PULLMAN, Wash. – The energy on the Palouse was unrivaled, with local fans talking about the biggest game in at least two decades, and some calling it the biggest in Washington State history. It made for a memorable Thursday night at Friel Court, one filled with chanting students, tension, and the Pacific-10 Conference’s two best basketball teams. Next on UCLA’s agenda is Saturday’s trip to Washington, where the stakes are now not stumbling so it can secure the No. 1 seed in the West region of the NCAA tournament, which tips off in less than two weeks. “I’m very happy,” said junior guard Arron Afflalo, who led UCLA 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 Pac-10 tournament. Washington State (23-6, 12-5) still claimed second place in the league, matching its best finish 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 this 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. “I think he’s used to this by now,” UCLA point guard Darren Collison said. “He’s real focused on winning a national title. 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. Washington State 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, 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 trailed 23-22 at the half, matching its West Virginia output for its fewest points scored in the first half this season, but started the second half quickly to take control. Josh Shipp navigated traffic for a lay-in to begin a 9-0 UCLA spurt out of the locker room to take a 31-23 lead. [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! The setting could have been intimidating to some schools, but not UCLA, which has shown to be unflappable even in harsher instances. So it goes without saying 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, choking out No. 13 Washington State, 53-45, in front of 11,618 to win the Pac-10 title outright for the second straight season, and keep the Cougars without a conference crown since 1941.