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February 22, 2008

UCLA whips Oregon State

LOS ANGELES(AP) With UCLA leading by 22 points at halftime, Kevin Love's thoughts wandered to Saturday's game against Oregon.

That's how little Oregon State distracted the sixth-ranked Bruins.

Russell Westbrook scored 17 points, Darren Collison had 14 points and nine assists and UCLA won 84-49 on Thursday night to increase its lead over idle Stanford in the Pac-10 to one game.

"We have a huge game on Saturday," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "Everyone is fighting now for NCAA tournament berths and seedings. We know Oregon is going to come in here and give us their very best game. They're right on the edge of making it or not."

For the first time in conference games this season, none of the Bruins played 30 or more minutes. Howland went to his bench with 7 minutes left, giving rare time to freshman Chace Stanback and sophomores Nikola Dragovic and Mustafa Abdul-Hamid.

"It's always good to get a rest, especially coming down the stretch," Collison said.

Love had 11 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes, just missing his 16th double-double for the Bruins (23-3, 11-2).

"That'll keep me with fresh legs for Saturday," Love said.

Love was focusing ahead on Oregon, his father Stan's alma mater, where their family was targeted with ugly treatment by Ducks' fans in UCLA's 80-75 victory last month.

Josh Tarver scored 10 points for Oregon State (6-20, 0-14), which lost its 16th in a row overall and seventh straight to the Bruins.

The Beavers barely surpassed their lowest point total of the season, 44 against Southern California on Jan. 24. They shot 34 percent, an opponent's season-low for the Bruins.

UCLA shot 55 percent from the field, its best effort since hitting 57 percent against Arizona on Feb. 2. The Bruins had shot no better than 34 percent in their previous two games against Washington and USC.

They dominated the boards 43-24, went 15-of-19 from the free throw line and piled up a season-high-tying 20 assists to Oregon State's six.

It was no contest from the opening tip, with UCLA racing to a 10-4 lead, helped by Collison's 3-pointer and five straight points by Love.

"They got away really fast," Oregon State interim coach Kevin Mouton said. "I would not be surprised if they make it back to the Final Four."

The Beavers got within one on a 3-pointer by Omari Johnson before UCLA ran off 14 consecutive points for a 24-9 lead.

"There were a couple times where we lost focus and they got a couple easy baskets," Collison said. "We can't afford that."

Oregon State outscored UCLA 14-10, but still got no closer than 11 points. Love hit two free throws to spark a 15-4 run that ended the half with the Bruins ahead 49-27. He sent an outlet pass to Westbrook, who lost the ball in the air, regained control, scored and drew a foul.

In last month's 85-62 win in Corvallis, Ore., the Bruins only led by four points at halftime. They had faced no such challenge this time.

Fans began leaving en masse with 7 minutes remaining and UCLA ahead by 36 points.

Oregon State never came closer than 20 points on Tarver's opening basket of the second half. The Bruins fan off 10 straight points, including four in a row by Lorenzo Mata-Real, for a 73-37 lead. Mata-Real finished with 11 points.

The Beavers played without senior Marcel Jones and freshman Sean Carter, both of whom were involved in verbal taunting against Washington last weekend.



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