No. 1 Bruins Put Away Sam Houston State, 75-61
Dec. 20, 2006
Ryan Bright and Jejuan Plair each had 12 points and six rebounds for Sam Houston State (6-5). Bright, who leads his team in scoring, fouled out with 4:47 remaining. James Barrett added 12 points for the Bearkats.
The Bruins scored the first five points of the second half for a 40-29 lead before Sam Houston State went on an 11-4 run to make it 44-40. But that's as close as the Bearkats would get.
A 3-pointer by Michael Roll and six straight points by Shipp extended UCLA's lead to 57-43 with 8:45 remaining, and the Bruins led by as many as 21 points after that.
UCLA missed 12 of its first 16 shots to begin the game, but wound up going 27-of-50 (54 percent) and outrebounded Sam Houston State 32-30. The Bearkats shot 26-of-57 (45.6 percent), including 2-of-16 from 3-point range.
The Bruins entered the game shooting just 59.8 percent from the free throw line, but made their first 10 and 12-of-13 in the first half. They finished 17-of-21 overall. The Bearkats were just 7-of-18 from the line.
UCLA didn't play like the nation's top-ranked team in taking a 35-29 halftime lead over Sam Houston State, preseason favorite to win the Southland Conference's West Division.
Plagued by several slow starts this season, the Bruins got off to another one as the Bearkats took a 9-2 lead in the opening four minutes behind five points by Bright and four by Shamir McDaniel.
Sam Houston State led 14-11 when Shipp's first two baskets and Afflalo's only field goal of the first half put the Bruins on top for the first time. They led the rest of the way.
Other than a 65-62 triumph over No. 13 Texas A&M, the Bruins breezed to one-sided victories over lesser opponents since winning the Maui Invitational last month, beating Long Beach State by 30 points, UC Riverside by 23, Cal State Fullerton by 24 and Oakland (Mich.) by 21.
The road figures to get much tougher since UCLA entertains Michigan (11-1) on Saturday before opening its Pac-10 schedule next week with home games against Washington State (10-1) and No. 17 Washington (8-1).
UCLA is one of four unbeaten teams in the Top 25, along with No. 8 Wichita State (9-0), No. 14 Connecticut (9-0) and No. 21 Oregon (10-0). The Bruins play at Oregon on Jan. 6 in their fourth Pac-10 game of the season.