Top-ranked Bruins use balanced attack to ace Oakland

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After a week of final exams and their toughest basketball test of the season, the No. 1 UCLA Bruins got to enjoy a bit of vacation Saturday night.

Darren Collison had 15 points and Arron Afflalo added 14 to help the Bruins rout Oakland, Mich., 74-53.

The easy win came a week after UCLA's closest and roughest game of the season, a 65-62 victory over then-No. 6 Texas A&M in the John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim.

That was followed by days and nights of papers and exams.

"It's was a long week," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We had guys studying, staying up late and a tough game at the Wooden Classic."

Josh Shipp had 13 points, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added a season-high 12 rebounds for UCLA (9-0), which pulled away with an 18-0 run late in the first half and early in the second. Collison went 5-for-8 from the field and made all three of his free throws, and Afflalo shot 6-for-10 from the field.

Asked if they managed as well on their finals, Collison said, "Next question." Afflalo said, "I'm eligible."

UCLA and No. 8 Wichita State are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the Associated Press Top 10 after No. 2 Pittsburgh's 89-75 loss to No. 7 Wisconsin earlier Saturday.

Shawn Hopes had 17 points for the Grizzlies, and Vova Severovas had 11.

Oakland (6-7) is playing a tough schedule. The Grizzlies lost at Pittsburgh 66-55 Nov. 19 and will play at Marquette (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) on Tuesday night.

They shot just 32.1 percent from the field, to UCLA's 50.9 percent.

Oakland did manage to shoot 15-for-17 from the free throw line and managed to beat the Bruins on the boards 38-33, a stat that bothered Howland to no end.

"They must have a heck of a weight program," Howland said. "We've been out-boarded two weeks in a row now. If we continue to get beat on the boards, we are going to lose."

Howland was also unhappy with the Bruins 10-for-18 performance from the line, with Shipp going 3-for-7.

"Sometimes I play around in practice," Shipp said Howland told him during the game. "I need to get more serious."

UCLA scored the last 12 points of the first half after leading by just two with 4:12 to play.

Russell Westbrook made a bank shot and free throw during the run, and Darren Collison had a three-point play and made a jumper in the lane with a second to go to put UCLA up 33-19 at the half.

"That's three games in a row we've had a shot at the buzzer to finish the first half," Howland said. "We've finished first halves well."

Baskets by Mbah a Moute, Darren Collison and Lorenzo Mata opened the second half to complete the run and give the Bruins a 39-19 lead. UCLA held Oakland scoreless for more than 6 minutes during the stretch.

Shipp made a 3-pointer a few minutes later to give the Bruins their biggest lead to that point, 42-21 with 16:44 to play.

UCLA led by as many as 24, Oakland would get no closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Other than the challenge from Texas A&M, UCLA is amid a month of lesser opponents from small conferences that culminates against Sam Houston State on Tuesday, before they face Michigan next Saturday and then begin the Pac-10 Conference season.

In recent weeks the Bruins won by 30 over Long Beach State, beat UC Riverside by 23 and Cal State Fullerton by 24. Their average margin of victory on the season is 17.

Those numbers are bound to change. After they open the conference season against Washington St. Dec. 28, the Bruins face Washington (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) on New Year's Eve and Oregon (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) a week later.

UCLA led from the opening basket Saturday.

Michael Roll made a layup and followed it with a jumper to give UCLA a 15-8 lead with 11:42 to play in the first half.

But Oakland stayed with the Bruins, answering with an 11-6 run. The Grizzlies pulled within three at 17-14 after a pair of free throws from Hopes, and later within two at 21-19 after a 3-pointer from Derick Nelson with 4:12 left in the half.

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