LAS VEGAS (AP) - UCLA blew out its second straight opponent at the Pac-12 tournament, showing off a depth and athleticism few teams can match.
Up next is a team that might be able to keep up with the Bruins: Arizona, the regular-season champion.
UCLA jumped on listless Stanford early and kept pouring it on for an 84-59 rout over the Cardinal on Friday night to set up a showdown against the fourth-ranked and top-seeded Wildcats in the Pac-12 championship game.
“What you saw was a really good performance by our guys,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said.
Coming off a rout in the quarterfinals, UCLA (25-8) started another one by building a 12-point lead in the opening four minutes. The Bruins kept making shots and kept building the lead for their second straight blowout in Sin City.
Kyle Anderson added 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for UCLA, which shot 65 percent.
That puts the Bruins in the conference championship game in their first season under Alford in a matchup of the conference’s two pre-eminent programs.
“We’re obviously excited, being the first year of our program and being in the championship game and have an opportunity,” Alford said. “We’ve got an opportunity to win a Pac-12 championship in our first year and that’s exciting.”
Stanford (21-12) was listless from the start of its third game in three days, unable to match UCLA’s intensity or athleticism.
The Cardinal labored offensively and barely got in the Bruins’ way on defense, left now to wait for Selection Sunday to see if they’ll be in the NCAA tournament.
Dwight Powell scored 16 points and Chasson Randle added 11 for Stanford.
“They punched us in the gut and we didn’t play to the level we needed to for 40 minutes,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “I give them all the credit. They came in and were the aggressors for 40 minutes.”
UCLA handled the athleticism and quickness of Oregon with relative ease in the quarterfinals, using a big second-half run to turn what was supposed to be a close game into an 82-63 win.
The Bruins had to shift gears for the semifinals against Stanford, a much more methodical team.
The Cardinal had success with their patient, get-the-right-shot style in the tournament’s first two rounds, blowing out third-seeded Arizona State 79-58 after pulling away for a victory over Washington State in the opener.
UCLA won the battle of styles in the first meeting this season, blowing out Stanford 91-74 in Westwood. The Cardinal turned the tables in the second meeting, beating the Bruins 83-74 at home for a big boost to its NCAA tournament chances.
UCLA dominated the start of round 3, opening with a 14-2 run and dropping shots from all over throughout the first half.
Wear had 12 points by halftime, Anderson 11 and the Bruins made 18 of 29 shots for a 44-29 lead.
The only thing that changed in the second half was Stanford missed more shots than the first.
The Cardinal opened 2 of 9 from the floor, while UCLA hit seven of its first nine to build the lead to 62-34.
The Bruins hit 12 of 17 shots in the second half to keep the blowout rolling.
“They made a lot of shots,” Randle said. “They moved the ball well tonight.”
And moved right into the championship.
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