No. 15 Bruins Take Down Georgetown, 98-91, For Seventh Consecutive Victory

Dec 29, 2001

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - UCLA still hasn't played 40 consistent minutes. It didn'thurt the 15th-ranked Bruins in December.

They withstood a big rally in the final 1{ minutes and beat No. 20Georgetown 98-91 Saturday to complete the month with a 7-0 record despite theabsence of freshman point guard Cedric Bozeman because of knee surgery.

After letting a 22-point lead dwindle to single-digits for the secondconsecutive game, the Bruins remained puzzled at their inability to putopponents away.

'When we build big leads, we seem to go off on our own island,' said MattBarnes, who was one of five Bruins in double figures with 19 points. 'It'ssomething we have to work on.'

UCLA's 9-2 record is its best start since the 1998 and '99 teams had thesame mark under coach Steve Lavin.

'To be 7-0 in December is an impressive feat,' he said. 'The team isstill a work in progress, but there are some bright spots.'

Billy Knight led the Bruins with 20 points. T.J. Cummings and Dan Gadzurichad 18 each, and Jason Kapono added 16 as the Bruins shot 52 percent.

Playing in front of 10,423 vocal fans - the largest crowd at Pauley Pavilionin 2001 - and against a ranked opponent for only the second time this season,the Bruins were in control much of the game.

They displayed the kind of hustle and persistent aggression that was lackingin losses to Ball State and Pepperdine, along with poor efforts in wins againstUC Riverside, UC Irvine and Columbia.

'That's our trademark, to get up for Georgetown and not for Pepperdine andBall State,' said Kapono, who had seven of UCLA's 20 turnovers while playingpoint guard in place of Bozeman.

This time, UCLA maintained a double-digit edge most of the first half anddeep into the second half until the Hoyas (9-3) made it close by scoring 22points in the final 1:41.

Kevin Braswell finished with 22 points, and freshman Tony Bethel had acareer-high 17 as they combined to score all of Georgetown's points in thelongest 1{ minutes of UCLA's season. Braswell and Bethel each had three3-pointers in the late spurt.

'Our guys really showed a lot of heart coming all the way back and cuttingit to four when everyone thought we were down and out,' Braswell said. 'WhenUCLA got ahead by 22, it was tough for us to get our confidence back.'

Georgetown's Mike Sweetney had 19 points and a career-high 17 reboundsbefore fouling out, while Gerald Riley scored 18.

The Bruins raced out to a 29-8 lead to start the game.

'We came out not playing hard. I don't know why,' Sweetney said. 'We sawthat we were down (at halftime), and we wanted to just fight back. Our heartsand our pride were hurt.'

Sweetney left with 5:13 remaining and the Hoyas trailing by 14. They scoredsix points in a row to get to 77-69 with 4:01 left.

Gadzuric responded by making three of four free throws, Knight hit two, andBarnes scored his first basket of the second half to give UCLA an 84-69 leadwith 1:41 remaining.

That's when Bethel and Braswell took over, but UCLA hit 10 of 16 free throwsto hold on.

'We were fortunate to make enough baskets to pull out a win,' Lavin said.

The Bruins had a 22-point lead at one juncture, but three consecutive missesby UCLA helped the Hoyas trigger a 22-8 run and pull to 71-63 with 7:40remaining.

With Sweetney in foul trouble, Braswell scored seven points, and Riley addedsix as Georgetown cut its deficit to single digits for the first time since5:59 of the first half.

The Bruins used a 24-4 run to take a double-digit lead 3{ minutes into thegame. Barnes hit consecutive 3s and Gadzuric had eight points in the spurt thatended with UCLA ahead 29-8.

The Hoyas committed 16 of their 20 turnovers in the half, while the Bruinsshot 58. The Bruins made six consecutive free throws as part of a 24-12 spurtthat boosted their lead to 55-35 at halftime.

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