UCLA Rallies To Beat Michigan State

Wednesday, November 21st 2007, 8:25 am
By: News On 6

UCLA coach Ben Howland has been really impressed with his team's grit so far.

Kevin Love had 21 points and 11 rebounds to help UCLA stay close, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute finished it off on a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left, helping second-ranked UCLA rebound from a miserable first half to beat No. 10 Michigan State 68-63 on Tuesday night in the championship game of the CBE Classic.

``I'm really proud of our toughness mentally,'' Howland said. ``The one thing about our team is they never give up. They never give up, ever and that's a sign of mentally tough kids.''

The Bruins are physically strong too. Love had 11 points and eight rebounds by halftime, and spent the second accumulating fouls on Michigan State's big men, fouling Idong Ibok and Drew Naymick out.

The 6-foot-10 freshman had eight offensive rebounds and made nine free throws.

``That's an everyday thing for me,'' Love said. ``If we're going to be a great team, we're all going to have bang down low.''

In other Top 25 games it was, No. 1 North Carolina 110, South Carolina State 64; No. 3 Memphis 84, Arkansas State 63; No. 7 Tennessee 109, Middle Tennessee 40; No. 8 Indiana 95, UNC-Wilmington 71; No. 11 Marquette 91, Oklahoma State 61; Saint Mary's 99, No. 12 Oregon 87; No. 13 Duke 79, Illinois 66; No. 23 Virginia 72, Drexel 58; and No. 25 Florida 102, North Florida 51.

UCLA (5-0) didn't look much like a great team in the first half, forcing up shots inside, missing open ones on the outside and trailing by as much 13.

The Bruins got back in it behind the shooting of Josh Shipp and Russell Westbrook.

Shipp had 14 of his 18 points in the second half to trim the deficit to two, then Westbrook scored eight straight points, tying the game at 58-all on a steal and breakaway dunk with 4 minutes left.

Michigan State's Drew Neitzel hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Spartans up 63-58, but Love answered with a three-point play to make it 63-61 with just under 2 minutes left.

That set the stage for Mbah a Moute, who tied it on a rebound slam 15 seconds later, then put the Bruins up 66-63 with a 3-pointer from the corner.

``I knew it was going in,'' he said.

Neitzel, who didn't start because of flu-like symptoms, attempted a long 3-pointer with 11 seconds left, but missed everything and Shipp sealed it with two free throws at the other end.

Neitzel finished with 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting and Durrell Summers added 11 for Michigan State (3-1).

No. 1 North Carolina 110, South Carolina State 64

At Chapel Hill, N.C., Tyler Hansbrough scored 26 points and Wayne Ellington added 19 to help North Carolina beat South Carolina State.

Danny Green had 15 points for the Tar Heels (3-0), who earned their second straight blowout win in the Las Vegas Invitational.

Everett Spencer scored 12 points to lead the Bulldogs (0-4).

No. 3 Memphis 84, Arkansas State 63

At Memphis, Tenn., Willie Kemp scored a career-high 22 points, including 6-for-8 from 3-point range, and Doneal Mack added 19 for the Tigers.

Chris Douglas-Roberts added 16 points for Memphis (5-0), which has won all of its games by double-digit margins.

Adrian Banks led the Indians (0-3) with 32 points, one short of his career high.

No. 7 Tennessee 109, Middle Tennessee 40

At Knoxville, Tenn., JaJuan Smith scored 26 of his career-high 32 points in the first half and Chris Lofton added 17 points for the Volunteers.

Ramar Smith had 12 points and Tyler Smith added 11 for the Volunteers (4-0), who snapped the Blue Raiders' streak of 216 consecutive games without allowing 100 points.

Kevin Kanaskie had nine points and Nigel Johnson added seven for Middle Tennessee (1-3), which shot only 31 percent and lost to Tennessee for the sixth consecutive time.

No. 8 Indiana 95, UNC-Wilmington 71

At Bloomington, Ind., Eric Gordon scored 30 points and Armon Bassett added 19 to help Indiana beat North Carolina-Wilmington.

Indiana (3-0) came close to 100 points for the third straight game and probably would have hit triple digits in back-to-back games if coach Kelvin Sampson hadn't pulled his starters early. The Hoosiers have won 20 straight at home.

Todd Hendley scored 20 points and Chad Tomko added 17 for North Carolina-Wilmington (1-2).

No. 11 Marquette 91, Oklahoma State 61

At Lahaina, Hawaii, Marquette defended and hustled its way into the championship game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Jerel McNeal had 20 points and Dominic James added 18 to lead the Golden Eagles in a never-in-doubt semifinal victory over Oklahoma State. Terrel Harris had 17 points and freshman James Anderson added 14 for the Cowboys (2-2).

Marquette (4-0) will play Duke for the title on Wednesday night.

Saint Mary's 99, No. 12 Oregon 87

At Moraga, Calif., Patty Mills set the Saint Mary's freshman scoring record with 37 points, and added five assists, two steals and only one turnover that came with 3 minutes to go.

Mills led the Gaels (4-0) to their first win over a ranked opponent in nearly three years in a rocking, sold-out arena.

Kamyron Brown scored 20 points, Maarty Leunen had 17 and 11 rebounds, and Tajuan Porter 13 before fouling out for Oregon (4-1).

No. 13 Duke 79, Illinois 66

At Lahaina, Hawaii, Gerald Henderson scored 23 points and DeMarcus Nelson added 16 to lead the Blue Devils over Illinois in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Duke (4-0) will meet No. 11 Marquette, which beat Oklahoma State 91-61, on Wednesday night for the shot at title No. 4.

The Blue Devils are 11-0 on the island, having won the championship in 1992, 1997 and 2001. No other school has more than two Maui titles in the 24 years of the tournament.

Brian Randle had 16 points to lead the Fighting Illini (3-1).

No. 23 Virginia 72, Drexel 58

At Charlottesville, Va., Sean Singletary had 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Cavaliers (4-0) led 31-25 at halftime and used a 10-2 run in the second half to stretch their lead to double digits.

Frank Elegar led Drexel (3-1) with 23 points.

No. 25 Florida 102, North Florida 51

At Gainesville, Fla., Marreese Speights had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Walter Hodge added 14 points and the Gators overwhelmed North Florida.

The Gators (5-0) extended their winning streak to 15 games and pushed their home winning streak to 24.

DeVon Jones scored 12 points to lead North Florida, which lost its 34th consecutive road game. The Ospreys (1-4), in their third season at the Division I level, have never beaten another Division I team away from home.