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UCLA hangs on to beat Wagner

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 10½ 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.

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