Dec. 7, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Coming off a four-point loss at No. 8 Texas, UCLA coach Ben Howland was worried how the 12th-ranked Bruins would handle themselves.
There was plenty of sloppiness by both teams, but UCLA came away with an 85-67 victory over Cal State Northridge on Sunday night.
Josh Shipp scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half, freshman Jrue Holiday added 14 points, six steals, five rebounds and four assists, and Darren Collison had 14 points and six assists for the Bruins (5-2).
UCLA shot 39 percent in Thursday's loss to the Longhorns. This time, the Bruins shot 58 percent in a sloppy game that featured a combined 42 turnovers for the two teams.
"It was hard not to think about the loss," Collison said. "It was so close and we had a chance to win. The bus ride coming back was real tough."
For his part, Howland was concerned about Northridge's history at Pauley Pavilion, where it stunned the Bruins 78-74 in the 2000-01 season, and his team's reaction to what he called the "heartbreaking" loss to Texas.
"I was worried about them looking at the record of their opponent and having a letdown," Howland said of his team.
Northridge (1-6) ended its longest road trip in 15 years with an 0-6 record, losing at Stanford, Cal State Bakersfield, New Mexico, Rider, Drexel and UCLA, located 15 miles from its campus.
"I'm just happy to get home," Northridge coach Bobby Braswell said. "We've had this six-game road trip, we played against one of the top defensive teams in the country and we turned the ball over way too many times."
Tremaine Townsend scored a career-high 23 points for the Matadors. Kenny Daniels had career-highs with 13 points and six rebounds.
Howland used 11 players, including all of his five freshmen, and they put the game away in the first half.
"When we had the biggest leads was when our starters were on the floor," Howland said.
The Bruins built a 22-point lead with a 24-6 run midway through the first half. Shipp scored the first seven points and Nikola Dragovic's layin finished it off with UCLA ahead 37-15 and most of the starters on the bench.
The Matadors closed the half with a 12-4 spurt to trail 41-27 at the break.
"We did a very good job in the first half defensively and forced turnovers," Howland said.
UCLA quickly stretched its lead to 23 points early in the second half, helped by consecutive 3-pointers from Collison and another by Holiday.
Northridge's only run of the half, a 9-2 spurt, got the Matadors within 15 points with 13 minutes remaining. The Matadors shot 60 percent in the half, consistently scoring each time down the floor.
"I like that we showed heart, we didn't quit," Braswell said. "The second half we executed much better."
But the Bruins picked up where they left off, scoring seven in a row to extend their lead to 67-45. Soon, they earned their largest lead of 23 points on a basket by Alfred Aboya.
UCLA freshman Drew Gordon had nine points and five rebounds and showed no effects from a sprained left wrist he suffered in the first half against Texas.
"Drew Gordon had his best game of the year," Howland said. "He just played with a lot of intensity and I told him all that in front of the team."