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UCLA BASKETBALL FYI

Josh Shipp and fellow UCLA seniors aren't kids anymore

The Bruins' game Saturday against Oregon will be the last at Pauley Pavilion for Shipp, Darren Collison and Alfred Aboya. They grew up so fast.

March 07, 2009|David Wharton

Almost five years have passed since Josh Shipp left high school, excited to get a scholarship to play at UCLA.

"I still feel like I'm that little kid," he said. "Just came here when I was 18. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess."

Today's matchup between the 20th-ranked Bruins and Oregon marks the final home game for Shipp and two other scholarship seniors, center Alfred Aboya and guard Darren Collison. There will be a ceremony introducing the players with their parents.

"Right now, it's hard to grasp," Shipp said.

The swingman and his teammates aren't likely to dwell on their emotions too long, not with the Bruins needing a victory, and some help, to tie for the Pacific 10 Conference title.

Coach Ben Howland warned that despite a losing record, the Ducks have won two of their last three games and have improved with the emergence of freshmen Matthew Humphrey and Drew Wiley, who did not play much against UCLA when the teams met in early January.

"They've always been a team that causes problems from a standpoint of how they can get hot," Howland said.

Speculation

If a UCLA victory and a Washington loss create a tie for the Pac-10 title, which team would be seeded No. 1 in next week's conference tournament?

The teams split their two games this season, so the tiebreaker shifts to the next team in the standings and compares head-to-head results. If California hangs on for third, UCLA would be No. 1 because the Bruins swept the Golden Bears this season and Washington did not.

But if Arizona State defeats Cal today, those teams would tie for third, which would create yet another tie for UCLA and Washington. And if that happens, conference officials suspect the tie could persist all the way down the standings.

"In that case, I don't see there being that tiebreaker," spokeswoman Regina Verlengiere said. "So we would look at overall record."

UCLA would be 24-7; Washington would be 22-8.

Family affair

Thursday night's game against Oregon State was an anxious time for Aboya, what with his parents visiting from Cameroon and attending their first UCLA game.

"I was all the time looking at the stands," he said.

Which might explain his two fouls, no points and no rebounds in the first half. After performing better in the final 20 minutes, the 6-foot-9 Aboya was asked where he got his athletic ability.

"My mom's side," he said. "My grandma is, like, 6-8. No, I'm not kidding."

And did grandma play sports?

"She grows crops," he said. "Yams, cabbages, anything."

Unusual

Collison had no idea that he had grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds against the Beavers until someone told him.

"Once in a lifetime," he said.

The point guard mentioned that former UCLA star Kevin Love -- the team's leading rebounder last season -- was sitting courtside, but there was a better explanation for his seven defensive rebounds.

Oregon State ran its Princeton-style offense through center Roeland Schaftenaar, who stationed himself near the free-throw line, leaving the area under the glass open.

As for the man Collison was guarding?

"My guy, he was pretty much just chilling in the back," Collison said. "So I had a chance to get good rebounds."

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david.wharton@latimes.com

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