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'The Pit' Doesn't Swallow Bruins

January 29, 2002

Oregon's McArthur Court, a.k.a. "The Pit," is one of the most difficult venues in the nation for visiting teams. Yet, UCLA has won two of its last three men's basketball games there, including 88-73 last season.

As the No. 13-ranked Bruins prepare to visit Eugene on Thursday, they don't need to be reminded of the key element of that victory--taking an early lead. UCLA led by 12 at the half and extended the margin to 21 in the first five minutes of the second half.

Oregon (15-6) is tied for first place in the Pacific 10 Conference with USC at 7-2, but fell out of the top 25 after splitting at the Washington schools last week. The Ducks are 11-0 at home, and their victims at The Pit include Stanford, Arizona and California.

Matt Barnes and Jason Kapono, the Bruins' top scorers of late, were especially good last season at Oregon. Barnes made 10 field goals for 21 points and Kapono had 20 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.


Rico Hines practiced Monday and it appears the headaches related to the concussion he suffered Jan. 8 are behind him.

The senior guard played five minutes against California on Saturday after sitting out three games and felt fine afterward.

UCLA is 10-1 with Hines in the starting lineup, but Coach Steve Lavin said freshman point guard Cedric Bozeman will continue to start.

Hines does not play point guard, and when he started, Kapono moved to that position. Inserting Bozeman into the lineup enables Kapono, the team's leading scorer, to play on the wing and get more shot opportunities.

Hines averages less than one point, but he is regarded as the best defensive player besides center Dan Gadzuric.

"It felt so good to get back in a game," Hines said. "My head felt fine. I just want to get back to playing defense, taking charges and doing whatever I can to help us win."

Steve Henson

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