Love Makes Himself at Home vs. Oregon

Jan. 24, 2008

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Kevin Love was determined not to let the crowd get to him.

UCLA's 6-foot-10 freshman center knew that returning to his home state and playing against the school his father played for would be tough.

But Love kept his wits, and finished with 26 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Bruins (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP)to an 80-75 victory over Oregon on Thursday night.

"Well, that felt good," said Love, whose rebound total set a record for a UCLA freshman.

The Ducks (12-7, 3-4 Pac-10) led by as many as seven points in the second half, but the Bruins (17-2, 5-1) kept coming back. After Bryce Taylor's 3-pointer put Oregon ahead 69-64 with 4:38 to play, Russell Westbrook answered with a 3-pointer for UCLA.

Maarty Leunen made two free throws for Oregon before UCLA's Nikola Dragovic hit a 3-pointer to pull within 71-70, and the Bruins retook the lead on a layup by Westbrook.

Darren Collison made two free throws, extending UCLA's lead to 74-71 with 1:04 left and the Ducks were unable to catch up.

Collison had a career-high 22 points for the Bruins, who were coming off a 72-63 home loss to Southern California. Love's double-double was his 10th of the season.

"What more can you ask for? He's not an average freshman," Collison said about Love. "He plays like a senior. He gutted it out."

Malik Hairston led the Ducks with 18 points, but he went to the locker room for about seven minutes in the second half with leg cramps before returning to the court. Leunen had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Last season, Oregon handed then-No. 1 UCLA its first loss of the season, 68-66 in Eugene.

Love jilted his home state for the storied tradition of UCLA, turning his back on the school his father, Stan Love, played for. The elder Love starred for the Ducks as an all-conference player in 1970 and '72.

The younger Love attended games at McArthur Court since second grade. If UCLA was visiting, he said he rooted for the Bruins while his father cheered for the Ducks.

At the Mac Court on Wednesday night, Love was booed and jeered unmercifully by the student section, known as the Pit Crew. One of the nicer signs displayed simply said: "Kevin Love Sellout."

"Crowds are going to try and get in players' heads as much as possible and that's what they tried to do tonight," Love said. "We just came out with a win in a very tough place to play."

UCLA coach Ben Howland talked to Love about what to expect.

"This is probably one of the toughest environments in the country and they were especially going to be hard on him but he knew that coming in," Howland said. "I thought he handled it very well ... overall he was very poised."

The Bruins were hampered by injuries to starters Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real, who both suffered concussions in the loss to the Trojans.

The Ducks went ahead 51-47 on a layup by Joevan Catron, who had not played since late December because of a foot injury.

Love was often matched up against the 6-9, 220-pound Leunen, a friend from years ago. Leunen's layup gave the Ducks a 58-51 lead midway through the second half.

After the game, Love and Leunen hugged and chatted. "Get those Trojans!" Love said as he left. Oregon hosts Southern California, which beat UCLA last weekend, on Saturday.

"This team is in a wilderness stage," Ducks coach Ernie Kent said. "They just have to figure out how to do some things. I'm frustrated by that, but they just have to keep grinding it out."

UCLA travels Saturday to Oregon State, which is winless in the Pac-10.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Oct 30
vs. Cal State Los ...
Los Angeles, CA
W, 95 - 57
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25 - 4:30 PM PST
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
Sunday, Nov 29 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Dec 03 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Dec 06 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 12 - 7:00 PM PST
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
Tuesday, Dec 15 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 19 - 10:00 AM PST
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, Dec 22 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 01 - 8:00 PM PST
at Washington
Seattle, WA
Sunday, Jan 03 - 6:30 PM PST
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
Thursday, Jan 07 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 09 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 13 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 20 - 8:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
Saturday, Jan 23 - 1:00 PM PST
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Thursday, Jan 28 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 30 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 04 - 7:30 PM PST
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA