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Miller Is One-Man Showtime With 37 in 95-74 UCLA Win

February 25, 1986|TRACY DODDS | Times Staff Writer

Reggie Miller was hot Monday night.

On a good night, he leads his team in scoring with numbers that keep his average ranked among the best in the country. On a hot night, he puts on a show. Reggie's hazel eyes light up, and it's Miller Time.

It has been Miller Time for about a week now. In the last three games, the Bruins' junior forward has scored 93 points.

His 37-point performance as UCLA beat Stanford, 95-74, Monday night at Pauley Pavilion almost salvaged an otherwise dreadfully dull Pacific 10 contest.

Considering the way the Bruins coasted through this victory, it's hard to believe that UCLA lost to this Stanford team earlier in the season. But UCLA has lost to just about everybody on the road this season.

UCLA, which has won eight straight at Pauley Pavilion, went to 8-7 in the conference, 13-11 overall, while Stanford dropped to 7-7 and 13-13.

Very mediocre records for a couple of pretty mediocre teams.

As UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard so perfectly put it, "Thank God for Reggie Miller."

Miller kept the crowd of 6,441 from nodding off as the game dragged on.

He made 16 of 22 shots and all five of his free throws in a display of shooting made more amazing because of the range involved.

Fourteen of his 16 baskets were from 20 feet out or more. A couple were flirting with the 25-foot range. He found a spot in the left corner that he seemed to like particularly well and swished a series of high-arching shots from that spot, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd.

Late in the game, while the Bruins were trying to use the clock to their advantage, Miller stood on that spot and teased the Cardinal with a couple of pump-fakes and then a pass.

Miller got a standing ovation when he left the game with 1:12 to play.

Stanford Coach Tom Davis said: "Reggie Miller is an outstanding player. This year he has improved his inside game to complement his jump-shooting. It makes him a much tougher player when he can post up so well. Our only chance tonight was to back the zone in and try to stop UCLA's inside game.

"But they just kept knocking down their shots. . . .

"There's not much you can do against them when they get their shots off as quickly, as they did tonight. We started off in a man-to-man but could not find their shooters quickly enough. When you go up against a team that is quick and jumps as well as they do and hits their shots like they did tonight, you will be in for a long night."

Miller said: "Basically, their defense was trying to shut down the paint (inside game, in the lane). They were playing zone, so Montel Hatcher and I were getting the easy outside shots.

"We just put 'em in."

Hatcher, the Bruins' shooting guard, made 8 of 11 shots, taking most of them from long range, too, and finished with 17 points.

Stanford was led by freshman guard Todd Lichti, who scored 26 points.

But Stanford never had much of a chance the way the Bruins were shooting the ball. UCLA shot 62.3% for the game.

The Bruins led by as many as 15 points in the first half and were ahead, 46-39, at intermission. But the Bruins broke the game open midway through the second half when Miller went on a tear.

Miller's 24-foot shot from the right wing gave the Bruins a 68-56 lead. A steal put the ball back in Bruin hands, and Miller and Kelvin Butler teammed up for a two-on-one fast break that ended with Butler laying it in, Miller getting the assist and Stanford's Howard Wright getting the foul. Butler made the free throw to stretch the lead to 15 points again.

Stanford scored, but Miller kept the margin at 15 with a 27-foot bomb. He then made two free throws to stretch the lead to 17, and freshman guard Pooh Richardson made it a 19-point game with his 15-footer in the lane.

The game was over, but there was time left on the clock (a long 6:23), so play continued.

Miller had a lot of fun playing out the final minutes. He could have run up a much higher total had he been so inclined.

When he was taken out, Miller actually had 35 points, but the official box credits him with 37, giving him one basket that should have belonged to guard Corey Gaines.

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