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Miller Has 42, Is Too Much for Louisville

March 01, 1987|THOMAS BONK | Times Staff Writer

Here is how Reggie Miller spent his Saturday afternoon. He scored 42 points against Louisville, he stole the ball four times, he hugged his sister Cheryl and he showed up at a postgame press conference wearing a pair of shades.

So, Reggie, is this how it's going to be in the tournament games? "I'm not a Gypsy," he said. "I'm not a fortune teller."

And of course, that was no crystal ball that Miller and the Bruins were throwing at and into the basket in their 99-86 victory over the Cardinals at Pauley Pavilion.

It probably wouldn't have made any difference if it was. The way Miller and Dave Immel were shooting, they could have been hurling cantaloupes and they would have made them fit into tin cans.

Reggie, who said he is no longer reluctant to shoot because now the games are more important, put up 19 shots from the field, made 15 of them, sank 2 of 3 three-pointers, made all 10 of his free throws, scored 33 points in the second half and reached a career high in points.

Now, this is how Louisville will spend today: The players will take a trip to Disneyland. They got Fantasyland out of the way at Pauley.

"They can shoot from anywhere," Louisville Coach Denny Crum said of UCLA's jump shooters. "In fact, they did."

And this is how the regular season ended for UCLA and Louisville: For the Cardinals, the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. tournament may be in their near future, although with a 17-13 record, Crum is far from sure.

"We're probably on the bubble," said Crum, whose team is the defending national champion. "I don't think there are 60 teams better than we are. But if we don't get in, I'll just go fishing."

And UCLA? "They'll definitely get a bid," Crum said.

The 21-6 Bruins won for the 18th time in their last 20 games, this one before a gathering of 11,578 who saw an interesting series of matchups. Immel took on the three-point line, point guard Pooh Richardson took on Cardinal forward Herbert Crook, and Cardinal center Pervis Ellison took on any UCLA shot he could reach.

The winners were UCLA, Immel, and Ellison, the latter blocking six shots.

"That guy should be playing volleyball, because he was spiking everything," said Bruin center Jack Haley, who had three of his shots blocked by Ellison, one of them by the 6-foot 9-inch sophomore's elbow.

"I was bumping him around a lot, but it never seemed to bother him," Haley said. "You know, he really is 'Never Nervous Pervis.' "

Pooh and Crook wound up in a draw. Both were ejected in the second half for their involvement in a brief fight. It only lasted a minute but cleared both benches and also possibly Pooh's sinus passages when Crook bopped him in the head.

By then, UCLA already had a 78-59 lead with 6:47 to play, and the Bruins went on from there to score a clear-cut victory for their style of play.

That style is probably best modeled by Immel and Miller. It features plunging jump shots, like the ones Immel displayed on his way to a career-high 23 points. Immel attempted 15 shots, but 11 of them were from behind the three-point line. And he made six of the three-pointers.

From Reggie's launch pad, a pair of jumpers measured at 25 feet found the hoop on their way down. Afterward, Crum applauded UCLA's jump shot-oriented offense.

"If I had those kids, I'd have them shooting three-pointers, too," he said.

Everybody knows that the Bruins are going to ride their jump shots as far as they will carry them. And although UCLA's lack of an inside game, when they have the ball and when they don't, has been a major source of irritation to Coach Walt Hazzard when he is reminded about it, the Bruins' outside game was clearly better than Louisville's inside game.

The Bruins, who led, 43-34, at the half, found out quickly they were playing a speed game. Louisville runs as much as the Bruins but not as well because its guards aren't as good, so there wasn't much time wasted on the 45-second shot clock.

When Immel's 24-foot three-pointer reached the basket midway through the half, UCLA moved out to its first nine-point lead. Ellison scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half, but he did most of his damage in the second half when he didn't have the ball.

"Pervis played about as well as he could play with his shot-blocking," Crum said. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have been competitive."

After the Cardinals got to within 49-42 four minutes into the second half, the Bruins increased a 55-46 lead to 61-47 on successive three-pointers by Miller and Immel.

A 10-0 run by UCLA that included two more Immel three-pointers put it out of reach, 71-52, with 10:20 left. The Bruins were better off staying away from Ellison, even with the lopsided score. In a five-minute stretch, Ellison rejected five shots.

"He was like a goalie knocking the balls away," Hazzard said. "And he's just a sophomore. That's scary."

Meanwhile, the debate continues about UCLA's inside game. Ellison, who has an opinion about it, sounded as though he had just seen a flying saucer.

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