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Archive for Sunday, March 17, 2002

UCLA 105, Cincinnati 101, 2OT

March 17, 2002

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— The school that helped bring Madness to March is at it again.

UCLA upset top-seeded Cincinnati 105-101 in double overtime Sunday behind Dan Gadzuric's career-high 26 points to move into the West Regional semifinals.

The Bearcats, never before a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs, became the first No. 1 to exit this year's tournament.

The eighth-seeded Bruins (21-11), an enigma all season, are suddenly a different team and one looking ready to make a run at the school's 12th national title.

"We've been up and down all season," Bruins forward Matt Barnes said. "Especially with the high expectations we had. But we usually get hot at tourney time."

Jason Kapono scored 19 points - 17 after halftime - and Barnes added 17 points - all after the first 20 minutes - and 11 assists for UCLA, which will meet 12th-seeded Missouri on Thursday in the regional semifinals in San Jose, Calif.

Going back to Pac-10 country will make it feel like a home game for the Bruins, who had to travel across the United States for their first two NCAA tournament games.

"That's the most talented eighth seed in the tourney," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "We had the opportunities. The ball just didn't bounce the way we wanted it to."

Down 13 in the first half, UCLA rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second and then outscored Cincinnati 15-11 in the second OT to reach the round of 16 for the fifth time in six years.

It was UCLA's first double-overtime game in the tournament since 1974, when the Bruins lost to North Carolina State in the Final Four.

Leonard Stokes had a career-high 39 points, but All-American guard Steve Logan was held to 18 on just 6-of-18 shooting for the Bearcats (31-4), who have lost in the second round five times in six years.

"They had two guys on me all the time," said Logan, who rarely got an open look at the basket. "I wasn't getting open shots and I didn't want to force the issue."

Cincinnati's loss was another tough one in the tourney for Huggins, whose lone trip to the Final Four came in 1992.

And as if losing weren't tough enough, Bearcats fans will now have to wait to see if Huggins takes the vacant job at West Virginia, his alma mater.

Despite being two of the nation's elite programs, Cincinnati and UCLA hadn't played since 1965, but they made up for it with 50 sensational minutes Sunday.

They went to the first overtime tied at 80, and to the second extra period tied at 90. Both teams had chances to win it - Barnes was short with a shot at the end of regulation, and Cincinnati missed several close-range shots after a scramble underneath in the final seconds of the first OT.

The Bruins, though, opened some room by scoring the first four points of the second extra session and went up 97-93 with 1:27 left on a three-point play by Billy Knight.

Dijon Thompson's short jumper put UCLA up by six and, after another Cincinnati miss, Barnes was fouled. He tucked the ball under his arm, raced under UCLA's basket, knelt and pointed to the sky.

Thompson hit two more free throws to put UCLA up 102-95, but the Bearcats weren't going quietly.

Field Williams and Logan hit consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Bruins to 103-101 with 1.6 seconds left, before freshman Ryan Walcott sealed it with a pair of free throws.

Immanuel McElroy's steal and dunk with 9:20 left put the Bearcats up 65-54, and it looked like Cincinnati could start booking its trip to the next round.

But Barnes hit two 3-pointers in 3 seconds - the second coming after a foul was called on his first trey - and after a turnover, the 6-foot-11 Gadzuric got free for a dunk to bring the Bruins within 65-62.

Kapono's 3-pointer with 5:09 left in regulation finally got the Bruins even at 71-all.

Using five different defenses to stop Logan, the Bruins did a great job on him in the first half, holding him to two points on 1-of-6 shooting. But while UCLA focused on shutting down Logan, the Bruins forgot about Stokes, and he made them pay.

Stokes, a 6-6 junior from Buffalo, made a career-high four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points in the opening 20 minutes as Cincinnati took a 47-37 halftime lead.

Logan, who didn't get off his first shot until more than five minutes elapsed and scored his only bucket on a driving layup, was being pestered by UCLA's players even before the opening tip.

During pregame layups, Bruins senior guard Rico Hines was warned by official Mike Kitts to cut out trash talking. Hines, who had written "Final Four" on his sneakers before the opening round, was no factor, though, and sat out the second half with a strained left knee.

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