Utah State Ends NCAA Run With Loss To UCLA, 75-50
March 17, 2001
By JENNA FRYER
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Dan Gadzuric held down the inside, Jason Kapono worked the outside and UCLA advanced to the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.
Gadzuric had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Kapono scored 15 of his 19 points on 3-pointers to lead the fourth-seeded Bruins to a 75-50 victory over 12th-seeded Utah State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
UCLA (23-8) advanced to play top-seeded Duke (31-4) next week in Philadelphia.
Steve Lavin, whose job had seemed in jeopardy after a 4-4 start this season, improved to 9-4 in NCAA tournament games and brought the Bruins out of the second round for the fourth time in his five years as coach.
Earl Watson, a senior who Lavin had to talk out of transferring three times during his career, was one of the first players to grab the coach for a long embrace when Lavin pulled his starters with 1:30 to play.
Watson finished with 16 points and nine assists.
Shawn Daniels scored 11 points to lead Utah State, which struggled to score in the first half and folded under UCLA's full-court press in the second half.
Utah State (28-6) had no problems with the Bruins' vaunted press in the first half, when the Aggies could easily move the ball across the court. But they struggled to hit shots, missing 23 consecutive attempts over a 14 minute span while falling into a 24-11 hole.
They finally ended the drought on Curtis Bobb's 3-pointer with 2:54 left in the half, but trailed the Bruins 30-19 at the break.
UCLA then backed off the press at the start of the second half and Utah
State didn't have to work so hard for offense - the Aggies opened the period
with a 13-4 run to cut the score to 34-30 on Bernard Rock's 3-pointer with
13:27 to play.
That's when UCLA turned up the heat and Utah State couldn't adjust. The Bruins didn't allow Utah State to get the ball past midcourt on three straight possessions and converted all three turnovers into an explosive six-point spurt.
Gadzuric had a thundering dunk to start the run. Rock then turned the ball over in a double-team right outside the 3-point line and Matt Barnes turned it into a UCLA layup.
Daniels then threw away the inbound pass as he desperately looked for an open man, Barnes got the ball and tossed it in for 49-36 lead.
Kapono, who was 5-for-7 from 3-point range, sealed the game after Daniels missed a fast break dunk. The Bruins got the rebound and threw a full-court pass to Kapono, who hit a 3-pointer for a 53-38 lead with 7:09 to play.
Utah State pulled its starters with 3:30 to play.