LOS ANGELES (AP)—Bring on the big guns. UCLA is tired of beating up on lesser teams.
Kevin Love scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, just missing a double-double, and the second-ranked Bruins rolled past Division II Cal State-San Bernardino 76-41 on Tuesday night in the second round of the CBE Classic.
As winners of the Los Angeles regional, the Bruins (3-0) advanced to play Maryland (2-0) in the semifinals on Nov. 19 in Kansas City. A victory would put them in the title game, possibly against Missouri or Michigan State.
Love can’t wait to test himself against stronger competition.
“When the bright lights come on, I play better,” he said. “I perform better and I’m more focused.”
Love had his third consecutive double-figure game and first in front of John Wooden, UCLA’s 97-year-old former coach. The vaunted freshman had nine rebounds for the second straight game after notching a double-double last week in his college debut.
“We need to get him more touches because he’s such a good passer, especially at the high post,” coach Ben Howland said.
Josh Shipp added 16 points, including four of UCLA’s nine 3-pointers. Russell Westbrook had 14 points, six assists and one turnover in his third start for point guard Darren Collison, who has a sprained left knee.
Collison worked out Tuesday, doing sprint drills and shooting without pain.
“That’s the best news of the day,” Howland said. “I’m cautiously optimistic he may be back in time to practice by Friday.”
Marlon Pierce led the Coyotes with 10 points, their only player in double figures. They got in the 16-team tournament only because another team had dropped out.
“That was their championship game. We got their very best effort,” Shipp said. “We have to come out with great intensity to win these games.”
Cal State’s two games in the CBE Classic were exhibitions because Division II schools cannot consider nonexempt games played before Thursday as regular season games. The Coyotes open their regular season Dec. 16.
“We had the `deer in the headlights’ syndrome,” coach Jeff Oliver said. “We were a little bit distorted out there. Their physicality really wore on us at both ends of the floor.”
UCLA’s 23rd consecutive home victory was no contest from the opening tip, just like its first two games, which the Bruins won by 21 and 31 points.
This time, they raced to an 18-4 lead, with Shipp hitting two of their four 3-pointers in the spurt.
The Coyotes ran off seven straight points to close within seven before the Bruins ended the half on a 17-0 run. Shipp hit consecutive 3-pointers and scored on a fast-break dunk off Love’s outlet pass.
“They went on a run and we had to stop that,” Shipp said. “I was just getting open shots and my teammates were finding me.”
Cal State applied full-court defensive pressure, but the Bruins easily passed over and through it, committing 14 turnovers.
“There’s a reason they are playing for a national championship,” Oliver said. “We won’t see a bigger, tougher team this year.”
The Coyotes scored 11 points in the half, two off the Pauley Pavilion record for an opponent low. They nearly matched the record for fewest points in a game, which was 35, but UCLA’s subs gave up some late baskets.
“I wish we could’ve beat that because we pride ourselves on defense,” Love said.
UCLA opened the second half just as strongly, with Love commanding all the attention. He scored 10 of their first 12 points and was responsible for the other basket, heaving a long pass to Westbrook, who dunked.
The Bruins led 60-21 on three straight points by Love, who left with 6 1/2 minutes remaining as UCLA cleared its bench.
The Bruins held their third consecutive opponent to less than 40 percent shooting, with the Coyotes hitting 32 percent.