No. 10 Bruins Host to Pepperdine In Home Opener

Nov. 28, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP) - After mixed results in Maui, No. 10 UCLA returns to Pauley Pavilion to playhost to Pepperdine in the Bruins' home opener on Wednesday.

Last week's Maui Invitational wasn't a total loss for the Bruins (2-1), whoescaped Hawaii with a 89-77 win over South Carolina. The win was good enoughfor third place in the tournament.

Sophomore forward T.J. Cummings was 11-of-12 from the field and hadcareer-highs of 25 points and nine rebounds as UCLA shot 72.9 percent(35-for-48) against the Gamecocks.

The only time UCLA had a better shooting effort was on Jan. 24, 1996, whenthe Bruins went 38-for-52 (73.1 percent) against Southern California.

The impressive performance helped soften the blow of the 91-73 upset loss toBall State in the second round.

'We need to clean up our taking care of the basketball,' UCLA coach SteveLavin said after the loss. 'We had 22 turnovers they had three. No matterwhat we tried defensively they went through is like a hot knife throughbutter. We know we have a long way to go on the defensive end of the floor.'

Offensively, the Bruins can depend on Jason Kapono.

Kapono, who averaged 17.6 points a game last season, is again showing a deftscoring touch, and is averaging a team-best 20.3 points per contest.

But Kapono has more on his mind this season than scoring.

'Ever since I've been here, we haven't won the (Maui) tournament, we haven'twon a Pac-10 championship, and we've never been to the Final Four,' Kaponosaid. 'We'd win the Pac-10 title this year, hang a banner up, and then get astrong seed in the NCAA tournament. We'd like to return to the Final Four,which we haven't been to since we won it all in '95.'

First they will avoid a letdown against Pepperdine, a team that havedominated in past seasons.

The Waves (1-1) have dropped 12 straight games to the Bruins, and trail theall-time series 14-2. But UCLA barely escaped when the two teams lastclashed at Pauley Pavilion during the 1999-2000 season. The Bruins prevailedby a final score of 68-66 as Pepperdine's game-winning three-pointer wasdisallowed at the buzzer.

Pepperdine is coming off a hard-fought 96-93 double overtime loss at UCIrvine last Tuesday night.

Devin Montgomery led the way with 17 points, while freshman Terrance Johnsontossed in 16 points. Jimmy Miggins also had a solid game despite the loss,adding 15 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals.

After its first two contests, Johnson is the team's leading scorer at 15.0points a game.

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