Bulldogs Silence Bruins, 59-43
Dec. 11, 1999
By BETH HARRIS
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The little school that shocked the NCAA tournament with its run to the final eight last season pulled off another big surprise Saturday.
Reserve Ryan Floyd scored a career-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and No. 24 Gonzaga held No. 11 UCLA to its lowest point total ever at Pauley Pavilion in a 59-43 victory.
"Two years ago, Gonzaga could not say that if we play our game we can win, but now we can," said Matt Santangelo, who helped the Bulldogs beat Minnesota and Stanford in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament.
The Bruins' previous low was 44 against Southern California on March 8, 1969 - their first-ever defeat at Pauley Pavilion, which opened in 1965. The loss matched UCLA's worst in a home non-conference game, having lost by 16 points against DePaul in the 1983-84 season.
"They just took our heart and our pride from us," UCLA freshman Jason Kapono said. "They started hitting shots and crashing the rebounds and we couldn't answer that. That's when our heart was taken and it was all downhill from there."
With John Wooden watching from behind the bench, the Bruins narrowly avoided the school record for fewest points in a half (14) at Pauley Pavilion when Earl Watson scored their final five points in the last two minutes to give them 17.
"I'm surprised at losing to any team," Watson said. "Almost every game, I think I'm going to win it, especially in Pauley Pavilion."
UCLA (3-1) shot 26 percent for the game - a school-record low in Pauley - and had 16 turnovers.
"The odds on us ever shooting the ball this poorly again would be very unlikely," coach Steve Lavin said. "We were probably 19 percent until a couple of late baskets."
The Bruins hadn't played since consecutive 100-point victories over Iona and
Morgan State, to go with a season-opening win over Fairfield. Gonzaga is the
first of three straight Top 25 opponents coming to Pauley before month's end.
"They played a much tougher schedule than we have. We've had 10 days off to prepare and we played very poorly," Lavin said. "That one's on me as a head coach. I accept the blame for the poor performance."
The Bulldogs (5-2) came into the game off consecutive losses to No. 1 Cincinnati and No. 19 Temple in Chicago, but they shook off a slow first half to control the rest of the game.
"I'm feeling extremely proud," first-year Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We exercised the demons from our Chicago trip."
Gonzaga, which hit 47 percent in the second half, scored the first seven points of the second half before UCLA tied it at 28. Floyd hit a 3-pointer to launch an 18-6 run that put Gonzaga ahead 46-34 with 8:14 remaining.
"It's a huge win and we finally proved a little bit to ourselves and hopefully to a lot of other people," Floyd said. "To come in here and hold this team to 43 points is great."
The Bruins played without JaRon Rush, who was suspended Friday for a possible NCAA rules violation. Rush will be out while the school investigates, although he sat in street clothes on the bench.
That left the Bruins without one of their best rebounders. Rush was averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.
"We need him a lot right now," Watson said. "If anyone thinks we can win big without JaRon, I don't know."
Besides missing open shots, the Bruins were in foul trouble, with Kapono picking up his fourth, Dan Gadzuric his third and Jerome Moiso already having four. A minute later, Watson was whistled for his fourth. The fouls on Gadzuric and Moiso crippled UCLA's inside game.
"I definitely could tell they played some high-ranking teams," Watson said of Gonzaga. "They were solid and you could tell they learned from their mistakes. You could tell it's a team that's getting better every game."
Down by nine points with 6:45 remaining, the Bruins watched as Gonzaga reeled off nine straight points for a 56-38 lead that put the game out of reach.
Kapono was the only Bruin in double figures with 10 points.
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