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SPORTS
January 25, 2001 | SAM FARMER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
With the Rick Pitino rumblings only beginning to fade, UCLA Coach Steve Lavin is in another uncomfortable spot. He defended himself and his basketball program Wednesday on two fronts--academics and recruiting. First, academics. Several members of the team are coming off a disappointing fall quarter in the classroom, including two players who finished with grade-point averages of less than 1.0, or D level.
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SPORTS
January 25, 2001 | SAM FARMER
If Earl Watson is unable to play against Oregon State, the Bruins might turn to 6-foot-7 forward Jason Kapono to run the point. He was effective in that role earlier in the season and presents some challenges on defense for opponents. "He's bigger and sees over perimeter players," Coach Steve Lavin said. "He's a quick decision maker, and obviously he's a good shooter. That forces teams to get up and guard him."
SPORTS
January 24, 2001 | SAM FARMER
Point guard Earl Watson's status for Thursday's game against Oregon State remains in doubt. He practiced for about 20 minutes Tuesday while wearing a back brace, and, although he didn't have his full range of motion or directional burst, he said he felt relatively good. "The brace helps out a lot, takes a lot of pressure off my back," said Watson, who sat out the final 18 minutes of Saturday's 25-point loss to Arizona.
SPORTS
January 23, 2001 | SAM FARMER
Point guard Earl Watson is listed as doubtful for Thursday's game against Oregon State because of a bruised right hip, although he has beaten those odds before in keeping alive his streak of 112 consecutive starts. X-rays on Watson's lower back Monday proved negative, but he did not practice. The way some Bruins see it, things might have gone much differently in Arizona had Watson not missed the final 18:37 because of back problems.
SPORTS
January 21, 2001 | CHRIS DUFRESNE
UCLA basketball has suffered plenty of can't-look losses in the hour-glass Steve Lavin era. Georgia Tech, last month, Arrowhead Pond? There wasn't enough disinfectant to cleanse the joint. You say Cal State Northridge at home and we say where was that rolling blackout when we needed it? Who can forget 43 points against Gonzaga at Pauley Pavilion last season or, whopper of whoppers--Stanford 109, UCLA 61 in 1996-97?
SPORTS
January 21, 2001 | SAM FARMER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
After weeks of frustration, UCLA guard Ray Young broke out of his slump Saturday and relocated his jump shot. Meanwhile, the rest of the Bruins wandered the desert in search of theirs. And while that combination made for a riveting first half, it fell short of providing UCLA with the juice it needed to topple No. 17 Arizona. In the end, natural order was restored and the Wildcats rolled to an 88-63 victory before a raucous crowd of 14,562 that seldom bothered to sit.
SPORTS
January 20, 2001 | SAM FARMER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
No more X-rays for Earl Watson. After getting roughly 10 in three years, he's through for a while. "I started getting so many, I was getting a little worried about radiation," said UCLA's oft-injured point guard, who took a hard spill Thursday against Arizona State, bruising his right hip and lower back. Watson walked without a limp Friday and said he will be ready for today's game against No. 17 Arizona. He said he seldom takes medication but has made an exception in this case.
SPORTS
January 20, 2001 | SAM FARMER
The Bruins are getting better from the foul line. Against Arizona State, they made 31 of 45 free throws--both season highs--and 12 of their final 14 in the final 1:15. That made the difference for UCLA, which scored its last field goal with 2:01 to play. "It's all about confidence," point guard Earl Watson said. "You see players want the ball when they go to the line. They don't just try to get rid of it quick. Players are holding onto it, wanting to take those shots."
SPORTS
January 19, 2001 | SAM FARMER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
T.J. Cummings hates to rush. That's why the UCLA freshman showed up in the lobby of the team hotel Thursday in his game uniform. Four hours before tipoff. "My teammates kind of laughed at me a couple of times, but it's just something I have to do to get ready," Cummings said. "They can't really be laughing with the outcome. When I'm calm, I'm cool." For proof, rewind the tape from the second half of UCLA's 91-83 victory over Arizona State at Wells Fargo Arena.
SPORTS
January 12, 2001 | MIKE TERRY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
They have been in the top 25 the past 10 weeks, but the USC Trojans have often said the rankings don't mean anything right now. It was obvious for nearly 30 minutes Thursday night that the Trojans' No. 19 ranking meant nothing to the UCLA Bruins. With 11:26 to play in the second half, UCLA was cruising, 71-52. The Trojans looked dazed and cowered. Pauley Pavilion was rocking like the old days, when the Bruins toyed with USC as if the Trojans were UCLA's own personal practice squad.
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