UCLA Smothers CS Fullerton, 120-91

Box Score

Dec. 13, 1997

LOS ANGELES- J.R. Henderson scored 23 points and Kris Johnson added 15 in his eagerly awaited season debut as 14th-ranked UCLA smothered Fullerton State, 120-91.

Toby Bailey added 19 points for the Bruins (4-1), who recorded their fourth straight victory after a 41-point loss to North Carolina to start the season. UCLA scored its most points since a 137-100 victory over George Mason in the 1994-95 season.

Johnson, who was suspended by the school on September 29th with center Jelani McCoy, entered the game with 7:31 left in the first half and made an immediate impact with a steal and layup two seconds later. McCoy has been partially reinstated by the school but has yet to play this season.

Johnson, Henderson and freshman point guard Baron Davis did not start because they were late to the morning shootaround. Johnson shot 5-of-7 from the field, made his only three-point shot and hit all four of his free throws.

"I was definitely antsy," said Johnson. "I tried sitting back, be in the flow and made shots when I had them. I didn't know if I was going to go in. I was nervous and excited when I got the call, I felt like smiling."

"Kris Johnson played a solid game," said Bruins coach Steve Lavin. "He didn't try to do too much, he was patient and didn't try to force the action."

Chris Dade scored 26 points and Ike Harmon added 14 for the Titans (4-3), who lost for the first time in four games when scoring 80 or more points and allowed the most points in school history. Fullerton State allowed 117 points to Cal State-Northridge on February 29th, 1964.

"We didn't plan to give up 120 points," said Titans coach Bob Hawking. "Tonight was a picture of a complete domination by the Bruins. Obviously, on the defensive side, we didn't get the job done. They could do no wrong this evening."

UCLA leads the all-time series, 8-0, and defeated Cal State-Fullerton for the sixth time this decade.

The Titans took their last lead at 10-7 following a three-pointer by Chris St. Clair 2:17 into the contest. UCLA responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a three-pointer from Billy Knight that made it 14-10 at the 15:54 mark.

Dade converted a three-point play that pulled Fullerton State within 27-23 with 10:30 remaining before the Bruins took control with an 11-0 spurt as Henderson and Bailey hit two free throws each before Brandon Loyd sank two foul shots following a technical on the Titans for an illegal substitution.

Henderson hit a six-footer before Earl Watson buried a three-pointer to make it 38-23 with 8:41 remaining. Another 7-0 run by UCLA extended the lead to 59-39 following two free throws by Johnson with 2:53 remaining.

UCLA shot a blistering 65 percent (21-of-32) from the field in the first half and added 18 free throws. The Bruins methodically built the lead to 102-68 with 9:32 remaining following a three-pointer by Loyd. But Fullerton State reeled off 19 straight points in a 3:44 span that reduced the deficit to 102-87 following a three-pointer by Dade with 5:48 to go.

The Bruins answered with a 15-1 tear, capped by a fastbreak bucket from Travis Reed that made it 117-88 with 3:24 to play. UCLA shot 64 percent (44-of-69) from the field and held a 44-33 rebounding advantage. Knight finished with a career-high 15 points.

"I was glad Billy Knight was able to start so he could get some minutes and some shots," Lavin added. "Our young players having the opportunity to start is positive."