Dec 8, 2001
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jason Kapono scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and No. 20 UCLA took advantage of poor shooting by 16th-ranked Alabama for a 79-57 victory Saturday.
The Bruins (4-2) improved to 5-1 in the Wooden Classic, named for 91-year-old John Wooden, who coached UCLA to a record 10 NCAA titles before retiring in 1975.
No. 7 Arizona defeated Purdue 79-66 in the first game at Anaheim Arena.
The Crimson Tide (6-2) had its four-game winning streak snapped in its first appearance in the eighth annual doubleheader.
UCLA closed with a 23-7 run over the final 7:45. Billy Knight had seven points and Kapono six when he hit two 3-pointers.
Alabama never got untracked offensively, shooting 30 percent and was held well below its 82.7 scoring average. Terrance Meade scored 16 points and Rod Grizzard added 14, including three 3s in the second half.
The Bruins corrected some of the problems that led to a subpar November, including losses to then-unranked Ball State and Pepperdine. Their defense was noticeably improved and resulted in just nine turnovers, half of their 18.2 average.
Matt Barnes had his best game of the season with 15 points. He sparked the Bruins to start the game, scoring seven of their first nine points.
He'd been struggling offensively and complained about his playing time while turning in disappointing performances in UCLA's previous four games.
The game pitted old friends Steve Lavin against Mark Gottfried, six years after they worked as assistants under Jim Harrick on UCLA's national championship team. Later in 1995, Gottfried left to become coach at Murray State, then Alabama.
After Harrick was fired to start the 1996-97 season, Lavin was promoted. He and Gottfried had a falling out over Harrick's ouster for lying about an expense report, and their friendship briefly soured. But they have since reconciled.
Alabama cut its double-digit deficit to 56-50 on a 3-pointer by Meade with 8:23 remaining before UCLA dominated the rest of the game.
Fifth-year senior Rico Hines scored his first basket of the season with 16:34 remaining after UCLA built its largest lead, 44-27, early in the half.
The Bruins trailed once in the first half, but put together a 21-5 run to take a 40-25 halftime lead. Kapono had six points and Barnes five in the spurt that provided UCLA's first double-digit lead.
UCLA's only loss in the Wooden Classic came against Georgia Tech last year.