Sunday, January 13, 2002

No. 11 UCLA 87, No. 1 Kansas 77




By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

        LOS ANGELES — Knocked down by crosstown rival Southern California two days earlier, the always unpredictable UCLA Bruins picked themselves up by beating top-ranked Kansas 87-77 Saturday.

        Matt Barnes scored 27 points and the 11th-ranked Bruins got key contributions from everybody else to snap the Jayhawks' 13-game winning streak the same week they took over the top spot from Duke.

        “This is exactly why I came to UCLA, to play in this big-time environment,” said freshman Cedric Bozeman, who displayed his promise despite a couple of shaky turnovers.

        Playing with the passion and heart often missing against lesser opponents, the Bruins came out scrapping and never let up.

        “I thought for 40 minutes all the guys were buying into the system. Everyone was playing hard,” said UCLA's Jason Kapono, who had 10 points and seven rebounds. “On Thursday, even though we played well and guys were scoring, we just got punked. They all wanted it more. That's something we are trying to change.”

        The Bruins (12-3) lost 81-77 to USC, allowing 24 offensive rebounds.

        “It's nice when you can bounce back from a very disappointing loss to USC with a good win against Kansas,” UCLA coach Steve Lavin said. “What's most important is our kids' resiliency. We played with poise and composure today. There was a relaxed confidence our team had before and during the game.”

        Fans stormed center court at Pauley Pavilion, dancing and jumping in celebration of UCLA's first victory over a top-ranked team at home since Dec. 1, 1986, when the Bruins beat North Carolina.

        The Bruins had lost the previous five times they played host to a No. 1 team. Their up-and-down season has included losses to Ball State and Pepperdine, and indifferent efforts against UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Columbia.

        “It shows our potential, but last Thursday showed what can happen when we don't come out to play every game,” Barnes said. “It's kind of frustrating to know that you can beat the No. 1 team, but then you can't beat a team in your own conference that you should beat. We're going to have to pick it up.”

        The Jayhawks (13-2), whose only other loss was to Ball State the day before that same team upset UCLA in November, had won the last three meetings with the Bruins.

        UCLA held the nation's leading offense below its 92.6-point average, forced the Jayhawks into 21 turnovers and never trailed after the 10-minute mark of the first half.

        “What surprised me was our lack of poise and our turnovers,” Kansas coach Roy Williams said. “They were quicker and were out in the passing lanes. They were so much more active on defense than they were on Thursday night.”

        Billy Knight hit all six of his free throws over the final 1:05 after Kansas got within four on a three-point play by Drew Gooden. Knight finished with 20 points.

        The game had all things UCLA loves: a highly ranked opponent, a national television audience, numerous NBA scouts and a loud crowd. And for the first time in a long time, the Bruins didn't depend on one player to do it all.

        Dan Gadzuric had 13 points and Bozeman had four points, three assists and four rebounds, while freshman Dijon Thompson had five points.

        Gooden had 16 of his 22 points in the second half for Kansas. Kirk Hinrich added 17 points, including five 3-pointers before fouling out with 3:13 remaining, and Jeff Boschee added 14 points.

        Clinging to an 80-77 lead, the Bruins survived a scare with 1:34 remaining. Bozeman threw a pass into the hands of Gooden, but Nick Collison was called for traveling.

        Kansas didn't score again, with Gooden and Boschee missing shots and UCLA remaining steady at the line.

        “They did a good job denying me the ball and when I did get it, there were three men on me,” Gooden said. “What hurts so much is that we came back and brought it within a couple possessions, but made too many big mistakes.”

        UCLA stretched its lead to 15 points three times in the second half, the last time on a drive by Bozeman with 14:04 remaining.

        The Jayhawks were barely into the half before foul trouble piled up. Hinrich and Aaron Miles each got their third, and Collison his fourth.

        But they used 3-pointers to cut the 15-point deficit to 65-61 with 7:38 remaining. Hinrich hit three in a 21-10 run, while Gooden added six points and took the ball away from Barnes to set up Hinrich's last 3-pointer that capped the spurt.

        Barnes scored off his own offensive rebound and Kapono hit a jumper to pushed UCLA's lead to 69-61 with 6:39 remaining.

        The Jayhawks closed to 78-74 with 1:57 remaining on a 3-pointer and dunk by Gooden after Knight turned the ball over.

        “They beat us up so now we have to regroup,” Hinrich said. “We would make a run, get back in the game and then do something not smart.”

        Kansas didn't follow its trend of jumping out to an early lead. The Jayhawks shot 34 percent in the first half, committed 16 turnovers and found themselves trailing 46-35 at halftime.

        The Bruins also didn't play like their usual lethargic selves at the start. They hustled after loose balls, crashed the boards, got key contributions from their three freshmen and shot 56 percent.

       



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