No. 7 UCLA Rallies to Defeat Davidson, 75-63

Dec. 8, 2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The next time UCLA shows up in Anaheim could be in March for early round NCAA tournament games. The Bruins hope that visit won't be nearly so worrisome.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 21 points and the seventh-ranked Bruins made up an 18-point deficit to beat Davidson 75-63 in the John Wooden Classic on Saturday.

'I was really worried about this game,' UCLA coach Ben Howland said. 'I would not want to be the team that will play them in the NCAA tournament.'

The Bruins (8-1) joined No. 1 North Carolina and Duke, then ranked seventh, as powerhouse programs that got a scare from mid-major Davidson. The Wildcats (3-5) lost by a combined 10 points to the two ACC schools, and had UCLA down the entire first half.

'We didn't come here to play it close. We came here to win it,' Davidson coach Bob McKillop said.

Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA 3-point specialist Dell Curry, led Davidson with 15 points, extending his streak of double-figure games to 35. Jason Richards added 13 points and seven assists, a category in which he leads the nation.

'We came into the season wanting to compete and win a couple of these games,' Curry said. 'It's very disappointing to have these opportunities and not capitalize on them.'

Josh Shipp added 15 points, Russell Westbrook had 14 and Darren Collison 10 for UCLA, which was coming off a two-point loss to Texas last weekend, its first of the season.

In that game, the Bruins fell behind by 16 points in the first half.

'If we had the answer, we wouldn't do it,' Shipp said. 'It's our intensity level; we don't come out with the great level we need.'

The Wildcats shot 52 percent in the first half, when they had UCLA down by 18 on the strength of a 32-14 game-opening run. During one stretch, Bryant Barr and Thomas Sander combined to hit four consecutive 3-pointers.

'We got going really quick and got some easy shots, and we fed off our defensive stops,' Curry said.

UCLA's Kevin Love picked up two quick fouls to start the game and the freshman was visibly frustrated on the bench. He spent the rest of the half shuttling in and out before finishing the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

'That's Kevin's biggest attribute right now, his ability to rebound on defense,' Howland said.

Love's putback launched UCLA's 19-6 run that left the Bruins trailing 34-30 at halftime. Mbah a Moute scored eight points, including seven in a row, and the Bruins clamped down on defense, with their double-teams forcing turnovers.

'That (7-0 run) was the snowball that started us rolling in the wrong direction,' McKillop said.

Mbah a Moute hit a 3-pointer early in the second half that gave UCLA its first lead of the game. From there, the teams traded leads until the Bruins went on an 8-0 run to go up 48-41.

'My teammates did a good job attacking and driving,' Mbah a Moute said. 'I had open shots, so I had to knock them down.'

UCLA stayed in front the rest of the way, although Davidson kept cutting the lead. Richards hit two 3s and Curry added another to get to 70-63 with 3:20 remaining.

Richards, Sanders and Stephen Rossiter were in foul trouble in the second half, while Curry was limited to eight points in the final 20 minutes mostly because of Westbrook's defense.

'He did a great job chasing me all game and made it tough for me to get easy shots,' Curry said.

The Bruins shot 67 percent in the second half, and held the Wildcats to 41 percent while dominating the boards 37-18. They made 21 free throws to Davidson's one.

The only other time Davidson and UCLA played was in 1975, Wooden's final season when the Bruins won by 27 points. The 97-year-old coach was helped up to wave at the crowd when he received a standing ovation in the second half.

UCLA improved to 8-3 in its 11 appearances in the doubleheader named for the school's former coach, who guided the Bruins to a record 10 national championships.

Saint Mary's beat San Diego State 69-64 in the first game.

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