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Updated: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 1:15 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(20) Michigan St 76, UCLA 64

EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- UCLA started four talented freshmen. Michigan State countered with the experienced play of Paul Davis and Chris Hill.

Davis scored 18 points and Hill added 15 as the No. 20 Spartans used decisive runs in both halves for a 76-64 win over the Bruins.

The freshmen helped UCLA to a 25-23 lead with 8:36 left in the first half. But Michigan State (7-2), which plays three seniors and two juniors among its top six players, took control by outscoring the Bruins, 19-7, over the rest of the first half for a 42-32 lead.

Hill, a senior, opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers and Davis followed with a pair of inside jumpers to give the Spartans a 52-32 lead.

"I thought that we played pretty well in the first half, very well in the start of the second, and we had our chances to really do some things," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We made some mistakes, but the run we had in the second half, the execution of our offense, I thought was phenomenal.

"We isolated Paul Davis and we did a very good job of getting him the ball, so our guards deserve credit for that. Chris Hill hit some big shots and made some key in-bounds plays.

Behind six points from Josh Shipp and Arron Afflalo, both freshmen, UCLA (6-2) cut the lead to 62-52 before Davis scored on a dunk and two free throws to push the advantage to 66-52. The Bruins cut the lead to 70-59 before Hill ended any thought of a comeback with a 3-pointer with 3:47 remaining.

"Overall, we felt good about how we played and we have to continue to build on that," Hill said. "This is definitely a big win for us. We're still building and getting momentum heading into the Big Ten season. This is a game we had to have and wanted to play well in."

Davis, a junior, scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the second half.

"We didn't have an answer for Paul Davis," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Davis is a very good player. We tried to cover down. He did a good job kicking the ball out to hit a couple (3-pointers), one out to Hill to start the second half. They were a team that shot a lot of (3-pointers) tonight, 27 out of 57 attempts from the field. I thought we needed to get to the rim a lot more than we did."

Shipp scored a season-high 18 for UCLA, Afflalo had 16 and senior Dijon Thompson had 15 points and 11 rebounds. The trio shot 18-of-35 but the rest of the team went 6-of-22.

Freshman point guard Jordan Farmar was held to seven points on 2-of-12 from the floor for the Bruins, which shot under 39 percent (22-of-57) from the floor and committed 18 turnovers.

"They were a good defensive help team," Afflalo said. "I tried to penetrate a few times and get in the lane but they closed it down and forced some turnovers. I guess we didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had."


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