for this game

Shipp powers UCLA over Sam Houston State

Dec 20, 2006 - 7:03 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- UCLA looks like it may stay atop the rankings for a while.

Josh Shipp scored 18 points to spark a decisive run as No. 1 UCLA posted a workmanlike 75-61 victory over Sam Houston State.

In improving to 125-3 at Pauley Pavilion as the nation's top-ranked team, the Bruins allowed the Bearkats to hang around to the midway point of the second half.

Leading 48-43, UCLA used a quick 9-0 run to break the game open. Michael Roll started it was a 3-pointer and Shipp scored six straight points for a 57-43 advantage with 8:46 to play.

"We knew they would be a hard team to play," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "They were very patient and held the ball until late in the shot clock. It hurts you when you shoot quick and miss and they just walk the ball up, but we're happy we got the win and now we have to get ready for our next 20 games, which will all be tough games."

The Bruins (10-0) later ran off six straight points capped by Darren Collison's layup as the lead crested at 68-47 with 4:09 remaining.

Shipp buried all eight of his foul shots to help UCLA rectify what had been a trouble spot all season. The Bruins entered shooting less than 60 percent from the stripe but converted 17-of-21 against the Bearkats (6-5).

"Coach has made free-throw shooting a focal point in practice," Shipp said. "We worked hard on it and it paid off."

Sam Houston State stunned UCLA out of the gate as Ryan Bright and Shamir McDaniel combined for nine points and a 9-2 lead just over four minutes into the game.

The Bruins moved ahead, 23-22, and then scored their next eight points from the stripe en route to a 35-29 halftime lead.

"I think our foul shooting saved us in the first half," Howland said. "If we hadn't made our shots, we would have been down or tied in the first half. That was a real positive. I was happy about that."

Arron Afflalo scored 12 points and Collison added 11 and nine assists for the Bruins, who shot 54 percent (27-of-50) from the field.

"It's great to have the assists, but I have to give credit to my teammates," Collison said. "They have to knock them down."

Jejuan Plair, Ryan Bright and James Barrett scored 12 points apiece for Sam Houston State, which lost its second straight game.

"That is a real fine team over there," Bearkats coach Bob Martin said. "We were patient and had some chances, but we couldn't get the ball to fall, especially in the first half."

    --- --- -----
    SAM HOUSTON ST 29 32 61
    UCLA (1) 35 40 75 FINAL

    Dec 20 12:28 AM

    UCLA (1) 35 HALFTIME

    Dec 19 11:20 PM