Huskies slip to 13-5, 6-3 on the season.
Jan. 31, 1998
LOS ANGELES (AP) - So much for Washington's twin towers.
No. 8 UCLA used its only near 7-footer and some full-court pressure to beat the Huskies 105-94 Saturday and take sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 Conference.
"This is a huge game for us," said Toby Bailey, who had 22 points and a career-high 11 assists. "If we lost, it might have put us out of Pac-10 championship contention. At least we're still in the hunt."
Jelani McCoy, who at 6-9 is UCLA's tallest player, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his most productive game in two weeks to counter Washington's inside combination of 7-1 Patrick Femerling and 7-0 Todd MacCulloch.
MacCulloch scored 10 points over the game's first five minutes, then sat down the rest of the half despite having just two fouls. Femerling, who missed the early part of the season while playing for Germany's national team, was limited to six points and six rebounds.
"We felt that if we could keep it close, we would have MacCulloch down the stretch and not risk the third foul," said Washington coach Bob Bender, who, in his fifth season, is 0-9 against UCLA, the only Pac-10 school he's never beaten.
But the conservative strategy backfired, especially since MacCulloch picked up one foul in the second half as the Huskies' strongest scoring threat. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.
"The coach has a pattern. If I get two early fouls, I'm out," he said. "In the second half, the plan for me was to take the ball into the hole from 2-4 feet. Those are the shots I like, and today they went down."
Kris Johnson led the Bruins (17-3, 7-2) with 26 points, while Baron Davis had 17 points before fouling out late. Freshman Earl Watson also had a career-best 11 assists.
Johnson said MacCulloch's absence changed the game.
"The offensive presence wasn't there anymore, so it was easier for us to gamble more on the press," he said. "We were giving up some buckets, but another five minutes, he would have been a non-factor because we started playing and pressuring."
MacCulloch played a total of 23:09, during which the Huskies outscored UCLA 67-62. When he was out for 16:51, the Bruins held a 43-27 scoring edge.
Deon Luton added 18 points for Washington (13-5, 6-3), which dropped out of a tie for third with its 10th straight loss to UCLA. The Huskies haven't won at Pauley Pavilion in 11 years.
They made it close near the end, though. The Bruins twice led by 30 points, the second time on an inside basket by McCoy. With about six minutes remaining, McCoy had the Bruins ahead by 22 on two free throws.
UCLA coach Steve Lavin took several of his starters out, and the Huskies scored 12 straight to pull within 10. Luton and Dan Dickau hit consecutive 3-pointers in the run that forced UCLA's starting five back in.
"What we have to be able to do is sustain for 40 minutes," Lavin said. "I was pleased we were able to sustain for 30 minutes, but our goal is 40."
They steadied things on a free throw by Davis and Bailey's slam dunk that restored UCLA's lead to 13. But Washington crawled back within seven on a basket by Donald Watts with one minute to play.
The Huskies made just three perimeter shots the entire first half, when they trailed by 18 points three times, including at the break.
"We felt the early pressure and it forced turnovers," Femerling said. "We were getting no second chance shots and UCLA's fast break was very effective."
Down by 18 points the first time, Bender took out MacCulloch and Femerling for about two minutes. The Huskies scored six straight and pulled within 12 - the closest they would get until closing to 99-92 with a minute remaining.