Vs. Oklahoma State (27-9) FINAL FOUR NCAA TOURNAMENT

UCLA (29-2)

April 01, 1995|By Don Markus

What: NCAA semifinal.

Where: Kingdome, Seattle.

When: Today, 5:42 p.m.

Starters: At center, the Cowboys' Bryant "Big Country" Reeves has pummeled more athletic types, and could get George Zidek into early foul trouble. Oklahoma State forward Scott Pierce is the type of role player all good teams have, but stopping Ed O'Bannon might be a little too much to ask. Ed's younger brother and fellow forward, Charles, could have a big game, but Terry Collins is one of the few Cowboys who matches up well athletically. The point guard duel between Andre Owens and the Bruins' Tyus Edney likely will be the game's key matchup, with Owens trying to stop Edney's penetration. At shooting guard, Randy Rutherford has the edge in experience and outside shooting, and UCLA's Toby Bailey is a devastating open-court player.

Benches: Neither team is that deep, but freshman forward J. R. Henderson gives the Bruins an even more athletic look when he enters in place of Zidek (with Ed O'Bannon moving to center) and point guard Cameron Dollar providing even more quickness to an already quick team. Chianti Roberts can play three positions for the Cowboys, and did a great job down the stretch against Wake Forest. Jason Skaer is a deep threat who has made 18 of his past 37 shots from three-point range.

Intangibles: The way the game is called. If the refs let the teams go, it could play into Oklahoma State's hands. That several Big East refs have been sighted here is indication that the Cowboys could play their physical half-court defense.

Key to win: For Oklahoma State: Slowing down the Bruins, hitting outside shots consistently and getting the ball to Reeves inside. For UCLA: Shot selection and patience on offense, rebounding at both ends. If Bruins can get their break going, it could be a blowout.

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