UCLA Nips New Mexico State, 100-68
Dec. 15, 2009
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Malcolm Lee led five players in double figures with a career-high 20 points and UCLA defeated New Mexico State 100-68 Tuesday night to end a five-game losing streak.
Reeves Nelson added 16 points, Michael Roll and Tyler Honeycutt 14 each and Jerime Anderson 13 for the Bruins (3-6), who came within a defeat of equaling the worst losing skid of coach Ben Howland's seven seasons in Westwood.
Instead, they scored 100 points for the first time in Howland's defensive-minded tenure. That hadn't happened since a 105-67 win over Portland on Dec. 14, 2002, under Steve Lavin.
Jahmar Young led the Aggies (3-6) with 13 points and Gordo Castillo and Jonathan Gibson added 11 each in the first meeting between the teams since 2005-06.
The victory didn't come without a loss for UCLA, though.
Starting forward James Keefe left at the 12:33 mark of the first half with an injured left shoulder, the same one he had surgery on in 2007 to repair a torn labrum. He didn't return and was to be evaluated at a hospital. He was scoreless with two rebounds when he got hurt.
Nelson took an elbow to his right cheek, resulting in a cut, but he continued playing.
The Bruins were coming off an 18-point loss to Mississippi State in the John R. Wooden Classic last weekend in which they lost their fifth in a row in front of the school's legendary former coach.
If he was watching at home Tuesday night, Wooden surely had to like what he saw this time.
The Bruins played better defensively, made free throws and hit from long range, things that had been lacking in most of their first eight games.
They stretched a 21-point halftime lead to 33 points with a 15-3 run to open the second half. Lee and Anderson scored five points each while holding the Aggies to one field goal in the first five minutes.
From there, the Bruins scored on nearly every trip down the floor. The Aggies hit six of their 11 3-pointers in the half, but never threatened.
After turning the ball over twice to start the game, the Bruins settled down and ran off to a 20-8 lead. Lee and Roll hit consecutive 3-pointers in the spurt before Hamidu Rahman's bank shot gave the Aggies their first field goal in a span of 5:10.
UCLA shot 61 percent from the floor in the half, helped by Lee, who hit 5 of 6 from the floor and made all four of his free throws.
Nikola Dragovic's 3-pointer launched the Bruins on a 21-6 spree, highlighted by five points each from Dragovic and Roll and four by Lee.
Castillo hit back-to-back 3-pointers and added another basket to cut the Aggies' deficit to 47-26 at the break.
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