Dec. 18, 2004
By Beth Harris
Los Angeles (AP) - Dijon Thompson scored a career-high 29 points and hit a 3-pointer that gave UCLA the lead for good with 44 seconds remaining as the Bruins defeated Michigan 81-79 Saturday.
The Bruins (6-1) rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 3:46 after leading most of the way. Freshman Jordan Farmar scored six points in that stretch - all on free throws - including two when the Bruins clung to a one-point lead.
It was Thompson's first game back since cutting his right hand in a loss to Boston College in the Wooden Classic on Dec. 5. He played with some fingers on his shooting hand taped together. Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds.
Chris Hunter scored 21 points to lead four Wolverines in double figures. Courtney Sims and Dion Harris added 17 points each and Ron Coleman had 13 points and five assists.
The Bruins' defensive pressure in the closing minutes forced consecutive turnovers by Michigan (6-5).
Michigan trailed by four points when the Wolverines went on a 14-4 run to take a 75-69 lead with 3:51 remaining. Sims had seven points in the spurt that gave Michigan its largest lead of the game.
But the Bruins answered with a 6-0 run, including Thompson's putback of Arron Afflalo's missed jumper and a free throw by Farmar that tied the game at 75.
The Wolverines committed two straight turnovers and then Hunter missed before UCLA's Michael Fey committed his fourth foul on John Andrews, who made both free throws for a 77-75 lead with 56 seconds left.
Thompson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 78-77 lead with 44 seconds to go. Coleman lost the ball out of bounds for Michigan before Farmar was fouled. He made both to keep UCLA ahead 80-77 with 22 seconds left.
Sims tipped in a missed 3-pointer by Hunter as Michigan trailed 80-79. Hunter then fouled Farmar with 7 seconds left. Farmar missed the first and made the second, finishing with 11 points and nine assists. Harris missed inside for Michigan as time expired.
Michigan was without four players because of injuries. Wing Lester Abram had season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday; forward Graham Brown is out 4-to-6 weeks after having hernia surgery; guard Daniel Horton is out at least four weeks with a left knee sprain; and guard Dani Wohl is out six weeks with a left elbow injury.
The Bruins beat the Wolverines for the first time in their last three meetings, having lost in 2002, when Michigan won at Pauley Pavilion for the first time, and last year when Michigan won 70-66 in Ann Arbor.
At halftime, UCLA retired the No. 25 jersey of Gail Goodrich, who was on the Bruins' first two national championship teams in 1964 and '65. Those were coach John Wooden's first two of 10 national championship teams, and Wooden was on hand for the ceremony.
"It's about time he had his UCLA number retired," said Wooden, noting that Goodrich already had his high school and NBA jerseys retired. Goodrich, 61, was a five-time All-Star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Fittingly, Goodrich's jersey was retired during a game against Michigan. In the 1965 NCAA title game, the Bruins defeated Michigan, with Goodrich scoring 42 points. Cazzie Russell had 28 for the Wolverines.
"My days at UCLA were probably the most enjoyable days I had in basketball," Goodrich told the crowd. "I had a great passion for the game and I could not wait until 3 o'clock in the afternoon to get to practice. I had so much fun and what made those days so enjoyable is that I was able to learn the game the right way from coach Wooden. Many of those lessons out here on the basketball court I was able to take with me and help me through life."
Goodrich lives in Connecticut and works as a studio analyst for NBA TV.