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March 16, 1997|TIM KAWAKAMI

What didn't happen in this half? Jelani McCoy started things with an errant high-low pass meant for J.R. Henderson, then Toby Bailey, Charles O'Bannon, Cameron Dollar, and Henderson again followed that with miscues of their own, giving UCLA six turnovers in the first 3:16 of play. But Xavier's game-long outside shooting woes were evident early, when normally fine-shooting guard Gary Lumpkin air-balled his first three-point try. Bailey committed his second turnover by picking up his second offensive foul, a charge, with 16:23 left in the half and the Musketeers about to take an 11-4 lead. But Kris Johnson jumped into the game and came out smoking, hitting his first two three-point attempts and drawing a double-technical foul (along with Xavier's T.J. Johnson) with 14:34 left and UCLA trailing, 11-7. Johnson's energy, plus some key plugging by Brandon Loyd, seemed to settle things for UCLA, while Lenny Brown and Lumpkin kept missing for Xavier. A good early Bruin sign: Loyd, a 50% free-throw shooter in the regular season, went four for four from the line in the half. An 8-0 UCLA run, closed by O'Bannon's first three-pointer, gave UCLA it's first lead, 12-11, with 13:40 left. Henderson scored seven of UCLA's last 18 points.

* UCLA'S LEADING SCORERS: O'Bannon 15, Henderson 9, Loyd 7.

* UCLA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Henderson 6, O'Bannon and Dollar 3.

* OTHER STUFF: The Bruins threw a weird, 2-3 matchup zone at Xavier, after going several weeks--and most of their recent winning streak--playing mostly man-to-man. The Musketeers didn't like it.

* XAVIER'S LEADING SCORERS: Braggs 10, Williams and Posey 8.

* XAVIER'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Braggs 8, Anderson 3.

* OTHER STUFF: It was UCLA's third straight 50-point-plus half in the tournament. Brown and Lumpkin were zero for eight from three-point distance and three for 14 overall.


McCoy, once again, started things for UCLA, this time with a slam off an offensive rebound-snap pass by Bailey. But the Musketeers answered with a 7-2 run that closed the gap to two, 49-47, with 17:13 to play, after Brown hit a short jumper and made the free throw after he was fouled by Loyd. In that run, both O'Bannon and Bailey picked up their third fouls, and UCLA Coach Steve Lavin took them out for 31 seconds for a quick talk, then put them back in. Xavier kept trying to go to Braggs and Williams inside, but with the zone funneling right to McCoy, McCoy started funneling their shots right back at them. Realizing how cold Lumpkin and Brown were, the Bruins packed in the zone, and let the misfiring continue. Xavier did not hit its first three-pointer until Lumpkin buried one with 5:25 left in the game--the Musketeers were 0 for 13 before that. With the sprint on, UCLA took a 74-55 lead with 8:39 left and Bruin finishers took turns making fancy reverse layups. Henderson made it all official with a mini-desperation 22-footer at the shot-clock buzzer that swished to give UCLA a 78-62 lead.

* UCLA'S LEADING SCORERS: O'Bannon and Henderson 13, Bailey 8.

* UCLA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Henderson and Dollar 3.

* OTHER STUFF: With McCoy out and Henderson needing rests off and on, for the first time this season, the Bruins went with a lineup that did not include anybody taller than 6-5, and got hit with some Xavier muscle, as would be expected. Lavin emptied his bench with 1:06 left and the Bruins ahead by 18 when he saw that Prosser had done the same.

* XAVIER'S LEADING SCORERS: Brown 11, Williams 8, Posey 6.

* XAVIER'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Williams and Posey 3.

* OTHER STUFF: The Musketeers, with two sophomore guards sure to learn from this experience, looked directly to the future after this game. "We'll be back," Braggs said.

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