No. 15 UCLA Falls In Close Contest To Villanova, 58-57

Feb 9, 2002

AP Sports Writer

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Brooks Sales made two free throws with 21 seconds remaining, and Knightmissed two 3-pointers in the final seconds as Villanova upset No. 15 UCLA 58-57Saturday.

'I had some good looks,' said Knight, whose buzzer-beating 3-pointer onWednesday lifted UCLA to a 67-65 victory over No. 25 Southern Cal. 'Ishould've up-faked on the first one. I thought time was gone on the second one,so I just put it up.'

UCLA (16-7) had won two straight since a 29-point loss to Oregon, whileVillanova (13-8) had lost two in a row to ranked opponents.

Gary Buchanan's 3-pointer cut it to 57-56 with 1:15 left. Villanova's RickyWright then made a steal, and Sales was fouled on a driving layup. After Salesmade both free throws, Knight launched two 3-pointers, but one hit the rim andthe other sailed over it.

The sellout crowd of 6,500 at The Pavilion then stormed the court forVillanova's biggest victory in recent years.

'I thought he was going to hit it,' UCLA swingman Rico Hines said ofKnight's shot at the end.

Buchanan scored 20 points, including six 3-pointers, while Wright scored 10of his 12 points in the second half and Sales added 12.

'I think it's a great confidence boost,' Sales said. 'I think this putsin our mind that we have what it takes to be a good team.'

Matt Barnes and Knight each had 17 points for UCLA.

'I knew we were getting better, getting good enough to beat teams likethis,' Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

UCLA trailed throughout the second half until a bizarre six-pointpossession.

After hitting a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 47-42, Knight scored on adriving layup and got fouled. He missed the free throw, but Wright was calledfor an intentional foul, waving off the miss.

Knight then made the free throw, Barnes hit one of two free throws for theintentional foul and made two more free throws after he was fouled, completinga 9-0 run and giving the Bruins a 48-47 lead with 6:47 left.

Barnes' putback snapped a 50-50 tie, and Knight's steal and layup made it54-50. But Reggie Bryant answered with a 3-pointer.

After UCLA's Jason Kapono made one of two free throws, Knight made a crucialputback, giving the Bruins a 57-53 lead with 1:40 left.

'They came out fast and we were a step slow, a little sluggish,' UCLAcoach Steve Lavin said. 'They did everything they needed to do to win.'

Wright, in his first year at Villanova, lost to UCLA in the first round ofthe NCAA tournament last year when he was at Hofstra.

It was the third meeting between the schools, and Villanova's first victory.UCLA beat the Wildcats in the 1971 NCAA championship game and again lastseason.

Villanova opened the second half on a 10-3 run, taking its biggest lead tothat point, 41-33, on a jumper by Wright, who had eight points during thespurt.

Buchanan had 14 points in the first half, including four 3-pointers. But hedidn't score again until hitting a 3-pointer with 3:18 left.

'When you have games like that, you can't worry about it,' Buchanan saidof his 3-for-17 shooting in a loss to No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. 'You have tocome out and keeping taking shots.'

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