LOS ANGELES (AP)—There was no saving the best for last for Josh Shipp. The senior forward went ahead and had a career night in his penultimate game at Pauley Pavilion.
Shipp scored 22 of his career-high 27 points in the first half, when No. 20 UCLA built a 24-point lead on the way to routing Oregon State 79-54 on Thursday night.
“I’ve just been shooting a lot more down the stretch. I’m just being more aggressive,” he said. “I just got in a rhythm and was able to knock down shots in bunches.”
The second-place Bruins (23-7, 12-5) need to beat Oregon on Saturday and then wait to see if Washington State can upset No. 16 Washington for them to gain a share of their fourth consecutive Pac-10 regular season championship.
Otherwise, a Washington victory would give the Huskies their first outright title since 1953 and send the Bruins into next week’s Pac-10 tournament as the No. 2 seed.
“Now we have one last game and it’s going to be a bit surreal for our seniors,” coach Ben Howland said. “It’s nice to see the seniors leading the way with the effort and leadership they gave. Josh had everything come to him and he just had an unbelievable half.”
Nikola Dragovic added 13 points and Darren Collison had six points, eight assists and a career-best 11 rebounds for the Bruins, who have won four of five since getting swept in the Arizona desert.
“Once in a lifetime,” a grinning Collison said about his rebounds in front of former teammate and Minnesota Timberwolves player Kevin Love. “I saw him here. It was tough to get rebounds around him.”
Lathen Wallace scored 15 points and Seth Tarver added 13 for the Beavers (13-15, 7-10), who have lost nine straight to UCLA.
“We made some mistakes and they capitalized. They made all their open 3s and that kind of broke our back,” Tarver said. “Sometimes we have a bad half and never recover.”
It was a repeat of what happened in the teams’ first meeting.
The Beavers lost 69-46 to UCLA on Jan. 2, when they were held to 16 points in the first half.
They barely bettered that total in the rematch, trailing 43-19 at the break, with Shipp single-handedly outscoring the Beavers, who shot 27 percent from the field.
Tied at 11-all, the Bruins went on a 32-8 run to close the half as they shot 61 percent. They came in leading the nation in field goal percentage at 50 percent.
“I saw us executing exactly the way we wanted for the first seven minutes, then bang, three 3s in a row and their confidence goes,” Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. “Right up to that point I thought we were playing a good game.”
Shipp reeled off 17 straight points despite taking a brief rest on the bench. He hit three 3-pointers in his personal outburst and got out on the break for a dunk off a pass from Collison.
“It was like he was shooting in his yard with nobody playing,” Robinson said. “It was a free-for-all.”
Shipp’s previous career best was 25 points in an 86-75 loss at Washington on Jan. 24, when he made a career-high six 3-pointers.
Shipp took just four shots in the second half, when Oregon State never came close to cutting its deficit to single digits despite improved shooting of 57 percent. He hit his fifth 3-pointer and followed with a dunk that extended UCLA’s lead to 58-36.
Alfred Aboya finished with nine points for the Bruins after going scoreless in the first half. His parents from Cameroon watching in person for the first time on their first trip outside the African country.
“The first half it did affect me, but in the second half I was able to finish strong,” he said, noting that his parents don’t know the game’s rules. “I will tell them I played great.”
Shipp left with 3:49 remaining and the Bruins ahead by 21 points. The other starters were taken out shortly thereafter.
“They have a terrific formula, and it worked on us,” Robinson said.
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