Roll On A Roll, UCLA Wins Easily

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Starting forward Josh Shipp couldn't play for UCLA on Saturday night because of a sprained ligament in his left thumb.

The 14th-ranked Bruins didn't miss him one bit.

Michael Roll filled in with a season-high 16 points in his first start in almost two years, and No. 14 UCLA never trailed in beating Mercer 76-59 Saturday night for its fourth straight victory.

Roll, a 6-foot-5 junior, shot 6-of-7 -- going 4-of-5 from 3-point range-- to help the Bruins win their 34th straight nonconference game against unranked opponents at Pauley Pavilion since a 75-60 loss to Notre Dame on Feb. 28, 2004.

Shipp, a senior averaging 11.2 points, has started 110 games in his UCLA career including all 39 last season and UCLA's previous nine this year. Roll, a 6-foot-5 junior making his seventh start in 90 career games, entered with a 5.7-point average. He fell a point shy of the career-high 17 he scored against Washington on Jan. 14, 2006.

"Michael Roll has been shooting it consistently in practice and tonight he showed his touch," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "He's also improved his defense from his first two years and is playing the best ball of his career."

Roll credited Collison and the rest of his teammates for getting him the ball when he was open.


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"I didn't want to press it tonight, just let the flow come to me," Roll said. "I didn't want to force anything out there."

He didn't, as evidenced by his shooting efficiency.

Howland said Shipp is doubtful for Tuesday night's game against Wyoming.

"The swelling's already gone down dramatically since last night," Howland said. "It's not broken. Hopefully it will heal quickly."

Darren Collison scored 20 points, Alfred Aboya had 14 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Jrue Holliday added 10 points and four assists for the Bruins (8-2), who had no trouble in their first meeting with Mercer, which won road games against Alabama and Auburn last month.

Roll outscored Mercer 10-4 by himself to give the Bruins a 52-37 lead with 13-minutes remaining. The Bears weren't closer than nine points after that. It was 54-45 when Collison scored six points during an 8-0 run that gave the Bruins a 17-point lead with 6:40 left.

Holliday scored the game's first five points, Collison added a layup to give UCLA a 7-0 lead, and the Bruins extended their advantage to 14-3 in the opening five minutes, shooting 5-of-6 to start the game while Mercer began 1-of-9.

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