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Ariza Pumps Some Air Into UCLA

The freshman forward scores 24 points to lead the Bruins past Oregon State, 77-66, in the Pac-10 opener.

January 03, 2004|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

The official name for what ailed Trevor Ariza a month ago was spontaneous pneumothorax. In layman's terms, a collapsed lung.

The official name for what ailed UCLA on Friday night was a 10-point first-half deficit. In layman's terms, the Bruins were plain awful.

The cures could not have been more different.

Seventeen days of rest healed Ariza's lung. Seven minutes of frenzied activity from the freshman forward fixed UCLA.

Ariza scored 16 points early in the second half and 24 in the game to lift the Bruins past Oregon State, 77-66, in a Pacific 10 Conference opener at Pauley Pavilion.

At halftime Bruin point guard Cedric Bozeman said to no one in particular, "We need energy from somewhere." Ariza took the comment to heart and emerged from the locker room with resolve.

"Making a few helped my confidence," said Ariza, who came into the game shooting 38.1% but made 11 of 13 from the field. "I'd been working on my shot all week."

And they fell in a variety of ways. He made two three-point shots, several dunks and added assorted post-up moves and short jumpers. He also had nine rebounds and two assists, teaming both times with reserve guard Janou Rubin, who did not play in the first half but finished with 13 points and three assists.

Coach Ben Howland said Rubin would be the first reserve in the game Sunday against Oregon.

Reserve center Ryan Hollins was the third prong in the Bruin flurry, scoring all 11 of his points after halftime and bringing the crowd of 8,792 to its feet with soaring dunks that provided a glimpse of his Pac 10-best form in the triple jump.

"As bad as we were in the first half, we were great in the second half," Howland said. "We were lethargic-looking, but Trevor, Janou and Ryan really keyed our comeback."

Ariza became assertive immediately after halftime, scoring baskets on an inbounds play, a post-up move and a long-range jumper in the first 1:40.

Howland took him out, scolded him for a lack of defensive intensity, then sent him back in 40 seconds later to make a dunk that pulled UCLA within 38-37.

"He's going to be outstanding when he learns to have the same intensity level throughout and not to just feed on his emotion," Howland said.

Rubin and Hollins soon joined in and UCLA (5-3) never trailed after Ariza's consecutive three-pointers had the Bruins on top, 47-42.

"Our goal was to get within four points with 10 minutes to go," Howland said. "It came a lot quicker than even I anticipated."

Michael Fey was the lone Bruin bright spot in the first half, scoring nine points. Dijon Thompson missed all six of his shots, T.J. Cummings made one of five, and UCLA made 11 of 29 as a team.

Thompson and Cummings -- who sprained his big toe -- never did get untracked, but for one night they weren't necessary because Rubin and Hollins played so well off the bench.

Particularly bad were the last 10 minutes of the first half, when an 18-17 UCLA lead was turned into a 34-24 deficit.

The Bruins had a scoreless stretch of more than five minutes, and after playing solid defense most of the half gave up two three-pointers in the last few minutes that stretched the lead of the Beavers (6-5) to double digits.

During the drought, Bozeman had to leave the game because of an abdominal strain, and UCLA could have used one person sitting in the stands -- Andre Patterson, the forward who transferred to Tennessee after last season because of academic problems.

Patterson is sitting out the season under transfer rules but said he passed his classes in the fall semester and is practicing with the Volunteers.

Bozeman left the court with three minutes left in the half and returned to the game after Ariza's scoring flurry put UCLA ahead by five points with 13:23 to play.

Without Bozeman, Bruin ballhandling was sloppy. Guard Jon Crispin matched his season total of eight minutes in the first half and he made his first shot, a three-pointer.

Ryan Walcott also played more than usual, notching four assists in 15 minutes.

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