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December 3, 2007
Comeback falls short for Bruins
LOS ANGELES(AP) Damion James had stars in his eyes playing No. 2 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Not so much, though, that he couldn't finish off an upset victory for Texas.
James dunked with 8 seconds remaining and the eighth-ranked Longhorns won 63-61 after blowing all of a 16-point, first-half lead Sunday in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
James and D.J. Augustin finished with 19 points each, and the Longhorns (7-0) survived their closest game yet after winning their first six by at least 15 points. James had 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
"It's like a dream come true," said James, who led a Longhorn celebration at midcourt in front of 96-year-old former UCLA coach John Wooden and Denzel Washington. "Him and Denzel, wow, man."
UCLA star freshman Kevin Love finished with 11 points and five rebounds after taking just six shots and getting benched for the final 2 minutes.
"I need to seek the ball out more," he said. "I only played 24 minutes, but five rebounds on my part is unacceptable. I should at least have 10 rebounds every game."
With Darren Collison guarding him, Augustin gave up the ball to James in the low post.
"I stumbled, but I knew Damion was down there," he said. "I threw it up for him to rebound and put it up or finish it with a dunk and that's what he did."
Collison played 39 minutes, his most in two games, and blamed himself for the last-second loss.
"I reached for the ball instead of standing in front. My man had the help and they got the rebound," he said. "The bottom line is we didn't play defense."
UCLA's first loss of the season ended the Bruins' 25-game home winning streak. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 14 points, and Collison added 12 in his first start for the Bruins (7-1), who led by four with three minutes remaining.
"That wasn't fun," Love said. "It could be a good wakeup call for us."
Mbah a Moute missed a 3-pointer in front of UCLA's bench at the buzzer.
"I shot the ball knowing it was going to go in, it just didn't go in," he said.
UCLA became the highest-ranked opponent Texas has beaten in a true road game in school history. Their previous best win came over No. 4 Memphis in January 2006.
With the score tied at 61, Mbah a Moute was fouled by Connor Atchley. The UCLA player's first attempt spun out of the basket, setting up the Longhorns' final possession.
"That's on me," Mbah a Moute said. "I haven't been to the line a lot. I've been making them in practice."
Josh Shipp added 11 points for the Bruins, who outscored Texas 36-26 in the second half after being stymied by its zone early.
"It's definitely hard to believe," he said. "The way we started out, it's not surprising. We didn't come out with a great level of intensity."
UCLA opened the second half on a 16-3 run that produced its first lead since early in the game. Mbah a Moute had six points and Russell Westbrook five, including a basket off Love's outlet pass and a 3-pointer that beat the shot clock. Shipp followed with a 3-pointer to make it 41-40.
From there, the teams traded baskets, with neither leading by more than four points.
At halftime, Texas coach Rick Barnes warned his team the Bruins weren't done.
"I told them we would have to work harder than we have ever worked to get offense. I said, `They're going to throw a punch and get more physical,' and they did," he said.
The scoring drought that plagued the Bruins in the first half hit Texas hard in the second. The Longhorns began 2-of-11 from the floor as the Bruins played the kind of in-your-face defense they didn't early in the game.
"We were taking some hard shots. They were forcing us into it," Barnes said.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Collison and Shipp tied it at 51.
A.J. Abrams scored inside and James, guarded by Love, hit a jumper for a 55-53 lead with 4:38 remaining.
The Bruins gained some breathing room with six unanswered points. Love made two free throws, Lorenzo Mata-Real tipped in Mbah a Moute's missed jumper and Mbah a Moute scored for a 59-55 lead.
But Augustin answered with a 3-pointer and after James and Justin Mason missed consecutive treys, Atchley hit one that tied it at 61 with 1:03 remaining.
Texas outscored the Bruins 26-2, including 17 in a row, in the first half. Augustin had six points and James and Mason added four each.
UCLA was 10-of-26 from the field in the first half, and got outrebounded 19-13. The Longhorns, who shot 53 percent in the half, cooled down and were outscored 11-7 to go into the break ahead 37-25.
Michael Roll made his season debut for UCLA after rupturing the plantar fascia in his left foot during preseason practice.
UCLA issued credentials to 39 scouts for the game, including ones representing 29 of the NBA's 30 teams.