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Saturday, 29 March 2008 15:49
NCAAB Headline News


 PHOENIX (AP) -Surprise, surprise. UCLA is back in the Final Four.
After flirting with trouble for two rounds, the top-seeded Bruins blitzed Xavier 76-57 Saturday to earn their third straight trip to the Final Four and record 18th overall.
Freshman Kevin Love scored 19 points, had 10 rebounds and was picked as the most outstanding player of the West Regional. Behind him, the Bruins (35-3) rediscovered the game that had made them a No. 1 seed and won their 14th straight game.
It's the Bruins' longest string of Final Four appearances since they closed the John Wooden era with nine straight trips and added a 10th consecutive trip in 1976 under his successor, Gene Bartow.
UCLA plays the Memphis-Texas winner in the national semifinal in San Antonio on April 5.
At times on Saturday, Ben Howland's Bruins looked every bit as dominant as Wooden's finer squads, annihilating a proud Xavier (30-7) team that had set a school record for victories and was trying to reach its first Final Four.
The knock on UCLA is that it often coasts with a big lead. Not this time.
Leading by nine at halftime, the Bruins snuffed out third-seeded Xavier's comeback hopes with a 14-0 run early in the second half.
The rest of the game was one long advertisement for the powder blue and gold, with a partisan crowd rocking U.S. Airways Center with chants of ``U-C-L-A!''
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Darren Collison added 19 points for UCLA, which shot 53.8 percent from the floor.
Derrick Brown had 13 points for Xavier.
 

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