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Bruins Get It Together--for the Moment

January 31, 1988|TRACY DODDS | Times Staff Writer

UCLA forward Trevor Wilson considered how best to sum up the Bruins' 78-71 victory over Washington before a crowd of 6,181 at Pauley Pavilion Saturday. After long thought, he concluded: "We had a few good moments."

True. Mostly when he had good moments.

Wilson added: "We also had some bad moments. Nothing really consistent about it."

Like his own game. Wilson had three points and a technical foul--for firing an obviously irreverent bounce pass at the official who had called a foul on him--in the first half, then scored 19 points in the second half to finish with 22.

It added up to a victory, though, and that's all Wilson cared about.

"I think we're playing really well now," Wilson said. "I think we started coming together before the Arizona game. I don't think we had confidence in each other early in the year--like knowing there would be help on defense. I don't think we were playing together real well. But now that we're all getting closer off the court, too, I think we're playing better together on the court."

Gerald Madkins, a freshman guard who came off the bench to score 10 points--hitting 4 of 5 shots, including 2 of 2 from three-point distance--all at the end of the first half, agreed. Madkins uses the Arizona game as the turning point, though. Madkins said: "After our showing in the Arizona game, I think everybody started believing we wouldn't lose another game. Not if we kept playing hard."

When the Bruins play hard and play together, they are hard to beat. But they let the Huskies stay with them for most of the first half. The score was still tied, 14-14, with 7:50 to play, before the Bruins got their fast break going and sprinted to an 11-point halftime lead.

And they played in sprints and spurts in the second half, too, leading by as many as 14, then letting the Huskies close within 7. They got ahead by 11 again, then let it slip a little--but not too much. A seven-point victory is as good as a 14-point victory in the standings.

UCLA's overall record rose to 9-10 overall and 5-4 in the Pacific 10. Washington is 6-11 and 2-6.

The Bruins also moved up in the conference standings--into a second-place tie with Arizona State and Stanford.

Arizona is the leader at 9-0.

Coach Andy Russo noted that the Huskies had played a bit tentatively in the first half (and shot just 36%), but he was not too upset with his young team. With a starting lineup that includes three freshmen and a sophomore, he's looking toward the future.

"It's tough in one sense but rewarding in another sense in that you can see progress week in and week out," he said.

There was no need to complain about the fact that sophomore forward Mark West fouled out with 1:56 left. It was hardly a turning point, with the Huskies down by 10 at the time.

Russo simply gave credit to the Bruins. He said: "UCLA did the things they needed to do today to win. They played good defense; they executed their offense about as well as I have seen all year, and they hit their free throws down the stretch, something they have had problems with this year. I thought, percentagewise, we fouled the right guys at the end."

Wilson, for example, isn't a great free-throw shooter. But when he went to the line for a one-and-one with 2:29 to play and the Huskies making one of their runs within nine points, he sank two.

UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard had a number of compliments to hand out: "Trevor Wilson had a tremendous second half. Pooh Richardson is starting to play consistently, he has good control of the ballclub; Gerald Madkins is a tremendous freshman, and Kevin Walker gave us a good lift off the bench.

"It wasn't our best game, but it was a good game."

Bruin Notes

With seven assists Saturday, Pooh Richardson took over the No. 2 spot on UCLA's career list with a total of 518. He passed Roy Hamilton (who had 512) and is within five of the all-time leader, Ralph Jackson, who had 523. . . . Forward Trevor Wilson recorded his ninth double double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He has hit double figures in points and rebounds in six of his last eight games. . . . Washington's Jeff Sanor, a sophomore guard/forward, had his career high with 20 points against the Bruins. . . . Gerald Madkins, who was 4 for 5 Saturday, was 6 for 6 from in the last game, against Washington State. He credited assistant coach Ernie Carr, who has been working with him. Madkins said: "My shots are finally falling. I was beginning to think, 'Can I shoot?' My confidence was about broken. But I'm back into my rhythm. Thank God for Coach Carr." . . . UCLA has won five of its last six conference games and will play its next two on the road, Thursday at Oregon and Sunday at Oregon State.

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