“I think he’s used to this by now,” UCLA point guard Darren Collison said. “He’s real focused on winning a national title. We’re that good. Even though we appreciate that we won the Pac-10 championship, we still want to go and look forward.” Bruins wing Josh Shipp scored 12 points and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 10. WSU was led by Kyle Weaver’s 14 points, but leading scorer Derrick Low was nearly shut out. He was averaging 13.9 points per game entering Thursday’s game, but was held to two points. With Afflalo doing much of the defending, Low was 1 of 8 from the field, with the lone basket coming on a 12-foot bank shot. “UCLA did not take possessions off,” Cougars coach Tony Bennett said. “A lot of teams in our league, us included, will take possessions off and play for the big run, or the big swing.” UCLA trailed 23-22 at halftime, matching their fewest points scored in the first half this season, but quickly took control in the second half. Shipp navigated traffic for a layup to begin a 9-0 UCLA run out of the locker room to take a 31-23 lead. Afflalo hit a 3-pointer, Mbah a Moute had a chippie and Shipp finished the run by converting a 3-on-1 with a rim-hanging dunk. UCLA also tightened its defense, as WSU missed its first six shots of the half. The Bruins made 12 of their first 15shots of the second half (in which they shot 56.5 percent), dissecting WSU’s defense with sharp feeds to the low post. “We were running, and I thought Darren did a good job of hitting the guys on the slips,” Howland said. “They were really overextending, so sensitive to Arron in particular, with him coming off of jump shots, that Darren did a great job of reading that.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PULLMAN, Wash. – The energy at Friel Court was unrivaled, with the locals talking about this being the biggest game in at least two decades, and some calling it the biggest in Washington State men’s basketball history. It made for a memorable Thursday night, one filled with chanting students, tension, and the Pacific-10 Conference’s two best basketball teams. The setting could have been intimidating to some schools, but not UCLA, which has shown to be unflappable even in harsher instances. So it wasn’t surprising that UCLA showed no signs of stage fright, and showed why it is the class of the West. The No. 2-ranked Bruins put on an offensive and defensive clinic in the second half, shutting down No. 13 Washington State 53-45 in front of 11,618fans to win the Pac-10 title outright for the second straight season and keep the Cougars without a conference crown since 1941. Next on UCLA’s agenda is Saturday’s trip to Washington, where the objective is to keep from stumbling so it can secure the No. 1 seed in the West region of the NCAA Tournament. “I’m very happy,” said junior guard Arron Afflalo, who led the Bruins with 14 points. “This is another year we establish UCLA as a premiere team. The whole thing is to be consistent with that, and get it back to the golden days.” The Bruins (26-3, 15-2 Pac-10) now own 29 conference titles, and are the top seed in next week’s conference tournament. Washington State (23-6, 12-5) still claimed second place in the league, matching its best finish ever in Pac-10 play. “We’re really, really happy to get this win, which gives us sole possession of the regular season Pac-10 championship, which is an important goal for us,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “I think Washington State is just outstanding. This is a great gut-check. We played great defense.” One thing missing from the postgame celebration was a Gatorade shower for Howland. Last season he was drenched upon entering the locker room at Stanford after the Bruins clinched the title outright, but this time he met the media bone dry.