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No. 18 UCLA 109, Delaware St. 67

December 3, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Baron Davis, the heart and soul of a very young UCLA team, played his first game in eight months Wednesday night and helped the 18th-ranked Bruins defeat Delaware State 109-67.

Davis, who missed UCLA’s first four games while rehabilitating from surgery on the left knee he injured in last season’s NCAA tournament, had nine points and four assists in 16 minutes.

Despite a bulky brace on his knee, Davis showed no difficulty running or moving laterally. He found teammates under the basket with several flashy passes.

Davis tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a second-round game against Michigan in March, underwent surgery in April and has been working on a comeback ever since.

Freshmen Jerome Moiso and JaRon Rush carried the scoring load for the Bruins (3-2). Moiso had 18 points and Rush 17.

Terence Hood, the nation’s leading Division I free-throw shooter, scored 26 points for the Hornets (1-4).

The game was over as soon as it started for Delaware State. UCLA scored the first 10 points and led 16-8 when Davis made his first appearance at 13:22.

The sophomore point guard had an immediate impact. After receiving a standing ovation, he fed Rico Hines on consecutive 3-pointers that pushed UCLA’s lead to 22-10.

By the time Davis sat down with 3:40 remaining in the first half, UCLA led by 21 points.

Stefan Malliet, who finished with 19 points, hit a 3-pointer to pull Delaware State within 16 early in the second half. But UCLA answered with 10 straight points, highlighted by Rush’s reverse dunk off an alley-oop pass from Davis, to make it 69-43.

Davis and Rush combined to score 13 consecutive points that pushed UCLA’s lead to 30 with 12:01 remaining.

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