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March 13, 2008
LOS ANGELES(AP) No controversy, no contest.
No. 3 UCLA buried California under a flurry of 3-pointers to start the second half on its way to an 88-66 victory in the Pac-10 tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
Darren Collison scored 19 points, Josh Shipp 18, and freshman Kevin Love had nine of his 11 in the second half after early foul trouble. UCLA (29-3) had its best 3-point shooting game of the season, hitting 14-of-25.
"It's playoff time now, you have to have a sense of urgency," Love said. "That's what great teams do, they never let up. One loss and you're out."
The top-seeded Bruins won their eighth in a row and advanced to Friday's semifinals against O.J. Mayo and Southern California, which beat Arizona State 59-55. The rivals split in the regular season, with each winning on the other's floor.
"Tomorrow's going to be another grudge match, the battle of the city," Love said. "We know we need to come out and play the same style, the same way. It's going to be tough."
The Bears were looking to avenge last weekend's one-point loss at UCLA that ended on two controversial calls, both in the Bruins' favor. For their part, the Bruins were eager to dispel chatter that they didn't deserve to win after trailing nearly the entire game.
"We heard a little (talk), but we were more concerned with how we were going to play," Collison said. "It was more about us."
In that game, Shipp hit a rainbow jumper over the corner of the backboard with 1.5 seconds remaining, sending observers scurrying to the NCAA rule book to see whether the shot was legal.
That opportunity was created after it appeared Anderson was fouled when trapped in the left corner. The officials ruled the ball touched Anderson before going out of bounds although Cal argued it went off a UCLA player first.
"I don't think they appreciated hearing that two calls were the only reason they won a (Pac-10) championship," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "That's not fair."
This time, there were no questionable calls and UCLA erased its bitter memory from last year's tournament, when Cal upset the Bruins in overtime in their opening game.
UCLA opened on a 16-4 run before DeVon Hardin's dunk - Cal's first field goal more than 7 1/2 minutes into the game - launched a 13-3 spurt that got the Bears within two. Anderson added five points.
But the Bears were derailed by 13 turnovers - 18 overall - that were instigated by a UCLA defense that produced eight steals.
"UCLA is a team that feeds off transition and bad shots," Anderson said. "It was our shot selection that hurt us."
The Bruins grabbed the momentum right back and rode it to a 39-25 halftime lead.
"To have a 14-point lead at halftime was a nice cushion," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "They had to play a game yesterday and we were sitting there waiting for them. That definitely was to our advantage."
The Bears got by Washington 84-81 Wednesday in a game that ended after 8 p.m. while the Bruins were idle. Cal skipped a shootaround Thursday for extra rest.
"It was a factor, but I don't want to make excuses," Hardin said.
With Love playing just six minutes because of two fouls, Lorenzo Mata-Real produced the two biggest defensive plays of the half on huge blocks of Anderson and Christopher.
Love, the Pac-10 player and freshman of the year, returned to start the second half and made an immediate impact. He hit three consecutive 3-pointers and Shipp added another for a 51-33 lead.
"Darren found me on all three," Love said. "I was just looking for my shot and I got open for the `3' and happened to knock them down."
Love has scored in double figures in all 32 games this season. He had seven rebounds and four assists, leaving to a standing ovation led by his parents, brother and sister sitting behind the Bruins' bench.