Williams ties career high; Duke rolls past UCLA
Updated: Friday March 23, 2001 5:25 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jason Williams' second-half scoring spree and top-ranked Duke's team defense put the Blue Devils in the regional finals for the 10th time in 16 years.
The sophomore guard scored 19 straight Duke points during one stretch and matched his career high with 34 points as the Blue Devils beat fourth-seeded UCLA 76-63 Thursday night in the East Regional semifinals.
The Blue Devils (32-4) will play sixth-seeded Southern California on Saturday night with a berth in the Final Four at stake. The Trojans beat second-seeded Kentucky 80-76.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Williams, one of the Blue Devils' two All-Americans, was trying to get everyone else involved too much.
"[Assistant coach] Johnny Dawkins told Jason, `You do your thing,' and he did his thing and that's why we won," Krzyzewski said.
Williams started his personal run with a 3-pointer -- one of six he had in the game -- and added in some slicing drives, a converted lob pass and two more 3s. He had 26 points in the second half.
"I just got a lot of open looks and I was trying to get in the lane," said Williams, who had 34 points earlier this season against Boston College. "Sometimes your shot isn't falling and you just go out and keep playing."
Every time the Bruins (23-9) seemed to get any kind of momentum as they tried to wipe out a 33-26 halftime deficit, Williams found a way to score. His one-man run started with 14:29 to play and restored Duke's lead to six points after Earl Watson's 3 brought the Bruins within three at 40-37.
It ended with a drive that put the Blue Devils up 59-51 with 8:40 to play.
UCLA was never able to get closer than that the rest of the way as Duke closed the game by going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line over the final 1:29.
"Tonight their complementary players weren't making shots but the run Jason Williams had was probably the difference in the game," UCLA coach Steve Lavin said.
Shane Battier, Duke's other All-American, had a great first half, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. He finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, the third game in this tournament he has had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
"At different times of the season Jason and Shane have carried us in big games," Krzyzewski said. "Tonight it was team defense that took over."
Watson had 17 points for UCLA, while Jason Kapono, the Bruins' leading scorer had 12, five below his average, on 3-for-10 shooting as he struggled with foul trouble, getting four in the first half.
"I thought they let us play harder but after they called the ticky-tack fouls you have to change your whole mindset and that's tough to deal with," Kapono said.
It wasn't the first time Williams had a great game in the First Union Center as he scored 30 in the building against Temple on Dec. 2, including going 8-for-10 from 3-point range.
Williams finished 6-for-13 from beyond the arc against UCLA and the Blue Devils were 8-for-31 after going 4-for-19 in the first half.
Williams had 22 points in Duke's opening-round win over Monmouth and had 31 in the second-round win over Missouri.
The game marked the return of Duke center Carlos Boozer, who had missed the last six games after breaking a bone in his foot. He finished with two points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
"It felt great to be back out there," Boozer said. "I thought it went well. I was a little winded but other than that it was OK."
The game was a matchup of the two winningest teams in NCAA tournament play as Duke entered 69-22 (75.8 percent) and UCLA was 78-28 (73.4 percent).
The crowd of 20,270 was the largest to ever see a college basketball game in Pennsylvania.