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UCLA Runs Past Oregon State

Bruins Cruise to 90-72 Victory

Jan. 8, 1998

Box Score

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kris Johnson got a late start because of a preseason suspension that caused him to miss UCLA's first four games. He's quickly making up for lost time.

Johnson scored 20 points and keyed a dominating run that helped the 10th-ranked Bruins beat Oregon State for the 10th straight time, 90-72 Thursday night.

The Bruins (11-2, 2-1 Pac-10) pulled away with a 45-15 run over the end of the first half and the beginning of the second to take their largest lead of 34 points.

Johnson had 10 points in the spurt. He finished 9-of-10 from the floor, missing a shot in the first five minutes of the second half. Soon after, he sat down with the Bruins well in control.

"I knew a couple of weeks ago I was getting into a groove I've been waiting to get into for four years. I'm in a senior zone as me and Toby (Bailey) like to say," he said.

"I'm being really patient on offense and trying to play `D' and trying to rebound. I'm injury-free, so I haven't felt this good since my sophomore year."

The Beavers (9-5, 0-3) trailed by three points when UCLA began to dominate with 6:04 remaining in the first half. The Bruins scored eight straight to end the half ahead 49-30.

"Early on we tried to keep them from getting in transition, but their confidence stepped up and their great shooting ability rattled us a bit," Oregon State coach Eddie Payne said.

The Bruins, who shot 61 percent for the game, picked up where they left off at the beginning of the second half.

Bailey hit a 3-pointer in the opening seconds and the Bruins capped their 45-15 spurt on Billy Knight's 3-pointer that put them ahead 75-41 with 8:30 remaining.

"That's the kind of basketball we want to play for 40 minutes a game. It's hard to sustain at that level, but that's our goal," Johnson said. "By the end of the Pac-10 season, we want to be at that level going into the tournament."

Sophomore John-Blair Bickerstaff led the Beavers with a career-high 16 points, including a career-best four consecutive 3-pointers in a span of about 2 1/2 minutes that cut Oregon State's deficit to 22 points with five minutes remaining.

By then, UCLA's freshmen were mopping up with seniors Johnson and J.R. Henderson on the bench. Henderson was held to 12 points by the defense of 280-pound Terrill Woods.

Corey Benjamin, the Beavers' leading scorer who averages 19.7 points, added 14 as did Deaundra Tanner.

"I missed a lot of shots outside and felt no rhythm from the outside," Benjamin said.

During the spurt, UCLA's freshmen backcourt of Baron Davis and Earl Watson ignited the crowd with a spectacular play.

Watson broke away and tossed the ball off the glass with Davis trailing amid a crowd of Beavers. Davis leaped up and slammed the ball through the hoop, bringing UCLA's bench to its feet.

"I loved it," said Watson, who had a career-high 12 points. "It motivates us and hopefully it distracts the other team."

Davis had a career-high nine assists.

Henderson smiled and shook his head as the other Bruins bumped chests.

"With those freshmen, you never know what's going to happen," he said.


 

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