Coach Wil Jones and his University of the District of Columbia basketball players no doubt will replay tonight's game with Pepperdine for many evenings: they blew a 13-point lead in the second half and lost, 72-71, to finish third in the McDonald's Classic.

And, with three seconds left, the Firebirds' Mike Daniels missed the first of his one-and-one free throws.

"We had a play called to get the ball to (Earl) Jones or (Michael) Britt, but it got stuck," said Wil Jones. "If you can't make a free throw in that situation you don't deserve to win. Mike is a good free-throw shooter (71 percent) and we practice hard on our free throws."

After Pepperdine's Bill Sadler sank what proved to be the winning basket, UDC ran the clock down and Daniels called time with 11 seconds remaining. But the play Coach Jones talked about failed because Daniels couldn't get the ball to Jones or Britt. Both were stymied on the base line.

But, said the coach, the biggest reason UDC now is 2-2 is that "the kids started trying things that they shouldn't have" when they were 13 points ahead.