Feb. 23, 2001
UCLA tries to keep its focus on the task at hand in the Pac-10 Conference race as it visits Oregon State on Saturday.
The 15th-ranked Bruins (18-6, 11-2 Pac-10) are one game behind No. 1 Stanford in the conference standings and have handed the Cardinal their only loss. Stanford comes to Pauley Pavilion next Saturday for a game that could decide the Pac-10 champion, and possibly the top seed in the West Region for the NCAA tournament.
But for that game to have any significance, the Bruins first must take care of the Beavers (10-16, 4-10) and complete a sweep of the season series.
UCLA won the tougher of the two road games in Oregon, coming away with an 88-73 victory over the Ducks at MacArthur Court on Thursday.
Jason Kapono had 20 points and 12 rebounds while Dan Gadzuric contributed 16 and eight for the Bruins, who built a 23-point lead and had it whittled to eight in the second half. UCLA, though, gained some confidence by winning down the stretch without point guard Earl Watson, who fouled out with 12:07 to play.
"It's a great sign of maturity for our team that we can execute without Earl," said Matt Barnes, who led UCLA with 21 points.
The Bruins have matched their longest winning streak of the season at six games, and have won 14 of their last 16 since an 80-70 home loss to North Carolina on Dec. 23 left them with a 4-4 record.
Oregon State played the role of spoiler perfectly Thursday, upending Southern California 67-52. Brian Jackson scored 22 points while Deaundra Tanner added 13 and nine rebounds for the Beavers, who avenged a 73-47 rout at USC on Jan. 27.
"They spanked us pretty good last time, and we didn't forget that," Jackson said.
Jason Heide also scored 13 points for the Beavers, who held the Trojans to 30 percent shooting from the field, including 4-for-21 from 3-point range.
"I thought we did an excellent job on defense tonight," Oregon State coach Ritchie McKay said. "I don't know if it was their poor shooting or our good defense. It was probably a combination of both."
Kapono scored 19 points and hit five 3-pointers as the Bruins rolled to a 67-40 victory over Oregon State on Jan. 25. UCLA has won the last four games between the schools and holds a 69-30 lead in the all-time series.