UCLA Wins Opener Over Vermont 68-67

Nov 29, 2003

Final Stats

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Michael Fey scored a career-high 20 points and UCLA rallied to beat Vermont 68-67 Saturday, making Ben Howland a winner in his debut as Bruins coach.

Howland came from Pittsburgh to replace Steve Lavin, who was fired in March after seven seasons and four appearances in the Final 16 of the NCAA tournament.

The way the Bruins played in the first half, however, made it seem as though Lavin never left. They fell behind by 11 points, tossed up airballs, and their defense allowed Taylor Coppenrath to score 20 of Vermont's 34 points.

There was booing as the Bruins left the floor, similar to the fan reaction last season when UCLA finished 10-19. A year ago, the Bruins lost their opener to San Diego in overtime, signaling the start of what was to become their worst season in 52 years.

It nearly happened again until Ryan Hollins made one of two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to give UCLA the victory. Vermont guard T.J. Sorrentine dribbled down court, but couldn't get a shot off before time ran out.

The Bruins spent the first 10 minutes of the second half erasing their 11-point deficit with an 11-0 run. Janou Rubin had five points and Fey four in the spurt that gave the Bruins their first lead of the half, 43-41.

But Vermont (0-3) never went away. After being double-teamed early in the half, Coppenrath broke loose and repeatedly hit big baskets that kept it a four-point game or less over the final 11 minutes.

Tied at 64, North Carolina transfer Brian Morrison hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left for UCLA. Coppenrath answered with a 3-pointer to tie it at 67.

UCLA's Cedric Bozeman dribbled down the clock until he dished to Hollins, who missed but got fouled. Hollins made the first free throw, but had the crowd groaning when he missed the second.

Coppenrath, last year's player of the year in the America East Conference, finished with 38 points, tying his career high.

Dijon Thompson added 18 points for the Bruins.

UCLA freshman Trevor Ariza was set to start at forward, but he'll miss at least two weeks because of a collapsed lung. Josiah Johnson started in his place.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Oct 30
vs. Cal State Los ...
Los Angeles, CA
W, 95 - 57
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
L, 77 - 80
Sunday, Nov 29 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Dec 03 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Dec 06 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 12 - 7:00 PM PST
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
Tuesday, Dec 15 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 19 - 10:00 AM PST
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, Dec 22 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 01 - 8:00 PM PST
at Washington
Seattle, WA
Sunday, Jan 03 - 6:30 PM PST
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
Thursday, Jan 07 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 09 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 13 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 20 - 8:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
Saturday, Jan 23 - 1:00 PM PST
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Thursday, Jan 28 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 30 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 04 - 7:30 PM PST
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA