Bruins Bash Alabama, 79-57

Dec 8, 2001

AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jason Kapono scored 16 of his 22 points in the secondhalf and No. 20 UCLA took advantage of poor shooting by 16th-ranked Alabama fora 79-57 victory Saturday.

The Bruins (4-2) improved to 5-1 in the Wooden Classic, named for91-year-old John Wooden, who coached UCLA to a record 10 NCAA titles beforeretiring in 1975.

No. 7 Arizona defeated Purdue 79-66 in the first game at Anaheim Arena.

The Crimson Tide (6-2) had its four-game winning streak snapped in its firstappearance in the eighth annual doubleheader.

UCLA closed with a 23-7 run over the final 7:45. Billy Knight had sevenpoints and Kapono six when he hit two 3-pointers.

Alabama never got untracked offensively, shooting 30 percent and was heldwell below its 82.7 scoring average. Terrance Meade scored 16 points and RodGrizzard added 14, including three 3s in the second half.

The Bruins corrected some of the problems that led to a subpar November,including losses to then-unranked Ball State and Pepperdine. Their defense wasnoticeably improved and resulted in just nine turnovers, half of their 18.2average.

UCLA center Dan Gadzuric added 11 points and nine rebounds, although theCrimson Tide controlled the boards, 44-38. Billy Knight also had 11 points.

Matt Barnes had his best game of the season with 15 points. He sparked theBruins to start the game, scoring seven of their first nine points.

He'd been struggling offensively and complained about his playing time whileturning in disappointing performances in UCLA's previous four games.

The game pitted old friends Steve Lavin against Mark Gottfried, six yearsafter they worked as assistants under Jim Harrick on UCLA's nationalchampionship team. Later in 1995, Gottfried left to become coach at MurrayState, then Alabama.

After Harrick was fired to start the 1996-97 season, Lavin was promoted. Heand Gottfried had a falling out over Harrick's ouster for lying about anexpense report, and their friendship briefly soured. But they have sincereconciled.

Alabama cut its double-digit deficit to 56-50 on a 3-pointer by Meade with8:23 remaining before UCLA dominated the rest of the game.

Fifth-year senior Rico Hines scored his first basket of the season with16:34 remaining after UCLA built its largest lead, 44-27, early in the half.

Still in search of a point guard to replace injured freshman Cedric Bozeman,the Bruins alternated between Kapono and freshmen Dijon Thompson and RyanWalcott.

The Bruins trailed once in the first half, but put together a 21-5 run totake a 40-25 halftime lead. Kapono had six points and Barnes five in the spurtthat provided UCLA's first double-digit lead.

UCLA's only loss in the Wooden Classic came against Georgia Tech last year.

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