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Game Report : First Half In Review

March 23, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Whether it was Elite Eight angst or difficulty locating the basket in the cavernous Alamodome, neither team started fast offensively. Minnesota scored for the first time at 16:47 and didn't make an outside shot until Charles Thomas' three-point basket at 11:26. That gave the Golden Gophers a 13-12 lead, which they quickly lost. The game remained close throughout most of the first 20 minutes, the lead changing hands eight times. The Bruins, who shot only 27% from the field in the first nine minutes, generated most of their offense with defense. They forced 11 turnovers, converting four into fastbreak baskets.

* UCLA'S LEADING SCORERS: Charles O'Bannon 13, Toby Bailey 8.

* UCLA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Jelani McCoy 4, Bailey 4.

* OTHER STUFF: Despite Minnesota's reputation for ball-hawking defense, the Bruins protected the ball well. They had only seven turnovers. . . . They turned the tempo to their advantage late in the half, scoring 14 points on fastbreaks. . . . Otherwise, they had trouble shooting, making 14 of 33 field goal attempts.

* MINNESOTA'S LEADING SCORERS: Bobby Jackson 8, James Courtney 7.

* MINNESOTA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: John Thomas 5, Courtney 5.

* OTHER STUFF: Shadowed by a UCLA defender everywhere he went, Jackson made only one outside shot. The other starting guard, Eric Harris, who was doubtful because of an injured shoulder, played 13 minutes but didn't score. . . . Their teammates weren't having much more success shooting from anywhere, making 11 of 27 shots.


Kris Johnson quickly made a three-point basket to put the Bruins up by eight. They held on for the next 10 minutes, even extending the lead to 10 points at one juncture, but it was obvious that all they were doing was holding on without McCoy. The Gophers forced the ball inside time after time on offense and on defense prevented the undermanned, undersized Bruins from doing the same. Minnesota finally regained the lead, 51-50, with 9:37 remaining as UCLA scored only two points in a six-minute period. The lead changed hands twice more, but a free throw by James at 4:55 gave Minnesota a lead it never relinquished. The Bruins were still within two, 66-64, with 1:55 left. but the Gophers made nine consecutive free throws to clinch it.

* UCLA'S LEADING SCORERS: Bailey 13, O'Bannon 9.


* OTHER STUFF: UCLA failed to protect the ball in the second half, with 11 turnovers. Cameron Dollar, tiring noticeably, had five. . . . The Bruins also were not as effective defensively, creating only four turnovers and converting none of them into baskets. . . . Supposedly the fast-tempo team, they finished at a deficit in fastbreak points, 16-14. . . . McCoy, wearing a flak jacket, played three minutes late in the game but was ineffective and returned to the bench.

* MINNESOTA'S LEADING SCORERS: Quincy Lewis 12, Sam Jacobson 10, Charles Thomas 10, Jackson 10.

* MINNESOTA'S LEADING REBOUNDERS: Jackson 5, Charles Thomas 4.

* OTHER STUFF: The Gophers outrebounded the Bruins, 18-14, and outscored them in the paint, 33-20. . . . The bench again proved a major factor as Minnesota's reserves contributed 22 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes to the Bruins' 10 points and one rebound in 25 minutes. . . . Jackson couldn't find his range. Eight of his 10 points came from the foul line. Harris played 10 more minutes and finished scoreless.

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