No. 13 Oregon Downs Bruins, 65-62, To Claim Pac-10 Title
March 2, 2002
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - Already in possession of a share of the Pac-10 title,Oregon didn't let up in taking total control.
Frederick Jones scored 22 points and the 13th-ranked Ducks beat UCLA 65-62Saturday to claim the title outright and a No. 1 seeding for next week'sconference tournament.
'It's big for this team and the players,' Jones said. 'We're happy weachieved one of our goals, which was to win the Pac-10 title. Now our othergoal is to win the Pac-10 tournament.'
The Ducks (22-7, 14-4) won at Pauley Pavilion for the first time since 1984,also the last time they swept the Bruins, who lost by 29 points at Eugene onJan. 31.
'After 17 losses down here, it was time to step up and win this game,'Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. 'There were some people who wondered how wewould respond, knowing we'd already won a share of the Pac-10 championship. Wedidn't want people to think we backed in. We wanted to keep our momentum at ahigh level.'
Oregon celebrated its first outright title since winning the 1939 NCAAchampionship by donning white Pac-10 championship caps and gathering in ahuddle in the middle of the court.
'This is huge for this team and this program, to come in here on senior dayand win the title outright,' Oregon's Luke Ridnour said. 'We wanted to windown here. We just came in here and got it done.'
The Bruins quickly, and quietly, walked off the floor.
'We made a lot of runs, but they always had an answer,' UCLA coach SteveLavin said.
For the first time in school history, the Ducks are Pac-10 champions inmen's basketball and football in the same academic year.
The defeat was costly for UCLA (19-10, 11-7). After No. 21 California lost99-53 at 14th-ranked Arizona earlier Saturday, the Bruins needed a victory toclimb into a second-place tie in the conference.
Instead, they dropped to a likely sixth-place finish, their worst Pac-10showing ever, depending on Saturday's two other games.
'It was a big game,' said Matt Barnes, one of four UCLA seniors playingtheir final game at Pauley. 'We just didn't play well. If we want to dosomething in the tournament, we're going to have to step it up a notch.'
The Bruins scrambled to play catch-up over the final 3:37. Twice they gotwithin one and tied it another time, but their missed free throws and Oregon'stimely baskets kept a win just out of reach.
Barnes tied the game at 61 with 1:25 remaining. Luke Jackson scored on aputback after Ridnour missed to put Oregon ahead 63-61.
Dan Gadzuric, who led UCLA with 22 points and 11 rebounds, was fouled, butmade just one of two free throws as UCLA trailed 63-62. Jones scored insideafter briefly losing control of the ball for the final basket.
Ryan Walcott's 3-point attempt missed as time expired.
'It was a dogfight,' Kent said. 'There was no letup coming in here.Winning this game and this conference can cause a ripple effect and take us tothe next phase, which is the NCAA championship.'
For the second consecutive season, UCLA's seniors lost in their final gameat Pauley. Besides Gadzuric's eighth double-double of the season, Barnes added10 points, Billy Knight had four and Rico Hines two.
Jason Kapono never got going offensively, finishing with seven points - hissecond-lowest of the season - in what could have been his final home game. Thejunior again will consider leaving UCLA early to enter the NBA draft.
'I just didn't get that many shots,' said Kapono, who took only two in thesecond half. 'It was hard to find a rhythm and flow.'
Ridnour added 14 points for the Ducks, while Jones had four of their 103-pointers.
The Bruins were 13-of-19 from the free throw line, but just 2-of-5 over thefinal 6:11, including two misses by Gadzuric and another by T.J. Cummings.
Oregon tied the school record of 14 conference victories, last achieved bythe 1937-38 and 1938-39 teams.