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Collison keys strong start in UCLA blowout

Dec 16, 2007 - 5:43 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Darren Collison and UCLA experienced the type of start that a team of their caliber should expect.

Collison scored nine of his 20 points in the first half as the eighth-ranked Bruins clearly overmatched Idaho State in an 89-49 victory on Saturday.

Still easing back into the lineup after missing the first six games of the season with a knee injury, Collison shot 8-of-11 from the field and handed out five assists.

Without their point guard and top playmaker, the Bruins had some problems with beginning games strong.

With the junior guard starting his third straight game, Collison had a pair of layups and a 3-pointer inside the opening 7 1/2 minutes as UCLA (9-1) raced out to a 17-7 lead.

The Bruins kept the pressure on, as a dunk from Lorenzo Mata-Real capped a 20-3 run, building the cushion to 26-7 with 8:20 to play.

"We jumped out good on them," UCLA swingman Josh Shipp said. "The last couple of games we came out sluggish in the beginning. That was a key focus and not get behind."

UCLA ended up leading, 38-21, at the half, and were ahead, 54-25, after a dunk by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute capped a 16-0 burst with 12:35 remaining. Shipp and Michael Roll both had a 3-pointer during the run.

"I felt we got off to a good start, and maintained it through the end of the first half," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Now that they have had the great start that is expected of them, the Bruins will be looking to carry it into the heart of the season.

"We have to stay consistent and come out with more quick starts like we did today," Collison said. "Secondly, we need to to a much better job of attacking the zones."

Collison finished 8-of-11 from the field, grabbed six rebounds and handed out five assists.

Freshman Kevin Love had 17 points and nine rebounds Shipp scored 16 for the Bruins, who shot 49 percent (31-of-63), including 11-of-26 on 3-pointers.

The win proved to be a key one for Coach Howland, who reached 100 wins with UCLA in 142 games - tying him with John Wooden and Steve Lavin as the second fastest to accomplish it.

Jim Harrick, who led the Bruins to the national title in 1995, needed 136 games.

"I've had outstanding players the last four years, as well as great assistants; several of which have become head coaches," Howland said. "I never thought I'd ever be the head coach at UCLA; not many people get to say they are living their a dream job."

Matt Stucki scored 15 points for the Bengals (2-7), who lost for the fourth time in five games.

Lucas Stern had 12 points and Amorrow Morgan added 10 for Idaho State, which shot 37.5 percent (21-of-56) and were outrebounded, 43-24.

    --- --- -----
    IDAHO ST 21 28 49
    UCLA (8) 38 51 89 FINAL

    Dec 15 9:47 PM

    IDAHO ST 21
    (8) UCLA 38 HALFTIME

    Dec 15 8:47 PM