Dec. 21, 2004
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Paul Davis scored 18 points and No. 23 Michigan State had a big run in each half in a 76-64 victory over UCLA on Tuesday night.
The Spartans (7-2) won their fourth straight game thanks to a 14-1 run in the first half, 10 unanswered points after halftime and balanced scoring. Michigan State's Chris Hill scored 15 points, three Spartans had nine and freshman Drew Neitzel tied a season-high with eight points.
Freshman Josh Shipp scored a career-high 18 points for the Bruins (6-2), who were off to their best start since the 1997-98 season. Arron Afflalo added 15 points for UCLA and Dijon Thompson had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
UCLA started four freshmen for the first time in six years. With Thompson, a senior, also in the lineup, the Bruins were very competitive early. There were 10 lead changes and six ties over the first 12 minutes before Michigan State pulled away.
When the Spartans went on their first-half run sparked by Neitzel's passing and shooting, former Michigan State and Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson rose to his feet and cheered from a suite. Johnson, who was born and raised in Lansing, was back in the area to spend the holidays with his parents.
The Spartans' first spurt gave them a 37-26 lead late in the first half and they were ahead by 10 at halftime.
Hill opened the second half with consecutive 3-pointers and Davis followed with two baskets on low-post moves to put Michigan State ahead 52-32. The Bruins cut their deficit to 11 midway through the second half, but couldn't get closer.
Michigan State held UCLA to 34.4 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers.