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Pac-10 Tournament roundup

UCLA stuns top-seeded, top-ranked Arizona

Posted: Thursday March 13, 2003 7:18 PM
Updated: Friday March 14, 2003 12:52 PM

 
Thursday's action
Ray Young
Ray Young's prayers were answered with a game-tying 3-pointer. Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Other Games
Oregon 83, Arizona St. 82
Southern California 79, Stanford 74
California 69, Oregon St. 46

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- UCLA always plays its best basketball when coach Steve Lavin's job is on the line. And that's been just about every one of his seven seasons in Westwood.

The Bruins stunned No. 1 Arizona 96-89 in overtime Thursday in the opening round of the Pac-10 Conference tournament, once again showing their penchant for turning things around after a disappointing regular season.

"We have not been able to put 40 minutes together, and today we finally did," said senior Ray Young, whose emergence as a replacement point guard has coincided with the Bruins winning four of their past five games.

"Although they made a run, we stuck together," Young said. "Everybody was completely focused and just wanted to win. When we do that, we're very deadly because we have the manpower."

The game was reminiscent of upsets the Bruins have pulled in the NCAA tournament under Lavin. Last year they surprised No. 5 Cincinnati in the second round. In 2000, they defeated No. 17 Maryland in the second round, and in 1998, they sent No. 12 Michigan packing in the second round.

Thursday was the 10th time the Bruins have upset a No. 1 team, breaking a tie for the national record with Notre Dame. Four of those have been under Lavin.

"We got our hit, now let's see how well we bounce back from that," Arizona coach Lute Olson said.

No damage done
SI.com's Stewart Mandel
As stunning as it was, UCLA's upset of Arizona on Friday had little bearing on anything besides Fox Sports Net's ratings.

One loss will not cost the Wildcats the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament's West region, seeing as they've only lost two other times all season. It also doesn't affect who they will face in the first round -- the winner of Tuesday's play-in game wouldn't have been sent to Salt Lake City -- Arizona's likely destination -- either way, seeing as they'll be in Dayton two nights earlier.

Lute Olson looked the furthest thing from concerned in his postgame news conference, and rightfully so. How often is Jason Gardner going to shoot 0-for-12 from 3-point range? If anything, this will serve as a perfect reminder to the complacent Wildcats of the urgency they must play with in the NCAAs.

As for the Bruins, Steve Lavin, as great a story as he is, did not save his job. Unless they can win two more to complete a miraculous run through the Pac-10 tournament, the win will make for nothing more than a sweet memory. 
 
 

The loss ended Arizona's 10-game winning streak, although the Wildcats (25-3) probably will earn a No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA tournament. They won last year's Pac-10 tournament.

"We have next week to accomplish our goal, which is to win it all," Arizona senior Rick Anderson said.

UCLA (10-18) lost its two regular-season games to Arizona by a combined 71 points, but the Bruins came out scrapping, knowing that only a victory would prolong their season -- and Lavin's tenure.

The 38-year-old coach has been under scrutiny and been criticized throughout his career as UCLA head coach, but this season it got worse as the Bruins had their first losing record in 55 years.

But the team always seems to rally around its beleaguered coach late in the season, reaching the final 16 of the NCAA tournament five of the last six years. Only Duke under Mike Krzyzewski has matched that feat.

"It's nice that we're playing our best basketball again late in the year," Lavin said. "Now we're in position to do something special."

Lavin, who is 145-77 in seven years, expects to be fired when the season ends. The Bruins haven't had such a poor record since they were 12-13 in coach Wilbur Johns' last season, before John Wooden took over in 1948.

"Unfortunately, for the majority of the year I felt like I wasn't able to push the right buttons," Lavin said. He then got a laugh when he added, "We're looking at this opportunity as a gift, and obviously we're big supporters of the Pac-10 tournament."

At the buzzer, Lavin let out his breath and calmly walked toward the Arizona bench to shake hands. During the game, though, he resembled a jumping jack on the sidelines, springing out of his trademark crouch to urge his team on with each shot they took.

UCLA first-year athletic director Dan Guerrero shook hands with Lavin and congratulated him. Lavin stayed on the court, exchanging hugs with several of his players.

"It was a very big game for us and our coach," Young said. "You get a lot of scrutiny throughout the year, no matter how good or bad you're playing. It's rough. Today what we've been working for all season finally happened."

Jason Kapono led five Bruins in double figures with 26 points. T.J. Cummings added 18 points before fouling out, while Young had 17, Dijon Thompson 15 and Andre Patterson 13 and 12 rebounds.

"We knew if we could keep it close for the last five minutes, they would start to crack, and those jump shots would fall short," Kapono said. "We forced them to take some 3s, and fortunately for us, they didn't fall."

Anderson had a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for Arizona. Channing Frye also had 23 and Salim Stoudamire added 17. The Wildcats shot just 37 percent for the game and were 2-of-14 from the field in overtime. They were 7-of-36 from 3-point range.

"In the second half, they were pretty much flawless," Olson said, "and we ended up not making shots. The Bruins played really, really well as a team. When they had to hit big shots, they hit big shots."

 
Taking 'Em Down
UCLA's wins against No. 1 teams:
Date  Opp.  Score 
3/13/03  Arizona  96-89 (OT)# 
1/12/02  Kansas  87-77 
2/3/01  @Stanford  79-73 
3/4/00  @Stanford  94-93 (OT) 
12/1/86  N. Carolina  89-84 
3/9/80  DePaul  77-71* 
2/11/79  @Notre Dame  56-52 
1/26/74  Notre Dame  94-75 
3/22/68  Houston  101-69* 
3/20/65  Michigan  91-80* 
# Pac-10 Tournament
* NCAA Tournament
Note: Bruins are 10-17 overall against top-ranked teams.
 

In overtime, the eighth-seeded Bruins outscored the top-seeded Wildcats 14-7. Arizona senior Jason Gardner, usually so reliable with the game on the line, was 0-for-12 from 3-point range and finished with six points.

"It's probably my worst game, I think so," he said in a near-empty locker room. "It was definitely an off night for me."

UCLA took an 87-82 lead to start the extra five-minute session. Stoudamire had five points and Frye added a basket for Arizona's only points in overtime.

The Bruins overcame a 15-point deficit early in the second half, then Young hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 82 with 4.9 seconds left. Gardner took an inbounds pass from Luke Walton and drove the length of the court but missed as regulation expired.

The Bruins trailed 80-79 when Kapono's jumper from the foul line bounced off the rim with 15 seconds left. Stoudamire grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made both free throws to keep Arizona ahead 82-79 before Young's 3-pointer forced overtime.

The Wildcats opened the second half by outscoring the Bruins 17-4 to take a 60-45 lead with 14:15 remaining.

"It showed the grit of our team when they pushed it to 12," Kapono said of UCLA's deficit. "I'm sure our fans thought, 'Oh no, here comes that 35-point blitz.'"

Oregon 83, Arizona St. 82

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Oregon Ducks figured they needed to win their first-round game in the Pac-10 Conference tournament to guarantee them a berth in the NCAA tournament.

They did so, albeit barely.

The Ducks blew a five-point lead down the stretch, but Luke Ridnour bailed them out by making a driving layup with 3.3 seconds remaining for an 83-82 victory over the Sun Devils on Thursday night.

Ridnour, a junior, called it the biggest shot of his career.

"We knew we had to come and get one win," he said. "It was a battle. ASU is a great team."

Ike Diogu's three-point play with 12.1 seconds left gave the Sun Devils a one-point lead, but Ridnour drove the length of the court for the game-winning basket.

"I've seen him make that shot so many times -- turn the corner and hit that floater," Oregon's Luke Jackson said. "It was just a great shot.

"This win pretty much guaranteed us a spot in the NCAA tournament. We played sloppy and had some turnovers at the end and we're fortunate to come out with the win."

After Ridnour scored, ASU's Curtis Millage tried a desperation shot from about 60 feet, but it didn't come close as time expired. The Sun Devils were out of timeouts.

"We're just happy to get the win," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "We wanted to focus on getting this done, not just for NCAA purposes."

Regarding the last play, Kent said: "We were running a high post ball screen. That's the play we wanted.

"Ridnour knew like I knew he was going to go score the basketball."

Ridnour had 23 points and six assists, and Jackson added 17 points and eight rebounds for the fifth-seeded Ducks (21-9), who face eighth-seeded UCLA in Friday night's opening semifinal game at Staples Center.

The Bruins (10-18) stunned top-ranked Arizona 96-89 in overtime in the tournament opener. The Ducks swept UCLA this season, winning 96-91 in overtime in Los Angeles and 79-48 in Oregon.

James Davis added 16 points and Robert Johnson had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Oregon.

Diogu matched his career best with 27 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds for fourth-seeded ASU (19-11). Millage added 25 points, and Tommy Smith and Shawn Redhage scored 11 each for the Sun Devils.

"Tough way to go out," ASU coach Rob Evans said. "We did everything we needed to do in the ballgame late except get a stop. It was just one of those things. Luke made a good play on it. Give him credit."

The Ducks beat the Sun Devils seven days after losing a 91-77 decision at ASU. Despite the loss, Evans said he fully expects his team to be invited to the NCAA tournament.

"If they take four, they should take us, the way I see it. We finished fourth in this league," he said. "We've been playing good basketball."

Jackson and Ridnour made 3-pointers to give Oregon an eight-point lead with 21/2 minutes remaining, and the Ducks still appeared safely on top after two free throws by Davis made it 81-76 with 24.5 seconds left.

Millage missed a 3-pointer, but the Sun Devils rebounded and got the ball back to him. He connected from long range to make it 81-79 with 14.6 seconds to play.

Oregon committed a turnover trying to inbound, and the Sun Devils got the ball to Diogu, who scored from underneath and was fouled. He made the free throw to put ASU ahead 82-81.

"Diogu is a load down there for anybody in the country," Kent said.

Ridnour then calmly dribbled upcourt and never stopped, going straight to the basket for the winning shot.

"We're pretty disappointed because we let this one get away from us," Diogu said. "There's still more basketball to be played."

Two 3-pointers by Ridnour, and one each by Andre Joseph and Davis helped Oregon outscore ASU 12-5 to start the second half, giving the Ducks a 52-46 lead. The Sun Devils scored the next six points -- four by Redhage -- to tie it with 13:48 to play.

Oregon led by eight points three times after that but needed Ridnour's big play to win.

Diogu and Ridnour have each reached double figures in the 30 games their teams have played this season. The only other Pac-10 player to accomplish such a feat is California's Joe Shipp.

Southern California 79, Stanford 74

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Desmon Farmer scored 24 points and Roy Smiley added a career-high 20 as Southern California defeated No. 15 Stanford 79-74 Thursday night in the opening round of the Pac-10 Conference tournament.

The Trojans (12-16) beat the Cardinal (23-8) in the first round for the second straight year despite losing both regular-season matchups.

USC led the entire second half, with its largest lead of 14 points coming on a free throw by Farmer with 11:13 remaining. Farmer and Smiley combined to score 15 consecutive points during a nearly four-minute stretch when the Cardinal's shooting went cold.

Stanford, which finished second to Arizona in the regular-season standings, joined the top-ranked Wildcats on the sidelines Thursday after the two Los Angeles schools knocked off the top two seeds. Eighth-seeded UCLA shocked Arizona 96-89 in overtime in the opening game at Staples Center.

Julius Barnes led Stanford with 18 points and Justin Davis added 15 and 11 rebounds.

The Trojans led 73-65 when the Cardinal scored six straight to get within two with 3:03 remaining. After Gregg Guenther made a free throw for USC, Rory O'Neil, who finished with 17 points, hit a 3-pointer with a second left on the shot clock to keep the Trojans ahead 77-71.

Matt Lottich answered right back with a 3-pointer as Stanford trailed 77-74 with 1:06 to play. But Lottich and Josh Childress both missed 3-pointers that could have tied the game in the final 30 seconds. Childress finished with 15 points.

Errick Craven made one of four free throws in the final 25 seconds for the Trojans.

USC coach Henry Bibby, who's been in trouble with Pac-10 officials most of the season, was hit with a technical foul with his team ahead by 10 points early in the second half. It seemingly sparked Farmer and Smiley, who launched their dominating run right after the call.

Farmer was left off the All-Pac-10 team despite being the league's fourth-leading scorer with an 18.4 average.

California 69, Oregon St. 46

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- No more Arizona. Stanford's gone, too. That leaves California as the highest-seeded team remaining in the Pac-10 Conference tournament after the upset-filled first round.

Richard Midgley scored 12 points and Brian Wethers added 11 Thursday night as the 24th-ranked Golden Bears used a big second half to beat Oregon State 69-46.

"We saw a lot of seeds going down," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "Our team decided we want to be here and play.

The third-seeded Golden Bears (21-7) face seventh-seeded Southern California (12-16) in Friday night's second semifinal game. Eighth-seeded UCLA (10-18) meets fifth-seeded Oregon (21-9) in the opener.

Cal outscored Oregon State 44-23 in the second half to win decisively. The Beavers shot 10-of-38 (26.3 percent) in the final 20 minutes and 18-of-66 (27.3 percent) overall.

"It's clear you win ballgames by putting the ball in the basket. We struggled to do that," Oregon State coach Jay John said.

"That was one of our better defensive efforts," Braun said. "Oregon State did a good job defensively in the first half. I told our team we'd have to be patient against them, it won't be easy."

It wasn't for the first 28 minutes -- before Cal went on a 15-0 run.

Cal shot 19-of-41 (46.3 percent) in the second half after going 10-of-17 (37.0 percent) in the first half and finished 29-of-68 (42.6 percent).

The Bears entered the tournament having lost three of five games after winning 12 of their previous 14. They beat Oregon State for the 11th straight time and have topped the Beavers in 16 of the last 17 games between the teams.

Joe Shipp had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Amit Tamir had nine points and 10 rebounds for Cal.

Brian Jackson had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Beavers (13-15) who lost eight of their last 10 games. Their previous single-game low this season was 47 points against Arizona State on Jan. 2.

Shipp, the Pac-10's leading scorer, joined Oregon's Luke Ridnour and Arizona State's Ike Diogu as the only players in the conference to score in double figures in every game this season when he made a layup with 15:16 remaining, giving the Bears a 38-31 lead.

Oregon State's Jimmie Haywood made a 3-pointer before the Bears scored the next 15 points for a 53-34 lead. Midgley made two 3-pointers and Conor Famulener one during the spurt.

Philip Ricci scored with 5:49 left to end a scoring drought of nearly nine minutes for the Beavers.

Neither team got off to a good start, especially Cal.

A basket by Shipp gave the Bears an 8-6 lead after seven minutes of play, but they didn't score again for more than 5 1/2 minutes. The Beavers hardly took advantage, getting only seven points during that time.

Jackson scored seven straight Oregon State points as the Beavers went ahead 20-15, matching their biggest lead of the game.

The Bears responded with an 8-0 run and led 25-23 at halftime. The teams shot a combined 18-of-55 in the opening 20 minutes including 3-of-11 from 3-point range.

Oregon State finished 4-of-24 from beyond the arc while Cal was 6-of-12.

 
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