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March 8, 2009
LOS ANGELES(AP) Josh Shipp, Darren Collison and Alfred Aboya comprise the winningest senior class in UCLA's storied history. After a slow start, they padded their legacy with victory No. 121 on Saturday.
Shipp scored a career-high 28 points, Collison added 19, Aboya had 10 and the 20th-ranked Bruins defeated Oregon 94-68 to win their fourth straight game heading into next week's Pac-10 tournament.
The Bruins (24-7, 13-5) were denied a share of their fourth consecutive league title when No. 16 Washington defeated Washington State 67-60 later Saturday.
The Huskies earned their first outright title since 1953 and the tournament's top seed, leaving the Bruins as the second seed.
"More power to them," Collison said. "The last three years, they didn't talk about our conference titles. They talked about our Final Four appearances."
The Bruins will open the tournament Thursday against the winner of the play-in game between Oregon and the seventh-seeded team.
Freshman Drew Wiley matched his career high with 18 points, including a career-best six 3-pointers, for the last-place Ducks (8-22, 2-16). They will be the No. 10 seed in the Pac-10 tourney.
"This team has gotten better in the second half of the season," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "These last couple of contests have shown where we are going as a team. I just want these guys to battle."
Shipp saved his two best performances for his final two games at Pauley Pavilion.
The senior, who scored 27 points in Thursday's rout of Oregon State, topped himself Saturday in his 130th start, passing Earl Watson for most in school history. Shipp scored 15 of UCLA's 21 points during a 7-minute stretch in the second half before leaving with 3:42 remaining.
"We were excited to play this game," Shipp said. "We knew it was important for seeding in case Washington slips up. I definitely think it's a good time to get hot. It's tourney time, time to bring your `A' game."
Junior Nikola Dragovic also had 10 points for the Bruins, who topped 90 points for the second time in the Pac-10 this season and won their fourth straight.
Collison went down hard when he was fouled by Matthew Humphrey under the basket with 12:51 remaining. He got up, hit the free throw to complete the three-point play and left the game for good about 30 seconds later.
"All I remember is going up for the layup and I lost control," Collison said.
Collison was taken to the hospital for an MRI on his tailbone, and was diagnosed with a bruise. He was in pain and wearing an ice pack 1 1/2 hours after the game.
"They said nothing was broken," Collison said. "I'm going to play Thursday."
Oregon hit 12 3-pointers, tying their season best, but just three of those came in the second half. That's when UCLA gained its first double-digit lead of the game, and eventually pulled away. The Bruins were 14-of-15 from the free throw line.
The Ducks closed to 55-51 on a 3-pointer by Humphrey before the Bruins ran off 12 straight points to take a 67-51 lead. Collison had five in a row and Shipp hit one of his four 3-pointers.
"We're the last team in the conference defense-wise. That's a problem we've had all year," said LeKendric Longmire, who added 12 points. "Until we can come together and play defense as a unit we're going to continue to lose games."
Collison and Aboya combined for 14 of UCLA's first 18 points of the game.
The Ducks led most of the first half, three times going up by five, the last on Wiley's fourth 3-pointer of the half.
"It was just a blast playing on the court, it's a historical court," Wiley said. "We hung in there for the first 17 minutes and thought we were going to be OK, but we broke down too much."
But the Bruins rallied with a 15-3 run to end the half. Shipp scored nine points, including a 3-pointer from the left corner that beat the buzzer and sent them into halftime leading 47-40.