patrick Christopher 11 to lead the Golden Bears (10-3, 1-1). Christopher was called for an intentional foul with 5:49 that led to a four-point swing in UCLA's favor. Shipp made two free throws, then scored again moments later for a 56-45 lead.
A sellout crowd of 11,877 crammed into Haas Pavilion for a nationally televised game that attracted some 15 NBA scouts and Golden State Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin. Former UCLA star Baron Davis of the Warriors also was in attendance and sitting courtside, and he congratulated the Bruins in their locker room afterward.
"This was a great, great win for us today," Howland said. "I am so proud of our team. We played so well defensively - held Cal to 36 percent shooting and outrebounded them by 13. That's tell tale. The defense really gave us a chance today.
"This is a difficult road trip," Howland said. "I think Stanford and Cal are NCAA tournament teams."
Hardin faced double-teams most of the game and didn't score his first points until hitting one of two free throws 11 seconds before halftime. He wound up with eight points and eight rebounds. Anderson was 0-for-6 in the first half and had only two points, making his first field goal with 16:24 remaining.
"Whenever we touched the ball it was double- or triple-teams coming at us," Hardin said. "They keyed in on that and stopped it. They just had good pressure on the ball first of all. It was very hard for our guards to get the ball in."
UCLA won its fourth straight in Berkeley and avenged Cal's upset of the top-seeded Bruins in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament last March, 76-69 in overtime. The Bears have won at least once against UCLA in each of the past nine years.
Westbrook showed off some athleticism in the first half with a flying one-handed jam and later a layin on an alley-oop from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute that led to a three-point play seven minutes before halftime.
Love finally finished one sequence late in the first half in which the Bruins managed five offensive chances before he converted the putback, helping UCLA to a 36-25 lead at the break. The Bruins held a 43-30 edge on the boards and limited Cal to an uncharacteristically low 12 assists.
"To our team's credit, we came back and got within two, and I thought things were going our way in the second half," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "I thought our energy was better, our confidence was better.
"UCLA is too good to get down early and too good to give up opportunities," Braun said. "They'll take advantage of that."
It was Cal's shooting from long range that lifted the Bears to a 92-82 win over No. 22 Southern California on Thursday night - and five players finished with 15 or more points in that game. But the Bears were 5-of-16 from 3-point range Saturday and lost for only the second time in 11 home games this season.
Cal fell behind 13-2, had two early turnovers and missed its first four field-goal attempts before Christopher's basket at 15:54. The Bears began the game 5-for-20.