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Toby Bailey.

 
Bruins Escape Oregon Upset Bid, 68-66

Henderson, Davis step up down the stretch for UCLA

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - J.R. Henderson, wracked by a pounding headache and blurry right eye from a first-half foul, forced himself off the bench and to the basket in time to rescue UCLA.

Henderson, who missed 22 minutes after getting hit in the eye by Oregon's Henry Madden midway through the first half, tied the game and freshman Baron Davis scored the winning basket with 25 seconds to go as the 10th-ranked Bruins held on for a 68-66 victory Saturday night.

Henderson took the ball from eight feet out, backed in on Madden and scored on a hook shot for a 66-66 tie with 1:03 remaining.

"I could hardly see the basket when I put up my hook," he said. "I'm so used to doing that, I just got lucky and it went in."

Davis then flicked the ball away from Yasir Rosemond, broke away and got it to freshman Earl Watson, who then found Davis for the fastbreak layup with 25 seconds left. It was Davis' only points of the second half.

"The refs were allowing us to play so I knew I could give him a little bump here or there and kind of knock him off-balance and knock the ball away," said Davis, who along with Watson and Toby Bailey played the entire 40 minutes.

"He (Rosemond) was kind of shocked. I guess he was caught up in the moment. Me and Earl were trying to win the ballgame," he said.

Jonathan Nelson missed at Oregon's end and the Bruins held the ball for the closing seconds.

"The last play was to Madden down low. They covered him, so he kicked it out to me," Nelson said. "The clock was running down so I tried to shoot and draw a foul. They came up with a big-time defensive play."

UCLA (12-2, 3-1 Pac-10) blew a 20-point lead in the first half after playing lights out from the opening tipoff. The Bruins scored the game's first 16 points and built a 23-3 lead before Oregon showed signs of life.

"I'm extremely proud and sad because we deserved to win," said first-year Oregon coach Ernie Kent. "They (UCLA) had a great spurt at the beginning, but we came back. These guys just played their tails off."

Henderson was diagnosed with a corneal abrasion and had his right eye bandaged after the game. He said he would not have returned if the Bruins hadn't been in trouble.

"I was kind of dazed when I went out there and started running up and down the court," he said.

Davis and Watson were unflappable with the game on the line, which was no surprise to their teammates.

"That's the play they've been making since they first came here," said Kris Johnson, who scored 18 points. Bailey added 16.

"Somebody's hand gets in there and they're off to the races. They're a great tandem. They play tough pressure `D,' they have excellent hands and superb quickness."

A.D. Smith scored a career-high 23 points for Oregon (6-7, 1-3). Madden added 14 points.

"Any scoring tonight would have meant something if we had won," Smith said. "I feel so demoralized losing because I really wanted this one because of (seniors) Madden and (Jamar) Curry."

"I feel real bad for Madden and Curry," Kent said. "They never won here and there was a lot of emotions in the locker room because of it."

The Bruins were ahead by 19 early in the second half after Bailey made a free throw and a basket.

The Ducks ran off 11 straight points to close within eight - their first single-digit deficit since 6:20 of the first half. Nearly four minutes later, Oregon closed to 54-52 on a 3-pointer by Smith.

Henderson returned at the 10:18 mark and his inside basket kept UCLA ahead 58-54.

But the Ducks continued dominating the offensive boards, getting a basket by Flo Hartenstein and a 3-pointer from Madden to take their first lead, 59-58, with 6:04 remaining.

Henderson made one of two free throws to tie the game, but he was blocked on the Bruins' next possession and Rosemond hit a 3-pointer to put Oregon ahead by three.

UCLA scored five straight on a putback by Watson and a 3-pointer from Johnson for a 64-62 lead with 2:55 remaining.

The Ducks took back the lead, 66-64, on consecutive baskets by Smith and Nelson with 1:25 to go before Henderson's tying basket.


 

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