SAN JOSE -- The way UCLA and Pittsburgh play tenacious defense, the best way to score is when the opponent can't contest the shot.
That's just what Arron Afflalo and the Bruins did. Afflalo made all 10 of his free throws and UCLA shot 23 for 26 from the line to knock off the Panthers, 64-55, last night in the West Regional semifinals.
The game between coaching buddies Ben Howland of the Bruins and Jamie Dixon of the Panthers was played in the style they employed in their years together at Northern Arizona and Pitt. Nearly every shot was contested and neither team cracked 43 percent shooting from the field.
"We just wanted to keep control of the tempo and we did a good job of that all night long," UCLA point guard Darren Collison said. "It starts with our coach. He emphasizes defense all year long, and we showed it pays to be physical."
But the second-seeded Bruins (29-5) were able to win it at the line, scoring 12 of their final 18 points on foul shots, to advance to play Kansas (33-4) in tomorrow's regional final in a matchup of two of college basketball's most storied teams.
Third-seeded Pitt (29-8) cut a 12-point lead to 5 when Levance Fields hit a pair of 3-pointers and Ronald Ramon added another in an 88-second span.
But Michael Roll's baseline jumper with 51.5 seconds left put the Bruins up, 58-51.
Afflalo finished with 17 points despite going 3 for 11 from the floor on another poor shooting night. Josh Shipp added 16 and Collison had 12 as the Bruins advanced to regional finals in consecutive years for the first time since 1979-80.
Ramon scored 12 points to lead the Panthers, who lost in the regional semifinals for the fourth time in six seasons. They haven't been to the Elite Eight since 1974, when it took only two wins to get there.
Fields added 11 and Aaron Gray was held to 10 in his final college game.
The Panthers shot just 2 for 12 to open the second half, missing more than a dozen layups as UCLA's big men allowed nothing easy underneath.
Pitt never really threatened UCLA after that.
Shipp hit two key 3-pointers early in the half.