At one end of the Market Square Arena basketball court, Louisville's Darrell Griffith was cutting down the net; at the other end, CULA's Kiki Vandeweghe was crying.

They were the central figures as the momentum swung in the final minutes of the National Collegiate Basketball Championship.

Griffith scored seven of Louisville's 11 points, including a nifty three-point play as Louisville pulled ahead. The consensus all-America, naturally, was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

Vandeweghe, UCLA's senior scoring leader, missed layup when his team led, 54-50, with a little over 3 1/2 minutes to play. When freshman guard Rod Foster forced one shot, then missed a 22-foot jumper on UCLA's next trip down the court, Griffith put the Cardinals ahead, 56-54, and they went on to a 59-54 victory.

There were a number of key plays -- but Vandeweghe's missed layup, with Lousiville guard Jerry Eaves supplying the defense to thwart a UCLA fast break, was one of the biggest.

From courtside, it appeared that Vandeweghe, a senior and one of the last remaining links to the John Wooden aristrocracy of UCLA's past, was trying to apply a death blow to the Cardinals as he tried to make a slam dunk instead of the layup.

"I was dribbling down and the defensive man was running side by side," Vandeweghe said. "On a play like that, if the defensive player does not cut under you, you go for a dunk. He cut under me and I tried to change direction . . . He made a super defensive play and saved a basket."

Said Eaves: "I was just trying to bluff him and he kind of committed himself early. He picked it (the ball) up off the dribble with that one handle. I knew he had to shoot it, so I cut in front of him."

At that point, Vandeweghe said, the two players brushed each other.

"I guess it wasn't so obvious," Vandeweghe said later so obvious," Vandeweghe said later. "It's usually obvious enough to call. It could have gone either way."

The contact, Vandeweghe said, threw him off balance and he missed the layup.

Eaves disagreed that a foul should have been called.

"I tapped him," Eaves said, "but I didn't get him with the body. But the way they (the referees) let us play, it wasn't a foul."

Foster, one of Ucla's two freshman guard starters, also though he had been fouled on what appeared from press row to be a badly forced shot on UCLA's next possession.

The quick point guard said he was trying to draw a foul on a drive to the basket, because he had been effective going to the hoop the entire game, as he led the bruins with 16 points, but shot six for 15, only slightly better than the team percentage of .365.

"I thought I was fouled on the play," Foster said. "But there was no whistle. I was effective the whole game, so I was trying to get it inside."

Eaves again was the defensive man involved, these Cardinals proving for the second time in as many games here that Louisville's reputation as the doctors of dunk should include a side practice as defensive surgeons.

Eaves forced Foster to go to his left, where he found 6-foot-8 Wiley Brown in his path. There were still three minutes to play and plenty of time to bring the ball, out, as a more experienced player might do. Instead Foster went up with an ugly-looking shot.

The next time down court, Foster took the first available shot, a 22-footer. UCLA Coach Larry Brown refused to balme any of his players for their errors; instead, he wrote the loss off to Griffith, fate and open shots not dropping and was the leader of what certainly was not a morgue-like atmosphere.

"I don't feel down," said Foster. "We were successful in turning it around."

UCLA closed its season at 22-10, after being 8-6 at one time.

"Are we the baddest?" said Louisville forward Poncho Wright. "We showed everybody tonight who's No. 1. We did it; we're No. 1."

Griffith said: "This is the one I wanted, the one I worked for. This makes it all worthwhile. This is what we wanted; this is what we've been waiting for."

His Cardinals were down, 50-45, and appeared to be playing with clipped wings when he made a three-point play on an alley-oop pass from Roger Burkman.

That started the stretch in which Griffith scored seven of his team's next 11 points and assisted on one of two baskets by Eaves.

Said Louisville Coach Danny Curm: ". . . the fact you didn't vote Darrell Griffith player of the year, that's your mistake. You obviously didn't know. Anybody that can't see he's the best player in the nation doesn't know anything about basketball."