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|Photos: Alcindor (Wireimage), Walton (AP), Davis (Getty)|
|Scoop Jackson predicts ...|
For the first time in this tournament, Walton and Abdul-Jabbar (who announced his name change the morning of the game) seem slightly intimidated. In GT's frontline, they don't see other players as much as the see a wall that's possibly impossible to get through or go over. Ewing, Mourning, Mutombo and Graham. Damn. All the while, Reggie Miller is sizing down Allen Iverson. "I've gotta find an answer for this little guy!" Reggie kisses his right wrist, hoping that God is with him. As expected, John Thompson's "Harvard D" puts the clamps on Bill and Kareem, who Bill Raftery keeps calling Lew Alcindor. The Hoyas' zone makes it virtually impossible for the Bruins to score, impossible for the Bruins to get the ball inside.
That's when the Wizard turns Westwood. With Iverson going off -- 35 with 10:35 left in the game -- Wooden shifts the entire offense into the hands of Marques Johnson, Sidney Wicks and Miller. "They can't guard all of you from out there," he says during a timeout. "Start shooting." It isn't magic that makes UCLA open up the game, but the skill of two of the four Oscar Robertson Trophy winners (college basketball player of the year) on its squad who take their game to another level. And Reggie, he drops his sixth 3 of the second half as the buzzer sounds. To which AI says to him after the game, "Make sure you do that same [expletive] in the next game. You better win it all." To which Reggie replies, "'Preciate ya. That's a promise."
Final score: UCLA 96, Georgetown 84
|Photos: Ewing (AP), Mourning (Getty), Iverson (Getty)|
|Eric Neel predicts ...|
Everyone has UCLA moving on. But we shouldn't be in a hurry about it. After Helen Reddy and Norman Dale, John Thompson is the all-time master of "You and Me Against the World" psychology. He gathers his team for chalk talk and lays out his vision. He figures the frontlines for almost a push: Dikembe, Alonzo and Patrick will contest everything Walton and Alcindor throw at them. "The key is they cannot defend our guards," he says in his inimitable baritone. "They have no answer for Allen whatsoever, and Sleepy well, son, they're shaking at the thought of what you did to the Lakers in '87." Then he turns to Michael Graham, the way Don Corleone turns to Lucca Brazzi, and hands him a folded piece of paper with two names on it: "Sidney Wicks" and "Marques Johnson." Graham nods. There will be bone bruises and forearm shivers. Now to Reggie Williams, the only player in uniform with anything like shutdown potential: It's his job to get in Reggie Miller's head.
The game is on. Alcindor and Walton tire trying to get open. Wicks and Johnson are banged up. And Williams is so in Miller's face that he needs a coal-miner's lantern just to see his quick release. Iverson scores 43. Floyd chips in 29. The Bruins are down most of the game, and you can see the frustration on their faces throughout, but the Hoyas can't sustain it. Graham fouls out. Williams is breathing oxygen through a mask by the middle of the second half, and Alcindor brings Mutombo way out from underneath the basket with 19-foot baseline sky hooks, leading to open lanes for Gail Goodrich and Baron Davis. In the end, there's just too much UCLA offense from too many positions on the floor, and the Bruins advance. Barely.
Final score: UCLA 103, Georgetown 98