No. 24 UCLA Downs Sun Devils, 73-68
Feb. 17, 2001
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - It's easy for Billy Knight to be the forgotten man on aUCLA team loaded with offensive weapons. Arizona State certainly overlookedhim.
Knight scored a career-high 23 points as the 24th-ranked Bruins escaped witha 73-68 victory over the scrappy Sun Devils on Saturday.
'He's a great shooter,' said Arizona State guard Kyle Dodd, one of fiveplayers to foul out. 'He's just one of those guys you forget aboutsometimes.'
The Bruins (17-6, 10-2 Pac-10) won their fifth straight as Knight, EarlWatson and Ray Young made nine of 12 free throws in the final 3:22 when UCLA'slead teetered between two and four points.
'When I didn't play that much, I used to look at my score,' said Knight,who's started nine of 23 games. 'Now I don't look. I concentrate on defenseand rebounding.'
Watson added 15 points and a career-high eight steals, but had six of UCLA's22 turnovers in a sloppy game that saw Arizona State commit 23 turnovers andlose its 15th straight at Pauley Pavilion.
'You don't care how you win as long as you get the `W,'' Watson said,'but we've got to clean things up. If we're going to do well, I've got to takecare of the ball better.'
Awvee Storey led the Sun Devils (11-13, 3-10) with 26 points, tying hiscareer high, and grabbed 15 rebounds. For the first time in five games, theBruins were outrebounded, 39-28.
'We need more consistency,' he said. 'We haven't had that this year.'
The Bruins were coming off an emotional overtime upset of No. 8 Arizona onThursday, and they struggled from the start as Arizona State scored the game'sfirst 10 points and led by 12 in the first half.
'We found a way to win, it wasn't really impressive,' UCLA coach SteveLavin said. 'I was concerned about fatigue. It's hard to manufacture emotionthat's inherent in an Arizona-UCLA game, but a mature team has to find a way towin.'
Especially when starters Matt Barnes and Jason Kapono foul out. DanGadzuric, who had 22 points and 17 rebounds against Arizona, got in early foultrouble and failed to score.
'They were calling a lot of fouls,' said Kapono, who was held to ninepoints. 'It was a sloppy game and you couldn't get into a rhythm.'
Gadzuric's sprained left ankle was stiff during the pre-game shootaround.After the game, he strapped on the walking boot he's been wearing sinceWednesday.
'I just feel swelling,' he said. 'I'm going to go live in the trainingroom.'
Watson scored UCLA's first two baskets of the second half, putting theBruins ahead by 11. They would never reach double-digits the rest of the gameas Arizona State cut the deficit to one three times, but couldn't take thelead.
Storey managed just two baskets in the final 6:42, when the Sun Devils wereforced to foul and the Bruins proved to be consistent at the free throw line.
'I thought my team came out and gave an extreme effort. We were in positionto win the basketball game,' Sun Devils coach Rob Evans said. 'UCLA is athome and fighting for the (Pac-10) championship. I thought we did a great jobof fighting off their runs and getting back in the game.'
Jonathan Howard scored inside to draw Arizona State within two for the lasttime with 1:38 remaining, but Knight scored and then got fouled going for arebound at Arizona State's end. He made one of two free throws, then Watsonmade two of four to close out the game.
Storey scored 11 of Arizona State's first 21 points.
The Bruins were down by six points when Watson left with a cut on his head.He took two stitches and returned in the middle of a 16-2 spurt that gave UCLAits first lead of the game, 25-23, with 6:26 remaining.
The Bruins got back into the game by stepping up their full-court press thatforced the Sun Devils into hurrying their shots. Turnovers, missed shots and atechnical on Dodd for pushing Barnes added to Arizona State's woes.