UCLA goes on cruise

first_imgSo think how high Shipp’s confidence is now, after he made 10 of 14 shots and tied a career high with 24 points to lead No. 5 UCLA to an 81-66 victory over 19th-ranked Arizona in front of 14,611 at McKale Court. UCLA (23-3, 12-2 Pac-10) stretched its lead in the Pac-10 to one game over idle Washington State, dealing the Wildcats (17-9, 8-7) their second-worst home loss in coach Lute Olson’s 24 seasons. Afflalo was dogged by foul trouble and an errant touch Saturday, and Collison needed a scoring partner. Shipp obliged. He found his groove with a 3-pointer that gave UCLA a 28-23 lead with 7:08 left in the first half, and he remained in the flow. Shipp scored seven of UCLA’s nine points as the Bruins stretched a 38-36 lead to 47-40 early in the second half, and his jumper from the left with 4:43 to play gave UCLA a 68-59 lead. “Josh Shipp had a tremendous game,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “I think this is going to be a turning point for Josh Shipp, getting back on track the way he was playing earlier this year.” Marcus Williams and Mustafa Shakur scored 17 points apiece for Arizona, but the Wildcats are not mired in the middle of the Pac-10 because of offensive troubles. UCLA cracked Arizona’s 2-3 zone with wide-open 3-pointers (13 of 28), ally-oop dunks on the backside and by corralling every loose ball. “When talking to our team, I said that (UCLA’s defense) is an example of what needs to be done,” Olson said. “That’s the kind of effort that it takes. If someone scores a bucket off of you, it should hurt, and it doesn’t hurt right now (for some guys). That’s the biggest problem we have.” brian.dohn@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Bruins also strengthened their position for a No. 1 seed in next month’s NCAA tournament and showed how dangerous they can be when a third scorer surfaces. “It’s about time, and it’s perfect timing,” UCLA guard Arron Afflalo said. “If a guy is going to go through his mental struggles, I’m glad he went through at that portion of the season. Now, it’s the most important time, when you want your better players to come along.” Bruins point guard Darren Collison scored 17 points and had a career-high 15 assists, one off Earl Watson’s school record. Afflalo had 15 points, but it was Shipp’s performance that elicited all the smiles. He was shooting 15.8 percent from 3-point range in conference play, and was 2 for his past 19. In his past seven games, Shipp was shooting 38.3 percent (18 of 47) from the field and averaging 8.8 points. “Numbers lie sometimes. You can’t always go by the numbers because they don’t always tell the whole story,” Shipp said. “I know I can shoot the ball, so I kept shooting. I’m not going to lie, it felt good. I’m going to keep shooting, though.” center_img TUCSON, Ariz. – Josh Shipp wasn’t just in a shooting slump. He had earned the distinction of being one of the worst-shooting wings in the Pacific-10 Conference. Yet, as he stood outside UCLA’s locker room flashing his ever-present smile and minimizing the importance of Saturday’s breakout game, he said he always maintained confidence in his shooting. last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *