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UCLA REPORT

Kapono Would Like More Free Throws

February 17, 2003|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. — It is little more than an irritation in the Bruin season of misery, but Jason Kapono wonders why he can't get to the free-throw line.

The senior forward scored 21 points against Arizona State on Saturday, making nine of 19 shots. Yet he had no free throws.

"I'm trying to be aggressive, drive the paint, challenge my opponent, but I don't get any fouls called," he said. "It's been this way all season."

It's a shame for UCLA that Kapono averages only about three free throws a game, because he is almost a sure thing at the line, making 54 of 64.

In his first three seasons, he averaged 122 free throws and is sixth on the all-time UCLA list in accuracy at 82.1%.

"Jason doesn't take contested shots a lot of times," Coach Steve Lavin said. "The unselfishness is admirable, but he has the green light to shoot."

Kapono leads the Bruins with a 17.1 scoring average and has taken 262 shots. However, only once has he taken 20 shots in a game.

As his college career winds down, he plans on looking to score. "I'm trying to go out strong," he said. "For the team to have a chance, I can't be passive, passing up shots and waiting for something to come to me. I have to press the issue."

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Kapono is nearly a lock to become the first player to lead UCLA in scoring for four seasons. He is also close to two milestones -- 300 three-point baskets and 2,000 points. He has 298 three-pointers and 1,949 points with six regular-season games to play.

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