READY FOR BEAR\UCLA tops Stanford; showdown set\UCLA 64, Stanford 56.
The obstacles have been removed. The paths are clear.
The time has come.
Bring on the Bears.
"That's a business game, and a personal game," UCLA guard Toby Bailey said after the Bruins dispatched Stanford 64-56 Thursday night, before 12,695 at Pauley Pavilion.
"Cal has a lot of guys who grew up in Southern California, and it's going to be a battle. Last year (in the Bears' victory), they taunted us during the game, and we remember that stuff."
California and UCLA, who meet Saturday at 2 p.m., stand alone atop the Pacific-10 standings, each at 3-0. But of greater consequence to the Bruins is that the Bears have won three straight on UCLA's turf, and no team in history has beaten the Bruins four straight in Pauley.
"There are a lot of guys who don't know what it's like losing to those guys year after year," said senior Kevin Dempsey, the only current Bruin to be a part of all three losses.
Thursday night's victory was UCLA's eighth straight overall and 10th straight over Stanford. It resulted from an efficient, effective first half in which the Bruins gained a 14-point lead, and from a relentless defense, superb scouting and dominance under the basket - which enabled them to repel Stanford's second-half rally.
UCLA's key defender was forward Charles O'Bannon, who shadowed Stanford sharpshooter Dion Cross for 34 minutes.
Cross had burned Arizona for 30 points last week, but O'Bannon, fast enough to chase him around, big enough to challenge his shots, held Cross to 4-of-14 shooting, including 0 of 7 from 3-point range. (He didn't make his first jumper until 30 seconds remained in the first half.) And as a team, the Cardinal shot 34.4 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from long range.
"I just wanted to limit his shot attempts," O'Bannon said. "He's a good enough player that he's going to score, but I didn't want him having open shots."
O'Bannon benefited from UCLA's game plan, which called for defenders to switch each time Stanford set one of its myriad screens. And because the Bruins are athletically interchangeable, if Bailey or Kris Johnson ended up on Cross, they were able to shut him down, as well.
"Their coaches did a great job scouting our team," said Cross, who finished with 11 points. "They knew every play we were going to run."
And without 7-foot-1 center Tim Young - likely lost for the year with a back injury - the Cardinal had no one to challenge UCLA's frontline. The Bruins simply outjumped Stanford like a varsity teasing its JV, and they won the rebounding battle 51-30. Center Jelani McCoy blocked four shots and altered many others.
"We were definitely intimidated by McCoy," said Stanford's all-conference point guard Brevin Knight, who made 3 of 11 shots.
From the coaches' standpoint, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of UCLA's victory was that it came with little second-half production from forward J.R. Henderson, who had been the vortex of the offense on the Washington road trip.
Foul trouble limited Henderson to nine minutes and two points in the second half. But when the Bruins needed baskets, Bailey, of course, and O'Bannon stepped forward - Bailey with a critical 3-point shot, and O'Bannon with a spectacular spinning layup. Cameron Dollar made 9 of 10 free throws, including five in the final 2:41, as Stanford fouled furiously.
With 16 minutes left, the Bruins lapsed into their passive mode, and the momentum turned. Knight was Stanford's spark, as his penetration, absent in the first half, created scoring opportunities on the perimeter. When Andy Poppink converted from 16 feet, the Bruins' lead was 41-39 wih 10 minutes left.
But Bailey responded - as he has so often of late - with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Photo (color) UCLA's Toby Bailey fights through defensive pressure from Stanford's Brevin Knight, left, and David Harbour. John Lazar / Special to the Daily News
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jan 12, 1996|
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