UCLA slams Terps, 105-70

Watson, Bruins dish off UM easily with high-flying 36-5 run

Dunks aplenty in 16 assists

Terps fall in 2nd round

`they were like sharks'

Ncaa Tournament

March 19, 2000|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maryland got Danny Miller back.

UCLA could have loaned them alumnus Reggie Miller last night, and the Terps still would have been in trouble.

No. 17 Maryland was sternly bounced out of the NCAA tournament's Midwest Regional, as its second-round matchup at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was no match at all. The Bruins never trailed and outscored the Terps 36-5 over a 10-minute stretch that spanned halftime, as Maryland fell hard, 105-70.

The 35-point margin matched the worst loss in Maryland's NCAA tournament history, and added another chapter to a lengthy UCLA postseason volume that includes a record 11 national titles. The Bruins pulled their starters early, but coach Gary Williams still had three of his on the floor with three minutes left.

"Tonight nothing went right," Williams said after another humiliating exit from the NCAA tournament. "They were like sharks. They attacked us. We didn't respond."

Maryland fell apart in the third round last year, when it was eliminated by St. John's.

Unranked but surging UCLA will meet Iowa State in a Midwest semifinal Thursday in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Former UCLA coach John Wooden was in attendance, and the Wizard of Westwood had to wonder if he had stepped into a time machine. It was a vintage performance for the Bruins, as fourth-year coach Steve Lavin's team was bigger, faster, stronger and better prepared than the Atlantic Coast Conference runner-up.

Sixth-seeded UCLA (21-11) extended its longest win streak in three seasons to eight games, as the Bruins handed Maryland (25-10) the first second-round loss during its seven consecutive years in the tournament. The third-seeded Terps had been to the Sweet 16 four of the last six seasons, and were upset in the first round in the other two.

Maryland wanted to spend spring break this week in the sunny suburbs north of Detroit, but a UCLA team that was made complete when JaRon Rush's NCAA suspension was lifted two weeks ago had other plans.

With junior Earl Watson guiding a determined attack and the Terps puzzled by a 1-3-1 defense, UCLA was in control from the opening tap. He had 17 points and a school-record 16 assists, and enjoyed a great view of the Bruins' phenomenal shooting. They made 62.5 percent (40-for-64) of their field-goal attempts, and that was with a drop-off in the second half.

Miller, the sophomore forward who had sat out Thursday's first-round rout of Iona with a sprained ankle, returned to the starting five, but Maryland came out unsettled anyway.

It fell behind 14-2 and got in further trouble when sophomore center Lonny Baxter drew his second foul in the ninth minute. The Terps composed themselves and were within 34-31 with five minutes left in the first half, but the Bruins were just getting started.

UCLA ended the first half with a 15-2 run. It began the second with a 16-2 spurt, and the Terps' only points in the first three minutes of the second half came when 6-foot-11 center Dan Gadzuric inadvertently tapped in a Terps miss. The Bruins made their first eight shots of the second half, making them 78.3 percent from the field at that point.

That blistering run included three three-pointers by Watson, each from further out, adding to an educational week for Maryland freshman point guard Steve Blake. He had been outplayed by Duke's Jason Williams in the Terps' first appearance in the ACC title game since 1984. The last of Watson's bombs made it 65-35, and left room for more than 16 minutes of garbage time.

"I thought we shared the ball well," Lavin said, in an understatement. "Earl Watson is playing as well as any guard in the country right now."

Besides Watson's career night, UCLA had four other players score in double figures, as sophomores Jerome Moiso and Rush had 14 points apiece.

Baxter had a meaningless 22 points for the Terps, as 16 came in the second half. Juan Dixon had 10 of his 16 in the first half, and in what would be his farewell to Maryland should he decide to enter the NBA draft, junior forward Terence Morris finished with 13 points and a season-low three rebounds.

The young Bruins were on the short side of a 70-54 pounding when they played Maryland in the Puerto Rico Shootout last year. Steve Francis and Laron Profit kept running the baseline for backdoor lob dunks, but in the first half last night, the Bruins came out with a vengeance and displayed their superior athleticism.

Four times in the first 20 minutes, when Watson had 12 assists, UCLA threw lob passes that were converted into dunks on flatfooted Maryland. Beaten in transition and the half court, the Terps allowed the Bruins to make 72.4 percent (21 of 29) of their field-goal attempts in the first half.

Maryland fell behind 7-0 and 14-2, but used a 17-5 run to get a tie at 19. The Terps trailed only 34-31 on a pair of free throws by Morris, but they were left behind when the Bruins finished the half with a 15-2 run and went into the break with a 49-33 bulge on a three by Ray Young.

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