Nov 20, 2001
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
LAHAINA, Hawaii - UCLA knew what happened to the other Top Five teams in Monday's opening round of the Maui Invitational and the Bruins made sure it didn't happen to them.
Jason Kapono scored 16 points to lead No. 3 UCLA to a 71-60 victory over Houston in the first-round game at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Earlier, No. 1 Duke squeezed past Seton Hall 80-79 and No. 4 Kansas lost to Ball State 93-91.
The Bruins will play Ball State in Tuesday's semifinals.
"This was the first time tipping for real for everybody and it just doesn't matter who you're playing," UCLA coach Steve Lavin. "You get fired up, coaches and players, and we started jittery and then played effectively in the second half."
Kapono had nine points in the second half, all on 3-pointers. His first came 23 seconds into the half and extended the Bruins' 30-27 lead. His second gave UCLA a 49-36 lead, their biggest to that point, and his last one came with 4:37 left and made it 69-54.
Kapono finished 4-for-7 from 3-point range and the Bruins were 8-for-16.
Freshman guard Cedric Bozeman added 13 points for UCLA, including a 3-pointer that gave the Bruins their biggest lead of the game, 64-48, with 6:52 left. Matt Barnes had 13 points and 12 rebounds for UCLA.
"I just tried to stay in the flow and was trying to stay poised and gather myself," Bozeman said of his debut.
Lavin heaped praise on the 6-foot-6 point guard.
"I thought for his first game being in an event like this on national television he played extremely well," Lavin said. "He keeps his poise and stays patient with himself."
Bruins starting center Dan Gadzuric finished with five points and two rebounds after playing just four minutes in the first half because of foul trouble and missing five minutes in the second half after spraining his left ankle.
"He'll get treatment tomorrow and it will be a game-time decision, but from the way he sounded I don't think he'll play," Lavin said. "He's sore."
Louis Truscott, a transfer from Nebraska playing in his first game for Houston, had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Patrick Okafor had 13 points. Houston struggled against UCLA's zone, going 3-for-18 from 3-point range.
"We couldn't get shots to do down," Houston coach Ray McCallum said. "Their zone got us back on our heels and we didn't do a good job attacking it and they were able to wear us down."
The win gave UCLA a 7-2 lead in the series between the schools and the Bruins have won the last six. Houston's last victory was Jan. 20, 1968, when the second-ranked Cougars, led by Elvin Hayes, beat the top-ranked Bruins, led by Lew Alcindor, 71-69 before a crowd of 50,000 at the Astrodome.