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December 24, 2008
UCLA rolls again to victory
He figures to get it even after Shipp returns.
Roll scored 18 of his career-high 25 points in the first half, and No. 13 UCLA overwhelmed outmanned Wyoming 113-62 on Tuesday night for its fifth straight victory.
UCLA coach Ben Howland has said that Shipp, a senior who has started 110 games in his career, will return to the lineup upon his return, but his absence hasn't hurt the Bruins (9-2) one bit. Roll filled in with 16 points in a 76-59 victory over Mercer last Saturday night in his first start in almost two years.
"He'll (Roll) definitely get more minutes the way he's playing now," Howland said. "I'm happy for Mike. You think what he had to go through last year with his foot injury. He's definitely earning more and more playing time."
Roll played in only six games before rupturing his plantar fascia in his left foot last season. He was awarded another year of eligibility, so he's a junior this season for the second straight year.
Roll averaged 15.3 minutes in UCLA's first nine games this season. He played 33 against Mercer and 26 against Wyoming.
"That's what every player hopes for," Roll replied when asked about a desire for more playing time. "That's not under my control. I'm just going to play as hard as I can when I'm in there."
The 6-foot-5 Roll surpassed his previous career high of 17 points by making the fourth of his five 3-pointers with 3 seconds left in the half, giving the Bruins a 59-34 lead.
Roll was 9-of-13 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, before coming out of the game for good with 6:57 remaining. He was 6-of-7, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, against Mercer.
The Bruins' 59 first-half points were the most since they scored 61 against Portland on Dec. 14, 2002, and their 113 points were the most since a 114-97 victory over Cal State Northridge on Dec. 19, 1998.
"We played a great game," Howland said. "We forced 29 turnovers and while they shot a high percentage, it was because a lot of their possessions ended in turnovers."
UCLA shot 60.3 percent to Wyoming's 53.5 percent, and while they were forcing the Cowboys into a season-high 29 turnovers, they committed only 10.
Darren Collison added 19 points and seven assists for UCLA, while freshman Malcolm Lee scored a career-high 16 points, freshman Drew Gordon had career-highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Alfred Aboya added 12 points.
Sean Ogirri led Wyoming (9-2) with 14 points - all in the first half. Tyson Johnson added 11 points and Brandon Ewing and Mikhail Linskens had 10 each for the Cowboys, whose 9-1 start was their best since they won 11 of their first 12 games in 1990-91.
But they entered having played a soft schedule, beating Cal State Bakersfield, Prairie View A&M, Johnson & Wales, Texas State, Denver, Loyola Marymount, Northern Iowa, Western State and Sacramento State and losing to Boise State.
"They are as good as advertised," Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer said of UCLA. "They capitalized on every mistake. I liked this experience tonight. It was the first time we got punched in the mouth. It's great when you play a top 10 team and they expose things."
"We have to get better. When you turn the ball over 29 times, it's going to be hard to beat a top team like UCLA."
The Cowboys certainly weren't intimidated at the beginning of their first game against a ranked team this season, making their first seven shots for a 16-12 lead. Ogirri had eight points on two 3-pointers and another basket.
That only seemed to make UCLA angry. Roll scored six points and Collison and Gordon added four each during a 20-5 run that gave the Bruins a 32-21 lead, and they led the rest of the way.
It was 32-25 when the Bruins broke the game open, outscoring the Cowboys 27-9 to finish the first half for their 25-point lead. Roll made three 3-pointers for nine points, Lee added eight and Collison had six during the run.
UCLA shot 21-of-33 (63.6 percent) in the first half including 8-of-12 from 3-point range. Wyoming went 13-of-25 including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, but the Cowboys were 6-of-18 after their hot start.
The Bruins' domination continued at the beginning of the second half, with Roll scoring the first five points and Aboya the next three to make it 67-34. UCLA led by as many as 54 points.