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No. 15 Wildcats Roll Bruins
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 19, 2002
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 19, 2002

Box Score | Quotes

AP Sports Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. - UCLA's seniors never won at McKale Center, and their last loss hurt the most.

Arizona overcame the No. 9 Bruins' record-shooting performance with an amazing comeback Saturday as the 15th-ranked Wildcats rallied from 20 points down in the second half to win 96-86.

UCLA (13-4, 5-2) set a school mark by making 17 3-pointers in 33 attempts.

"This is the most disappointed I've been all season," UCLA's Jason Kapono said. "For us to not win here all my career, then be up by 20 and lose by 10, it's really heartbreaking."

Trailing 73-53 with 13:37 to play, the Wildcats clamped on the pressure defense and went on a 27-2 run. They outscored the Bruins 43-13 over the last 13{ minutes, including a 9-0 run to finish it.

"It was unbelievable," Arizona's Rick Anderson said.

The dimensions of the comeback and its swiftness were as impressive as coach Lute Olson could recall.

"We have had some great runs," he said, "but against that quality of a team, I don't think we have had that big of a run."

Luke Walton scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half for the Wildcats (13-4, 6-2 Pac-10). He blocked Jason Kapono's layup with 32 seconds to play and Arizona up 90-86.

The Wildcats sealed it with a pair of free throws each by Anderson, Channing Frye and Jason Gardner, and the Arizona students stormed the court when it was over.

"In the first half we played as well as we have all season," UCLA coach Steve Lavin said, "and in the second half we played as poorly as we have all season."

The 20-point lead, he said, was "almost like fool's gold."

Kapono tied a UCLA record with seven 3s and scored 25. Arizona countered with 14 3-pointers, one shy of the school record, but it was a defense that caused 12 second-half turnovers by the Bruins that made the difference.

"We lost our heads," Kapono said.

UCLA didn't score in the final 4:56 after Matt Barnes' 3-pointer had cut the lead to 87-86.

Walton, who had a triple-double in Arizona's 97-80 victory over USC on Thursday, had seven rebounds and seven assists against the Bruins.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Wildcats. Frye, a freshman, scored a career-high 19 points. He was 6-for-6 from the field and 7-for-7 at the foul line. Frye's three-point play with 2:57 left put Arizona up 90-87.

Anderson added 16 points and Salim Stoudamire 12.

Barnes scored 20 and Billy Knight 15 for the Bruins. Dan Gadzuric had 11 points but fouled out with 6:42 to play.

The zone defense that so befuddled Southern California Thursday night was no trouble for the sharpshooting Bruins, and the Wildcats were forced to abandoned it early.

In the first half, UCLA led almost literally from the opening tip, with Barnes getting a layup five seconds into the game.

The Bruins made their first eight shots, six of them 3-pointers. UCLA scored the first 11 points and was ahead 23-9 on Kapono's third 3-pointer just 4{ minutes into the game.

The Bruins led 58-43 at halftime, making 11-of-17 3s.

UCLA made five of its first six shots of the second half, three of them 3-pointers, and led 73-53 on Dijon Thompson's inside basket 13:37 remaining.

"Jason (Gardner) was in the huddle telling us to keep our heads up, that we are going to win," Walton said.

The only basket UCLA got in the next 7:12 was Gadzuric's tip-in with 11:18 to go.

Arizona scored 14 in a row, and got its first lead at 76-75 with 9:43 to play. The outburst reached 27-2 when Will Bynum's 18-footer made it 80-75 with 7:21 to go. By then, the McKale Center crowd was as loud as Olson has ever heard.

"We were trying to tell the younger guys that when they make runs, it's one of the loudest places in the country to play," Kapono said, "and it got to some of our players."

Two 3-pointers by Kapono and one by Barnes cut it to 87-86 with 4:56 to play, but the Bruins never scored again.

Stoudamire stole the ball and passed it downcourt to Gardner, who tossed it back to Frye for a fastbreak stuff. T.J. Cummings fouled Frye, and the three-point play put Arizona ahead 90-86 with 2:57 remaining.

It was the second big homecourt comeback this season for the Wildcats, who trailed Oregon State by 21 before coming back to win earlier this month.

UCLA's old record for 3-pointers was 14 against Maryland in the 2000 NCAA tournament. Kapono shares the individual 3-point mark with Reggie Miller and Ed O'Bannon.

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