No. 4 UCLA survives Miami of Ohio’s upset bid

  • Associated Press
  • Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:39pm
  • SportsSports

LOS ANGELES — Darren Collison made two free throws with 21 seconds remaining and No. 4 UCLA survived a defensive struggle to beat Miami (Ohio) 64-59 on Thursday night in the 2K Sports Classic.

The Bruins (2-0) advanced to next week’s semifinals against Michigan at New York’s Madison Square Garden. No. 8 Duke meets Southern Illinois in the other game.

Seniors Collison and Josh Shipp both scored 16 points to help UCLA earn its 30th consecutive home victory over a nonconference opponent. The veterans of three consecutive Final Fours generated the offense a night after UCLA’s five highly touted freshmen played impressive minutes in their college debuts.

Michael Bramos scored 22 points for the RedHawks (1-1).

Leading 42-40, Miami’s Adam Fletcher intentionally fouled James Keefe, who missed both free throws. But freshman Drew Gordon picked up his veteran teammate with a basket that evened the score, one of four ties in the second half.

Miami took another two-point lead before the Bruins ran off seven straight points, helped by Michael Roll’s 3-pointer, to go up 49-44 — their largest lead of the half.

But the RedHawks didn’t go away. Bramos continued hitting and Antonio Ballard’s 3-pointer — his first basket of the game — drew them within one point with five minutes remaining.

Keefe then matched Ballard, hitting a 3-pointer for his first basket to keep UCLA ahead 58-54 in between airballs by Roll and Shipp.

Kenny Hayes’ layup gave him his first points and got the RedHawks within two.

Alfred Aboya made two free throws that pushed UCLA’s lead to 60-56. Shipp tipped the ball away from Bramos, then threw it off him as Shipp was falling out of bounds, but the referee ruled Miami retained possession.

Hayes’ 3-point attempt bounced off the rim, but Shipp fouled Bramos in the ensuing scramble for the rebound. Bramos missed his first free throw and Aboya grabbed the defensive rebound with 11/2 minutes left.

Pollitz hit a 3-pointer that drew the RedHawks to 60-59 with 51 seconds left. Clinging to a one-point lead, Collison got fouled at UCLA’s end and made both.

Hayes missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and Shipp made two free throws for the final margin.

The Bruins were 13-of-20 from the line, while Miami went 12-of-14.

The RedHawks took a five-point lead to start the game and then never trailed by more than that the rest of the half. They made all seven of their free throws, tied the Bruins with 10 defensive rebounds and nearly matched UCLA’s 48 percent shooting.

UCLA forward Nikola Dragovic played his first game of the season after his arrest last week for suspicion of misdemeanor battery. He allegedly pushed his former girlfriend to the ground during an argument and has a scheduled court appearance on Dec. 4. He didn’t dress as punishment in Wednesday’s 24-point win over Prairie View.

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