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January 4, 2008

UCLA prevails over Stanford

STANFORD, Calif.(AP) Josh Shipp pumped his fist, had words for the Stanford bench and fans, and generally backed up his bravado with a dazzling display of long-range shooting.

Shipp scored 21 points and sparked a second-half surge that led No. 5 UCLA to a 76-67 victory over the 24th-ranked Cardinal on Thursday night in the Pac-10 opener for both teams.

"Every time I step on the court I want to be aggressive and make a statement," Shipp said. "I was definitely more ready for this game than usual."

The animated Shipp, the middle of three brothers who have played in the Pac-10, hit five 3-pointers, including one with four minutes left that gave the Bruins (13-1) an 11-point lead and all but sealed the contest.

Shipp's older brother Joe played at California and his younger brother Jerren Shipp plays at Arizona State.

"Josh's eyes were bugging out the whole game," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "He was really fired up and it showed. I've never seen him so ready to play one game in the three years I've known him."

Russell Westbrook added 15 points for the two-time defending Pac-10 champions, who won their sixth straight game and beat Stanford for the fourth time in five meetings. Kevin Love added 15 points for the Bruins.

UCLA, ranked third at the time, lost to unranked Stanford last year, something that bothered the Bruins.

"That loss was a motivating factor," Shipp said. "We looked at that tape and didn't want that to happen again. This was a new season, the Pac-10 opener."

Anthony Goods scored 17 points to lead the Cardinal (11-2), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Brook Lopez had 13 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the final three minutes.

Robin Lopez also fouled out with eight points and 12 rebounds. Mitch Johnson scored 10 points.

"I felt we were right there the entire game," Goods said. "We had a couple of missed blockouts, especially on free throws, that really hurt. They made the plays down the stretch and started to open up the lead."

UCLA sophomore forward James Keefe was pressed into service for the first time this year. He was scheduled to use his redshirt season following August surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder but injuries to Mustafa Abdul-Hamid and Michael Roll forced Howland's hand.

Lorenzo Mata-Real, who missed the last game with a strained left groin, returned to the Bruins lineup.

Abdul-Hamid missed his sixth game with a stress reaction in his right foot and Roll reinjured the plantar fascia in his left foot on Dec. 31, and will miss at least three weeks.

Both teams outrebounded their opponents by 11 through the preseason, and rebounding was a point of emphasis for each squad. The Cardinal won the battle with 35 rebounds, four more than the Bruins.

Stanford was the first team which could match the Bruins' size and physicality, and vice versa. Second chances were rare. UCLA outmuscled the Cardinal, especially during a rough second half.

"It was a physical game," Love said. "I could go up and maybe get past one Lopez, but then there would be the other one."

The Bruins had a chance to add to a slim lead when Stanford went three minutes without scoring midway through the second half, missing six shots during the span.

UCLA also went into a slight drought and the game remained close until Shipp hit a 3-pointer and another inside jumper to extend the Bruins lead to 61-51 with six minutes to play.

"Down the stretch there were three or four key opportunities where we didn't block out, or we turned the ball over," Cardinal coach Trent Johnson said. "We had shots that didn't go down for us in the post and their quickness caused us some problems."

There were nine lead changes - and the game was tied four times - in the first half alone. The Bruins hit their first four 3-point tries and were 6-of-12 from long range in taking a 35-34 halftime lead.



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