March 16, 2001
REGIONAL: East, Second Round.
TIME: Saturday, 3:40 p.m. EST.
SITE: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Maybe now Utah State has garnered more interest for its web site. The school certainly will have the attention of UCLA.
Coming off its first NCAA tournament victory in 21 years, the 12th-seeded Aggies seek another major upset when it faces No. 4 seed UCLA in the second round of the East Regional.
Utah State was one of the surprises in the first round with its 77-68 overtime victory Thursday over fifth-seeded Ohio State.
"I hope this puts us on the map and gets people to go to our web site because we proved we can play with the top teams," said Aggies senior center Dimitri Jorssen.
Tony Brown hit the game-tying jumper with 1.8 seconds left in regulation and the Aggies outscored the Buckeyes 17-8 in overtime for their first tournament win since 1970, when they knocked off both UTEP and Santa Clara.
Utah State has suffered in large part because of its membership in the Big West, which hasn't sent multiple teams to the NCAA tournament since UNLV left the conference following the 1995-96 season.
The Bruins avoided an upset Thursday, coming back from a six-point deficit in the final 13 minutes to advance to the second round with a 61-48 victory over 13th-seeded Hofstra. Billy Knight scored 17 points and UCLA used its press to wear down Hofstra, outscoring the Pride 24-5 in the final 13 minutes.
"Sometimes we don't force a lot of turnovers early or you don't see the tangible effects of the press, but there is a wearing factor," coach Steve Lavin said. "So, late in the game, there will be a flurry of baskets we get and that's because of fatigue. Sometimes we surprise ourselves."
The win also gave Lavin at least one tournament victory for the fourth time in five NCAA appearances since replacing Jim Harrick in the wake of a recruiting scandal.
UCLA and Utah State have met once before in the NCAA tournament, when the Bruins crushed the Aggies 101-79 in 1970 en route to its fourth straight national championship and sixth in seven seasons.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Utah State - F Shawn Daniels (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg), F Curtis Bobb (10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg), C Jorssen (8.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G Bernard Rock (10.6 ppg, 4.2 apg), G Tony Brown (11.9 ppg, 3.2 apg). UCLA - F Matt Barnes (11.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg), F Jason Kapono (17.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg), C Dan Gadzuric (11.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg), G Earl Watson (14.6 ppg, 5.3 apg), G Knight (7.8 ppg, 0.5 apg).
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Utah State - Automatic bid, Big West Conference tournament champion, defeated No. 5 Ohio State 77-68, OT, first round. UCLA - At-large bid, Pac-10 Conference, defeated No. 13 Hofstra 61-48, first round.
ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Utah State - 6-15, 14 years. UCLA - 82-29, 37 years.