Anteaters Give Bruins A Scare
Dec 15, 2001
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - Dan Gadzuric's last-minute contributions on offense anddefense helped No. 17 UCLA avoid another upset at the hands of a LosAngeles-area school.
Gadzuric, who missed an easy two-handed dunk in the first half, made asimilar one with 1:04 remaining, then altered Jerry Green's one-handed runnerin the closing seconds to preserve a 75-74 victory over UC Irvine on Saturday.
After Rico Hines switched off Green, the 6-foot-11 Gadzuric moved in on the6-3 Irvine star, who forced an off-balance shot.
'I was just trying to play real tight defense and not let him at least havean easy shot,' said Gadzuric, who had seven points and three rebounds in 29minutes.
'Coach called a high screen for me,' Green said. 'I was supposed topenetrate and take the shot. We could have been blown out, but we were in itall the way to the end.'
For the third time this season, UCLA ran into trouble at Pauley Pavilionagainst a local school. The Bruins were upset by Pepperdine on Nov. 28, thenstruggled to beat UC Riverside 65-50 on Dec. 5.
The Anteaters shot 75 percent in the second half and outrebounded the Bruins30-23.
'Teams we're supposed to beat by a fair margin, we don't,' said JasonKapono, who scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half, including 13straight over the final 6:31.
'Kapono made some really big All-America shots,' Irvine coach Pat Douglasssaid. 'We were all over him and he still hit the 3s.'
Kapono's offense, which has been slow lately in the first half of games, gotthe Bruins (6-2) back in the game after trailing most of the second half.
'Coach said shoot first,' he said. 'In the first half, I was playing morepass and dribble and that led to my poor exhibition. My first thing is toshoot. That's my biggest strength.'
Billy Knight added 21 points and freshman Dijon Thompson had a career-high14 points and seven rebounds for the Bruins, who played without starter MattBarnes. He's nursing a sore left ankle after stepping on Gadzuric's foot atpractice Thursday.
Irvine (5-4) was led by Green with 27 points and Stanislav Zuzak added acareer-high 22, including two 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that gave the Anteaterstheir largest lead, 52-45, with 12:56 left.
Trailing 75-74, Zuzak missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, but theAnteaters retained possession when Gadzuric tipped the ball out of bounds.
After a timeout, Green tossed up the runner that missed to let UCLA escape.Green committed two of his eight turnovers in the final five minutes, when theteams were either tied or traded one-point leads.
'I was open for a 3, but I don't think Jerry could see me from where hewas. The last play was made for him,' Zuzak said.
The game was similar to last season, when the Bruins trailed by four pointsat halftime before rallying for a 65-60 victory. This time, they were down twoat halftime, then scored eight in a row to go up 35-31.
'We have been in this kind of situation many times before, and we usuallycome out on top,' Irvine's Adam Parada said. 'I definitely felt we had a goodshot at winning.'
Irvine put together a 20-14 run to go up 62-56 with 8:16 remaining, beforeKapono singlehandedly took over, scoring the 13 straight points, including two3-pointers, for a 71-70 lead with 2:55 left.
'It was a great gun show. Everyone was scoring,' he said. 'I'm glad wegot out of here with a win.'