Ducks Rally Late To Beat Bruins

Box Score

March 14, 2003

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES UCLA blew a late 11-point lead against Oregon and with it any chance of saving coach Steve Lavin's job.

Luke Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left Friday night in the Pac-10 Conference tournament semifinals, lifting the Ducks to a 75-74 victory.

Asked if it was his last game at UCLA, Lavin replied, "Let's put it this way, I'm probably not up for national or Pac-10 coach of the year honors."

Lavin didn't directly answer a question about what he's been told about his job status. "I've been told a lot of things over my time at UCLA," he said.

Jackson's basket capped a 13-1 run in the final three minutes by the Ducks (22-9), who advanced to Saturday's final against the winner of the No. 24 California-Southern California semifinal later Friday.


"Coach Lavin has done a great job here. He's hung through tough stretches when they were calling for his head and we were one 3-pointer short of going to the finals."


"I just kept telling them they were going to win the game," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said.

Pac-10 player of the year Luke Ridnour led the fifth-seeded Ducks with 16 points - his 31st straight game in double figures. James Davis added 15 points and Jackson had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"We didn't play very well, but we kept fighting," said Ridnour, who only made two baskets in the second half.

Dijon Thompson led the eighth-seeded Bruins (10-19) with 23 points and senior Ray Young added 21 in the final game of his college career. Senior Jason Kapono, UCLA's offensive star, was held to five points, shooting just 2-of-10.

"He (Lavin) put all the blame on himself. In reality, it was our fault," Thompson said. "I don't think we played smart. It was like a nightmare. They started hitting 3s, it happens. We know we should have won the game. He wished us the best."

A victory would have put UCLA one win away from a most unlikely berth in the NCAA tournament. Instead, the Bruins concluded their first losing season in 55 years, which is expected to cost Lavin his job after seven years. He has a 145-78 record and took the Bruins to the final 16 of the NCAA tournament five times.

"I don't think this past year should take away our three straight Sweet 16 runs," Kapono said. "Coach Lavin has done a great job here. He's hung through tough stretches when they were calling for his head and we were one 3-pointer short of going to the finals."

The loss also ended UCLA's streak of 14 straight appearances in the NCAA tournament.

A day after rallying from 15 points down to stun No. 1 Arizona 96-89 in overtime, the Bruins seemed in command most of the way against the Ducks.

A basket by freshman Ryan Hollins with 3:12 remaining gave UCLA a 73-62 lead.

Davis hit a 3-pointer nine seconds later, triggering a 10-0 run that he capped with another 3-pointer that drew the Ducks within one with 1:17 left.

Young threw up an airball, Thompson grabbed it and got fouled. He made one of two as UCLA clung to a 74-72 lead with 40 seconds to play.

Ridnour missed a 3-pointer, but teammate Robert Johnson tipped the rebound back to him and he passed to Jackson, who connected from the top of the key.

Steve Lavin argues a call with the referee during the Bruins' Pac-10 Tournament loss.

Young shot an off-balance jumper from the right baseline in front of the Bruins' bench with the clock winding down. The ball hit the rim and bounced away, along with UCLA's hopes of turning around this forgettable season.

"It was what the defense gave me. I was fading away. I had a clean look," said Young, whose 3-pointer forced overtime against Arizona. "I felt I could knock it down. Just today it didn't go down. I kind of take the fall for my team."

Lavin expects to be fired as the result of the losing season at a school that has won 11 national championships - 10 under John Wooden and most recently under Jim Harrick in 1995.

"I just wish the outcome of this game was a positive one," he said. "I really wanted to see Jason and Ray finish their careers the way they deserved to. I'm sorry I couldn't do something to help us."

Lavin spent some private moments with his team in their locker room afterward.

"He told us to prepare for next year, just build on this," Hollins said. "He wasn't in tears, but he was emotional while he was talking."

Lavin was an unproven assistant when he was elevated to head coach after Harrick was fired just before the start of the 1996-97 season. He's endured almost constant criticism every season from alumni and students starved for another banner to hang in Pauley Pavilion.

"He went through so much, every day it was a media circus. They were just hunting him all year," sophomore Andre Patterson said. "He kept his head. That's what I'm grateful about. I'm thankful for Lav."

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
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
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
W, 77 - 45
Thursday, Dec 03
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
W, 87 - 77
Sunday, Dec 06
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 76
Saturday, Dec 12
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
W, 71 - 66
Tuesday, Dec 15
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
W, 89 - 80
Saturday, Dec 19
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
L, 76 - 89
Tuesday, Dec 22
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 67 - 53
Friday, Jan 01
at Washington
Seattle, WA
L, 93 - 96 (2OT)
Sunday, Jan 03
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
L, 78 - 85
Thursday, Jan 07
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
W, 87 - 84
Saturday, Jan 09
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 74
Wednesday, Jan 13
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 75 - 89
Wednesday, Jan 20
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
W, 82 - 73
Saturday, Jan 23
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
L, 72 - 86
Thursday, Jan 28
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
L, 84 - 86
Saturday, Jan 30
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 50
Thursday, Feb 04
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 61 - 80
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
Thursday, Feb 25 - 6:00 PM PST
at California
Berkeley, CA
Saturday, Feb 27 - 1:30 PM PST
at Stanford
Stanford, CA
Wednesday, Mar 02 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Mar 05 - 3:30 PM PST
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Mar 09 - All Day PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, Mar 10 - All Day PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, Mar 11 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, Mar 11 - 8:30 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, Mar 12 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, Mar 15 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA First Four
Dayton, OH
Thursday, Mar 17 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA First Round
Saturday, Mar 19 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Second Round
Thursday, Mar 24 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Regional ...
Saturday, Mar 26 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Regional ...
Saturday, Apr 02 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA National ...
Houston, TX
Monday, Apr 04 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA National ...
Houston, TX