Pac-10 Preview: UCLA-Washington State For a Spot In The Semis

Steve AugerAnalyst IIMarch 12, 2009

Washington State Cougars (17-14, 0-10) vs. UCLA Bruins (24-7, 13-5)


Thursday, March 12, 2009 – 8:30 PM PST


The last quarter final game of the Pac-10 tournament features the No. 7 seed Washington State Cougars against the No. 2 seed UCLA bruins.


The two teams split the season series with each winning on the other’s home court. Both games were as close as can be with UCLA prevailing 61-59, and Washington State edging out an 82-81 triumph.


In the first encounter, the Bruins built up a 13-point halftime lead and survived a run by the Cougars to hold on for the win.


The Cougars held a 30-22 rebounding on the Bruins, but UCLA sizzled from behind the three-point line. The Bruins sank nine of their 16 attempts.


Nikola Dragovic had the hot hand for UCLA as he led all scorers with 20 points, including six threes. He was the only Bruin in double figures.


Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, and Alfred Aboya all scored eight points in the win.


For the Cougars, Caleb Forrest had 19 points while Aron Baynes—15 points, 10 boards— notched a double-double.


In the second contest, both teams shot well from the floor but the Cougars shot exceptionally well. They converted 58.8 percent of their shots.


Their sharp shooting also extended beyond the three-point line as they nailed eight of 15 attempts.


Taylor Rochestie was a one-man wrecking crew for the Cougars. The senior scored a game-high 33 points, including five of his seven three-point shots, and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.


Rochestie had plenty of help as Klay Thompson had 15, Baynes was good for 13, and Forrest contributed 12 points.


Dragovic again led the way for the Bruins with 23 points. Collison scored 20 and dropped eight dimes and Aboya had the double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. Josh Shipp scored 14 in the losing effort.


Current line: UCLA -8.5


Washington State is 13-16 against the spread with a record of 5-7 as an underdog.


UCLA is 16-12 against the spread with a record of 15-11 as the favorite.


The Bruins are looking to make it to their fourth Final Four in a row. Winning the Pac-10 tournament would be a good spring board into the NCAAs.


This game will be close throughout but UCLA, with the crowd behind them, will pull away late.


Steve’s pick: UCLA -8.5