No. 12 Bruins Stave Off Upset-Minded Wagner, 74-72

Dec. 21, 2005

Box Score

Game Recap/Coach Howland Postgame

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Unheralded Wagner College gave No. 12 UCLA all it could handle, and Bruins coach Ben Howland said it was no fluke.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored from underneath with 14 seconds remaining Wednesday night, lifting UCLA to a hard-fought 74-72 victory.

"I'm glad we got that win. That's a tough, hard-nosed team that came in determined to beat us on our home court," Howland said. "We were fortunate to come away with a victory."

Mbah a Moute made his only field goal of the second half after Jordan Farmar found him alone under the basket.

"It was an isolation for me," Farmar said. "I saw a man run at me. He was wide open, and I got him the ball."

Said Mbah a Moute: "I knew it was coming. I just got ready and finished it. And it was a great pass by Jordan."

Wagner was unable to get a shot off after that thanks to UCLA's hard-nosed defense. Mark Porter's wild 3-pointer from about 30 feet came after the final buzzer sounded, and wasn't close.

"Give them credit, they did a good job defensively on the last possession," Wagner coach Mike Deane said. "I thought we played well enough to win. It was a very disappointing loss, but they made the plays they needed to make in the last 30 seconds and we didn't.

"To be in position to win this game, that's a good statement. We were equal with UCLA tonight. For us as a program to compete at UCLA, it's a testament of how far our team has come as a program."

The win was the sixth straight for UCLA and its ninth consecutive victory at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins (9-1) are off to their best start in eight years.

Wagner (6-2) is off to its best start since the 1979-80 season. The Seahawks, members of the Northeast Conference, had their four-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the fourth time in 21 games dating to last January.

Arron Afflalo led a balanced UCLA attack with 13 points, all but two after halftime. Farmar had 12 points and nine assists - one off his career high. Freshman Darren Collison scored a career-high 12 points; sophomore Lorenzo Mata had a career-best 11, and Cedric Bozeman also scored 11. Mbah a Moute finished with six points and seven rebounds.

UCLA won despite going 1-of-13 from 3-point range and 9-of-18 from the free throw line. The Bruins outrebounded the Seahawks 32-25.

Porter led Wagner with 19 points and five assists. Durell Vinson and DeEarnest McLemore each added 11 points and Jamal Smith scored 10 for the Seahawks.

Wagner was called for 18 fouls to only eight for the Bruins. UCLA shot 16-of-25 in the second half and 32-of-61 overall, while the Seahawks shot 14-of-24 after halftime and 28-of-52 overall, including 10-of-16 from 3-point range.

A 3-pointer by Porter with 1:54 to play gave Wagner a 71-70 lead, but Farmar's short jumper 27 seconds later, his first field goal of the second half, put the Bruins ahead. Vinson made a foul shot with 1:09 left to tie it at 72.

Collison scored four points during an 8-0 run that gave the Bruins a 61-59 lead with 6:44 to play. Neither team led by more than two points after that.

Porter scored seven points during a 16-7 run to start the second half, giving the Seahawks a 49-42 lead.

Afflalo made UCLA's only 3-pointer of the game with 11:55 left to trim Wagner's lead to three points, but a basket by McLemore and a 3-pointer by Matt Vitale made it 57-49 with 10 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Bruins came into the game off victories over two previously unbeaten teams - No. 20 Nevada and Michigan. But the smaller Seahawks didn't seem intimidated, taking a 20-12 lead in the opening 10 minutes.

UCLA missed its first seven free throws before Mata made the second of two attempts, triggering a 13-4 run that put the Bruins ahead 25-24.

UCLA led 35-33 at halftime. The lead would have been larger had the Bruins not missed the seven free throws, several layups and all seven of their 3-point shots. They outrebounded the Seahawks 24-13 in the half.e half.

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