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February 1, 2008

UCLA spanks ASU

LOS ANGELES(AP) There's no such thing as a flawless performance in the game of basketball. No. 5 UCLA gave it a run Thursday night.

Josh Shipp broke out of a brief shooting slump with 21 points, freshman Kevin Love had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bruins overpowered Arizona State 84-51 to hand the Sun Devils their fourth straight loss.

"I just thought our play was exceptional tonight," said UCLA coach Ben Howland, whose team shot 31-for-53 including 8-for-12 from 3-point range. "I told the team afterward that's the best we've attacked the zone in my five years here, by far."

Relying on their zone, the Sun Devils held their previous 19 opponents to an average of 59.7 points. The Bruins reached 60 less than six minutes into the second half.

UCLA held ASU to an 18-for-47 shooting performance, and outrebounded the Sun Devils 36-20. The Bruins committed only three of their 12 turnovers in the first half in taking a 46-24 lead.

"Obviously, we got whipped in every facet of the game," ASU coach Herb Sendek said. "We just have to keep working. No player in particular stood out tonight."

Shipp, who shot 5-for-18 including 2-for-12 from 3-point range in victories at Oregon and Oregon State last weekend, was 6-for-11 including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc against ASU before coming out for good with 10:32 remaining.

"It was definitely in a slump," Shipp said with a smile. "We're just playing good basketball. Everyone's unselfish. We're having fun out there."

Love, who shot 9-for-11 in his 12th double-double of the season, said the Bruins were ready for ASU's zone.

"There were a lot of games early in the season where we didn't play well against zones," Love said. "It was one of those nights where we really played together."

Darren Collison was perfect shooting the ball, making five field goal attempts and two free throws for 14 points. He also had a season-high nine assists and just one turnover. Russell Westbrook had 10 points, seven assists and no turnovers for the Bruins (19-2, 7-1 Pac-10).

Collison has made 28 straight foul shots to move within eight of Henry Bibby's school record of 36 set in 1972.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute returned to action after sitting out two games because of a concussion, and had six points and five rebounds. He was limited to five first-half minutes after picking up two quick fouls, but his absence made no difference.

Derek Glasser led the Sun Devils (14-6, 4-4) with 13 points. It wasn't a great homecoming for ASU freshman James Harden. The former Artesia High star, averaging a team-leading 18.8 points coming in, was held to nine on 2-for-6 shooting.

"That was one of the best defensive jobs we've done all year on a team's leading scorer," Howland said. "I thought Luc and Russell both did a great job. Everybody is connected. It was all good.

"Now, we've got to bounce back here and get ready for a very tough opponent."

The Bruins face Arizona on Saturday night. The Wildcats (15-6, 5-3) beat Southern California 80-69 Thursday night.

Howland said the only negative came in the final minute of the game, when backup center Lorenzo Mata-Real injured his left wrist when he took a charging foul. There was no immediate word as to the severity of the injury.

Shipp scored eight points and Love added five during a 15-5 run to start the second half, giving the Bruins a 61-29 lead. The only question after that involved the final margin of victory.

UCLA took charge in the opening eight minutes. ASU, coming off a painful 56-55 loss to No. 9 Washington State, scored first on a basket by Jamelle McMillan before being outscored 18-2 to fall behind by 14 points. The Sun Devils weren't closer than 10 points after that.

It was 24-7 before Harden finally scored, hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key midway through the first half. That triggered a 13-6 run that cut UCLA's lead to 30-20, but the Bruins responded with a 16-4 spurt to give them their 22-point halftime lead.



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