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Saturday, December 22, 2012
Rapid Reaction: UCLA 91, Fresno State 78

By Peter Yoon

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA won a season-best fourth consecutive game with a tighter-than-expected 91-78 victory over Fresno State on Saturday Night at Pauley Pavilion. Here’s a quick rundown:

How it happened: After trailing most of the first half, UCLA (9-3) began the second half on an 11-5 run, and Shabazz Muhammad scored 11 of UCLA’s 13 points during a six-minute stretch of the second half in which the Bruins opened a 70-54 lead and took control of the game.

Fresno State (5-7) made 5-of-9 3-pointers in the first half, and led by as many as nine before the break, but UCLA closed the first half on a 16-5 run and took a 39-36 lead into halftime. The Bulldogs, a 30-percent 3-point shooting team that had made 9-of-54 in its last three games, made 10-of-17 against the Bruins.

Muhammad scored 20 of his career-high 27 points in the second half while Jordan Adams had 25 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Kyle Anderson had 20 points and 17 rebounds, both career highs. It marks the first time three UCLA freshmen have scored 20 or more in the same game.

Player of the game: Adams fell just short of leading the team in scoring for the seventh time this season. He made 10-of-14 shots overall and kept UCLA in the game during the first half while most everybody else was cold. He was 7-of-9 for 15 points before halftime. Anderson posted his third double-double of the season and added seven assists.

Stat of the game: UCLA is the first team to score 70 points against Fresno State this season. The Bulldogs had been giving up only 55.8 points per game and had held six consecutive opponents under 60. UCLA shot 58.1 percent from the floor against a Fresno State team that was holding opponents to 40 percent before the game.

What it means: The Bruins are still struggling on the defensive end, especially when it comes to leaving 3-point shooters open. That will be a major issue when they start facing teams with better outside shooters, but for now, UCLA will go into Christmas on a four-game win streak.

What’s next: UCLA plays No. 12 Missouri on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. It is UCLA’s biggest nonconference test, and the last game before Pac-12 play starts on Jan. 3. The game will be televised on ESPN2.