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Bruins mired in longest skid since 1945-46 season

1/31/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With 11 national championship banners hanging in Pauley Pavilion, UCLA isn't into moral victories.

Even though the Bruins played their most competitive game in weeks and owned a rare lead in the first half, they were left with the same lousy feeling after a 96-91 overtime loss to Oregon (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) on Thursday night.

Luke Jackson scored 27 points despite playing with a taped right
hand and freshman Ian Crosswhite had eight of his career-high 22
points in overtime as the Ducks handed UCLA its seventh straight
loss, the Bruins' longest skid in 57 years.

"We made progress in the sense that we played hard for 40
minutes,'' said Jason Kapono, who led UCLA with 21 points. "We
just don't know how to pull out the close games yet. We made a
positive step by playing hard. Obviously, the step that we needed
to take is to win.''

The Ducks (15-4, 5-3 Pac-10) won their first conference road
game after two losses and they own a three-game winning streak over
the Bruins for the first time since 1976-77. Oregon, which swept
UCLA last season, has won five straight overall.

"This was a huge win,'' said Luke Ridnour, who had 11 points
and 10 assists. "Anytime you win the first road game it gives you
confidence for the next. Luke really stepped up with an amazing
performance. What a great sight.''

Jackson came off the bench and played with tape on his right
hand after cutting his ring finger against Washington on Jan. 23.
He missed last week's game against Washington State.

"I wasn't sure if I wanted to play because of the pain or if
coach would let me play,'' he said. "I wanted to win so bad that
the pain wasn't there. The win says a lot about our program. Ian
Crosswhite took over and single-handedly carried us home.''

The Bruins (4-12, 2-6) shot 52 percent -- their highest since their last win Jan. 4 at Washington State -- but weren't able to snap their longest losing streak since dropping seven straight in the 1945-46 season. They extended the record for most losses at Pauley in a season to eight.

"When you're in a stretch like we have been, when you're not
able to get positive momentum, you have to get incremental success,'' UCLA coach Steve Lavin said. "This is a good basketball team, whether we see that this year or in the future. It's going to be a very good team down the road.''

The Bruins blew a chance to win in regulation when Ryan Walcott tossed up a wide-open airball.

UCLA led 91-89 in overtime when Kapono's shot bounced off the
rim. Crosswhite completed a three-point play to give Oregon the
lead for good, 92-91. Walcott fouled Luke Ridnour, who made both
for a 94-91 lead with 27 seconds left.

Dijon Thompson turned the ball over to Ridnour, who again got
fouled by Walcott. Ridnour made both for 96-91 lead with nine
seconds left. Cedric Bozeman's shot bounced off the rim and Kapono
missed as time expired.

"UCLA is like a sleeping giant,'' Jackson said. "They got on a roll with some fast breaks and when Kapono gets going they can be a great basketball team. They played us tough. I hope we can learn from this and learn to grind out wins on the road. That's what good teams do.''

James Davis added 15 points, including five 3-pointers, for the
Ducks.

Oregon's 13 3-pointers tied the Pauley record for most by an
opponent set by Arizona State in 1993. Crosswhite, a native of
Australia, had a career-high 12 rebounds.

Thompson added 19 points, Bozeman 17 and freshmen Ryan Hollins
and Michael Fey had 11 points each for UCLA. Hollins also had 11
rebounds and seven blocked shots in his second start of the season.
His points, rebounds and blocks were career highs.

"This is the first time all year Ryan and I were on the floor
the entire game,'' Fey said. "We had a big low post presence, and
we both did a good job.''

For the first time in weeks, the crowd of 9,008 cheered the
Bruins throughout and got on its feet in the final minutes. The
Bruins have heard mostly boos and jeering from fans unimpressed by
their lethargy on defense and poor perimeter shooting.

"They battled like crazy and pushed us to the brink,'' Oregon
coach Ernie Kent said. "It was their best performance in at least
the last 10 games. The fans applauded them when they left the court
and UCLA deserved that applause.''

Jackson scored three consecutive baskets, including a falling
down jumper and a one-handed scoop shot, to give Oregon a 74-73
lead with 5:05 remaining. Thompson scored on a fastbreak dunk and
then hit a 3-pointer for a 78-74 lead.

Davis answered with his fifth 3-pointer. Jackson scored off a
backdoor cut to put Oregon ahead 79-78 with 3:30 left.

Kapono's two free throws gave UCLA a 80-79 lead with 1:15 left.

Crosswhite scored inside and Oregon led 81-80 with 50 seconds to
go. Hollins got fouled, missed the first free throw and made the
second to tie it at 81.

Ridnour had the ball knocked away by Bozeman. Ridnour stumbled,
fell and got the ball back but the shot clock expired with 4.2
seconds left. Walcott's airball forced overtime.