Dec. 21, 1999
HONOLULU (AP) - UCLA, the only ranked team and 1999 NCAA tournament participant at the Pearl Harbor Classic, tries to get its act together as it plays Maine in the first round Tuesday.
The 18th-ranked Bruins (4-1) are still adjusting to life without starting forward JaRon Rush, who was suspended by the NCAA for possible violations regarding his AAU team. Despite his absence, UCLA throttled DePaul at home Saturday, 76-58, behind 15 points and 14 rebounds from Dan Gadzuric.
Gadzuric had a partner in forward Jerome Moiso, who added 17 points in 30 minutes. The performance by the pair has been something Bruin fans have waited for since both players arrived in Westwood last season but injuries and foul trouble resulted in seeing only glimpses of that potential until Saturday.
"That's one of the best times we've played together," Moiso said. "That's what it's supposed to be and we're getting there. It's going to be more fun as we go along."
Freshman Jason Kapono led the Bruins with 20 points as they recovered from an embarrassing home loss to Gonzaga. Kapono hit three 3-pointers in a 21-5 tear that gave UCLA control of the game.
Moiso is averaging a team-high 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. The Bruins also will have the services of sophomore forward Matt Barnes, who academically qualified this week after sitting out the first semester. He is expected to be in uniform for the game.
Maine is making the longest road trip this season in Division I, traveling 5,194 miles to participate in this tournament. The Black Bears (5-2) had a five-game winning streak snapped on Dec. 11 with a 91-77 setback at Minnesota. Huggy Dye scored 17 points for Maine, making 7-of-9 shots from the field.
The Bears have a three-pronged attack in Dye and seniors Nate Fox and Andy Bedard. Dye is averaging 16.4 points, Fox leads the team in scoring at 17.1 points and Bedard is contributing 15.9 points, 6.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
Maine is a solid perimeter team, hitting 38.2 percent of its 3-point attempts (65-for-170).
This is the first meeting between the schools. The winner of this game will play the winner of the Colorado State-Florida A&M game in the semifinals Tuesday while the losers will meet in the consolation bracket. The Citadel, South Florida, San Jose State and host BYU-Hawaii complete the eight-team field.