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Texas Tech Bullies Its Way Past UCLA

Gonzaga Survives Scare From Winthrop

By Steve Argeris
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, March 18, 2005; Page D10

TUCSON, March 17 -- UCLA's dramatic turnaround in Coach Ben Howland's second season came to an end Thursday night, as the 11th-seeded Bruins' talented freshmen were no match for sixth-seeded Texas Tech's veterans.

The Red Raiders advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in the Albuquerque Region by bruising its way past UCLA, 78-66, at McKale Center. They will face No. 3 seed Gonzaga in Saturday's second round.

The Raiders dominated by pumping the ball inside, scoring 48 points down low and attempting just seven three-pointers in 52 shots, making three. Bigger at nearly every position, Texas Tech bullied its way to 32 rebounds, five more than the Bruins, and shot 61 percent.

The Red Raiders (21-10) never trailed. Ronald Ross led Texas Tech with 28 points; Jarrius Jackson and Devonne Giles added 19 and 16, respectively.

"They did a really good job," Texas Tech Coach Bob Knight said. "I'm proud of them for the way they played tonight and getting into the tournament as seniors."

Jackson is the lone sophomore of that group, while UCLA's best players -- guards Jordan Farmer and Arron Afflalo -- are freshmen. Neither made a field goal until a layup by Afflalo with 10 minutes remaining in the game, and combined to shoot 2 of 13 for 10 points.

The Bruins (18-11), in the tournament for the first time since 2002, lost in the first round for the first time since 1996. But merely returning was enough, as UCLA went 11-17 in Howland's first season in 2003-04, and 10-19 in Steve Lavin's final season a year earlier.

Afflalo and Farmer are major reasons why the Bruins remained optimistic. Josh Shipp, another freshman, and his 13 points are another, though UCLA's leading scorer, Dijon Thompson with 22 points, is a senior.

"I'm proud that these young men have led us back the right way," Howland said.

The Raiders opened the game with an 8-0 run, but UCLA climbed back to tie the game at 29 with 4 minutes 23 seconds remaining. But Texas Tech went on an 8-2 run to close the half and take a 37-31 lead into halftime.

"The real key for us was the last few minutes of the first half," Knight said. "They really stepped it up, really beyond us, and we had a little problem adjusting to their momentum. But we got it back."

UCLA hung in for much of the second half, keeping the game within seven points until Texas Tech went on another run, outscoring the Bruins 12-2 over the next four minutes to quell any comeback hopes.

GONZAGA 74, WINTHROP 64: The third-seeded Bulldogs very nearly found themselves on the receiving end of one of the upsets they once relished dishing out.

"That's a great win for us," Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said. "It was a tough, hard-fought battle, and I think we all knew that going in."

But Few's players said Wednesday they knew little about Winthrop (27-6), the Big South champions who had won 18 consecutive games entering the tournament, the longest streak in the country. Now that honor belongs to Gonzaga, winners of 13 straight, but barely.

Gonzaga, which won seven tournament games as a 10th or lower seed between 1999 and 2001, has won just two since. The Eagles, making their seventh consecutive NCAA trip, will play Texas Tech at McKale Center on Saturday.

Winthrop led for much of the game, including 35-33 at halftime, and were tied with 4:54 remaining. But three-pointers from Derek Raivio and Adam Morrison gave the Bulldogs a 66-60 lead, and the Eagles had a trio of poor possessions with two minutes remaining: Guard James Shuler turned over the ball, center Craig Bradshaw missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Gonzaga forward Morrison poked the ball away from point guard Chris Gaynor from behind.

Morrison led Gonzaga with 27 points, carrying the Bulldogs for long stretches during which they were outhustled by the far smaller Eagles.

Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga's other standout forward, grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 13 points, but made just one field goal. Forward J.P. Batista did perhaps the most costly damage, bulling in for 14 points and preventing the Eagles from playing the man-to-man defense that even slightly contained Morrison.

"He really taught me a lot about the game, just from seeing what he could do," said Torrell Martin, who led Winthrop with 22 points. "You learn as a game goes on what a player's weaknesses are, and I found out that he doesn't have that many."

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