No. 1 UCLA Cruises Past Long Beach State

Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 6:31 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Newly anointed as the nation's No. 1 team, UCLA played the first half against Long Beach State like it hadn't heard the news.

Fresh off winning the Maui Invitational last week and still drained from traveling all day Friday, the Bruins found themselves in a two-point game late in the first half Tuesday night.

Eventually, they got it together in their first game at No. 1 since 1995 behind Josh Shipp's career-high 24 points and 20 from Arron Afflalo that finished off an 88-58 victory.

``We came out as if that team wasn't going to come after us,'' Afflalo said. ``There's been a lot of hoopla about our ranking. At halftime, we said we don't want to discuss that anymore.''

Coach Ben Howland found plenty to rant about, especially the Bruins' lethargic effort.

``I talked to them nicely and asked them to play harder,'' Howland said.

The Bruins responded after halftime by scoring on their first eight possessions in a 15-0 run that gave them a 56-35 lead and the rout was on.

UCLA improved to 5-0 for the first time since the 1995 national championship team started the same way.

In other Top 25 games on Tuesday night, it was: No. 4 Florida 83, Southern 27; No. 5 Kansas 83, Dartmouth 32; No. 6 Alabama 75, Louisiana-Monroe 61; No. 11 Duke 54, Indiana 51; No. 12 Wisconsin 81, Florida State 66; No. 16 Arizona 89, UNLV 75; No. 21 Georgia Tech 77, Penn State 73; and No. 23 Maryland 72, Illinois 66.

Freshman Russell Westbrook added a career-high 11 points and Darren Collison had 10 and a career-high nine of UCLA's 15 steals.

The Bruins hit 13 3-pointers, led by Shipp's career-high six and Westbrook's 3-of-3 from long-range.

Sterling Byrd led Long Beach State (2-3) with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

``They came out and busted us,'' he said.

But not before the 49ers kept it close in the first half by controlling the boards, 25-14, shooting 47 percent from the floor and outscoring UCLA 20-8 in the paint.

UCLA led 41-36 at the break after blowing most of a 14-point lead, built on the strength of eight 3-pointers, including four by Shipp. After he hit back-to-back long-range baskets with 5 minutes remaining, the 49ers outscored the Bruins 16-7 to end the half.

It was the last serious challenge the 49ers would mount.

``They're extremely athletic, they're very efficient in what they do, they're playing together and they look like they're ready to roll,'' Long Beach State coach Larry Reynolds said.

Westbrook spelled Collison at point guard for a 4-minute stretch and promptly hit three consecutive 3-pointers from the same spot in front of the Bruins' bench for a 67-45 lead.

``They ran a lot of double screens and they got some pretty big guys running those screens for them,'' Reynolds said.

UCLA improved to 11-0 against Long Beach State, which shot 36 percent, lowest by an opponent this season.

No. 4 Florida 83, Southern 27

Al Horford scored 12 points, Walter Hodge added nine in place of Corey Brewer and host Florida (7-1) rebounded from its first loss with a rout against winless Southern (0-6).

Brewer, the team's best defender and most versatile player, sat out with mononucleosis and could miss several more games while recovering from the viral infection. Hodge was 4-for-6 from the field, with six assists and two rebounds.

No. 5 Kansas 83, Dartmouth 32

Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson each scored 13 points to help host Kansas (6-1) hand Dartmouth one of its worst losses ever.

DeVon Mosely scored 13 points for Dartmouth (0-6).

No. 6 Alabama 75, Louisiana-Monroe 61

Mykal Riley and Alonzo Gee each scored 22 points and Alabama rallied for a victory over visiting Louisiana-Monroe.

The Crimson Tide (6-0) trailed by five points early in the second half, then surged ahead with a 21-4 run fueled by a smothering defense that forced seven turnovers and set up several fastbreak baskets.

Tony Hooper led Louisiana-Monroe (3-4) with 19 points.

No. 11 Duke 54, Indiana 51

DeMarcus Nelson scored 19 points as host Duke held on to beat Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Freshman Jon Scheyer had 10 points for the Blue Devils (6-1), who extended their nonconference home winning streak to 45 games and remained the only unbeaten team in the eight-year history of the challenge.

Freshman Armon Bassett scored 16 points to lead the Hoosiers (3-2).

No. 12 Wisconsin 81, Florida State 66

Alando Tucker scored 22 points, including 18 after being poked in the eye, and host Wisconsin beat Florida State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Badgers (6-1) took advantage in a physical game by capitalizing on sloppy play by Florida State (4-2), which turned the ball over 21 times.

Toney Douglas scored 24 points to lead Florida State.

No. 16 Arizona 89, UNLV 75

Ivan Radenovic scored a career-high 27 points and Marcus Williams added 24 to help Arizona beat visiting UNLV.

Chase Budinger scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (4-1.

Wendell White scored 18 points and Kevin Kruger had 16 for the Runnin' Rebels (4-2).

No. 21 Georgia Tech 77, Penn State 73

Lewis Clinch scored 20 points and Anthony Morrow's late free throws sealed Georgia Tech's victory over visiting Penn State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Yellow Jackets (6-1) were coming off a loss to now-No. 1 UCLA in the title game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational last week.

Jamelle Cornley led the Nittany Lions (4-2) with 20 points.

No. 23 Maryland 72, Illinois 66

Mike Jones scored 19 points to help Maryland beat Illinois in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and end the Illini's 51-game home-court winning streak against non-conference opponents.

The Terrapins (8-0) blew a 15-point lead before recovering to beat the Illini.

Illinois (7-1), which last lost at home against a non-conference team in 1998, had 18 points from Shaun Pruitt.