Bruins knock off Panthers to advance to regional finals

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The way UCLA and Pittsburgh play tenacious defense, the best way to score is when the opponent can't contest the shot.

That's just what Arron Afflalo and the Bruins did. Afflalo made all 10 of his free throws and UCLA shot 23-for-26 from the line to knock off the Panthers 64-55 Thursday night in the West Regional semifinals.

The game between coaching buddies Ben Howland of the Bruins and Jamie Dixon of the Panthers was played in the style they employed in their years together at Northern Arizona and Pitt. Nearly every shot being contested and neither team able to generate any kind of offensive flow as neither team cracked 43 percent shooting from the field.

But the second-seeded Bruins (29-5) were able to win at the line, scoring 12 of their final 18 points on foul shots to advance to play Kansas (33-4) in Saturday's regional final in a matchup of two of college basketball's most storied teams. The top-seeded Jayhawks beat Southern Illinois 61-58 in the first game in San Jose.

Third-seeded Pitt (29-8) cut a 12-point lead down to five when Levance Fields hit a pair of 3s and Ronald Ramon added another in an 88-second span, but Michael Roll's baseline jumper with 51.5 seconds left put the Bruins up 58-51.

Afflalo finished with 17 points despite going 3-for-11 from the floor in another poor shooting night. Josh Shipp added 16 and Darren Collison had 12 as the Bruins advanced to regional finals in consecutive years for the first time since 1979-80.

Ramon scored 12 points to lead the Panthers, who lost in the regional semifinals for the fourth time in six seasons. They haven't been to the round of eight since 1974, when it took only two wins to get there. Fields added 11 and Aaron Gray was held to 10 in his final college game.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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