Temple Takes What’s Free, and Bruins Don’t While Losing, 81-76
With four returning starters and a freshman who stole the show, Temple came into Pauley Pavilion to beat UCLA, 81-76, Thursday night and show why the Owls were ranked No. 12 by AP and No. 15 by UPI before they had played a game.
In his collegiate debut, Temple guard Mark Macon led all scorers with 22 points. Surprising no one.
Temple Coach John Chaney said: “I’ll tell you right now, he’s certainly not a freshman in his deeds. And not in his head. He comes out of a program at Buena Vista High School (in Saginaw, Mich.) that develops character.
“The other players have taken to him so well, without any jealousy.”
While Macon was demonstrating to the Pauley Pavilion crowd of 8,171 and a national television audience (ESPN) just why he was a high school All-American, the kind of impact player Chaney promised “will keep us dancing,” the Bruins were killing themselves.
UCLA (1-2), coming off a loss at New Mexico in the second round of the Big Apple NIT, couldn’t manage the simplest of tasks--making free throws. The Bruins couldn’t make them in the first half (1 for 8) and they certainly couldn’t make them when the game was on the line.
Temple made its free throws down the stretch, and a game that was close most of the way turned on that.
UCLA center Greg Foster, who played an impressive game otherwise and scored a career-high 14 points, missed the front end of a one-and-one with slightly more than two minutes to play and the Bruins trailing, 72-64. Moments later, he was fouled again and made just the second of two shots.
UCLA guard Pooh Richardson pulled the Bruins within five points with a steal and a dunk off the fast break with 1:58 left.
But a foul by Richardson sent forward Tim Perry to the line. He made both free throws.
Bruin guard Dave Immel then fouled Temple guard Howie Evans, who made both free throws.
Immel came through with a three-point shot to get the Bruins back within six points with 32 seconds to play. But time was so short that there was nothing to do but foul some more and hope for rebounds.
Immel chose to foul Temple’s big center, Ramon Rivas, who made both shots.
Bruin forward Trevor Wilson fouled Perry with 20 seconds left, and Perry made both shots.
Temple had a 10-point lead, its biggest of the game.
UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said, “We were 5 for 16 from the free-throw line. I don’t think you can win basketball games doing that. We shoot free throws every day in practice. I don’t know. We’ll solve it, though.”
Although Hazzard was pleased that his team never quit playing hard, he was not pleased at the way the game went in the final minutes.
“In crunch time, when someone has to pull it together and provide some leadership, we kind of scattered and went off on our own,” Hazzard said. “Last year, we always knew who it should go to. We need to use better judgment in crunch time.”
Hazzard also thought that maybe Richardson was pressing just a bit. After all, Richardson is from Philadelphia and did narrow his college choices to UCLA or Temple.
Hazzard said, “Sometimes, it’s tough to play against a team from your hometown. You try to do a little extra instead of just staying with the basics.”
Richardson didn’t go along with that theory, saying that he was held to 11 points because of the way the defense was focusing on him and denying him penetration.
Asked if he was tying to put on a show for the new kid, Richardson said: “Who is he? I don’t have to show him anything. He’s a freshman who shoots the ball 27 times a ballgame. He can play! I’m not taking anything away from him. But I’m not trying to show him anything.
“There’s no way in hell I shoot 27 times. This whole team would blow up.”
It seems Richardson already had checked the scoring sheet. Macon made 10 of 27 shots (just 1 of 6 three-pointers) en route to his 22-point debut.
Hazzard said: “Mark Macon is an outstanding freshman and he made some plays that really hurt us, shooting the gap and going on breakaways.”
Temple had a two-point lead with about four minutes to play, when Macon sank a 17-footer and followed with a steal of Charles Rochelin’s pass to Immel, flying up to the hoop for the resounding dunk that made it a six-point game and started the free-throw shooting contest that the Bruins just weren’t up to.
UCLA will play at home Saturday night against BYU.