Bruins Fall To San Diego, 86-81, In Overtime

Nov 27, 2002

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - UCLA made another mid-major school look good.

Playing under their 11 national championship banners at Pauley Pavilion, the14th-ranked Bruins lost to San Diego 86-81 in overtime Tuesday night.

'We were outsized, outmuscled and outhustled,' said Jason Kapono, who had17 points before leg cramps derailed his shooting ability in the second halfand he fouled out late in overtime.

'That's how they got so many offensive rebounds and second-chance pointsand that's how their big fellow scored like a zillion points.'

Jason Keep scored 30 points and Jason Blair added 17 points for the Toreros,who beat a ranked team for just the second time in school history. They upsetNo. 25 Gonzaga 75-59 in 1999.

'They wanted it more on a couple of occasions and that was the differencein the game,' UCLA center T.J. Cummings said.

Keep, a 6-foot-11 senior transfer from Oklahoma State, and the 6-7 Blairbothered UCLA inside, where the Bruins lack a true presence since Dan Gadzuricgraduated and is now playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.

'We miss him a lot, but we're going to have to find a way without him,'point guard Cedric Bozeman said. 'If that takes everyone getting down thereplaying some post defense, that's what it's going to take.'

The Bruins were outrebounded 49-31, with Keep grabbing 16 and Blair 15.

UCLA fell to 3-4 in season openers under seventh-year coach Steve Lavin, whowas the target of derogatory shouts from fans filing out before the finalbuzzer.

'We are a long way away from being a good team,' he said.

The Bruins lost their third consecutive home opener, with Pepperdine and CalState Northridge pulling upsets the previous two years. Ball State stunned theBruins a year ago in the season-opening Maui Invitational.

They were coming off a rocky preseason in which they lost both games,including the first by 25 points.

San Diego's victory in front of John Wooden was especially meaningful tocoach Brad Holland, a former player and assistant at UCLA who hadn't been inPauley Pavilion in 10 years.

'It's just a fantastic feeling,' said Holland, who brought along his10-year-old son. 'The neatest thing for me was I got to show Kyle where hisold man played. He's heard all about UCLA. To have him here with me andexperience such a big win just means a lot to me as a father.'

Dijon Thompson led five UCLA players in double figures with 21 points.

Kapono, one of only two seniors on UCLA's team, saw his jumper bounce offthe rim with 4 seconds left in regulation. Cedric Bozeman grabbed the reboundnear the free-throw line, but his shot was short to force overtime tied at 73.

'Those are shots I make throughout fall, winter, spring,' Kapono said. 'Ifelt like I didn't have my legs.'

The Toreros led 80-78 when freshman Travis Smith failed to inbounds within 5seconds and turned the ball over. But Kapono's shot hit the rim, and then Smithgot fouled. He made one of two for an 81-78 lead with 28 seconds left.

Bozeman drove the lane and missed with 15 seconds left as boos rang out.Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left and UCLA trailing 83-81, but theToreros hit three of four free throws to end the game.

Blair beat the shot-clock buzzer with a 3-pointer to open overtime for SanDiego. Matt Delzell hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to maintain a lead theToreros never gave up in the five-minute extra session.

'Matt hit me with a pretty good pass. I was lucky it went in,' Blair said.'I shouldn't have pump-faked. I almost didn't get it off.'

The Bruins never led by more than eight points in the game that was tiedtwice in the final 2 minutes.

'We gave up on what got us that little lead in the second half,' Kaponosaid. 'On offense we started jacking shots, they started getting layups thatwere more patient. They forced us to play defense for 32 seconds and we didn'tstay down and play defense.'

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