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UCLA's late barrage sends Gonzaga, Morrison reeling

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute provided a shocking ending to Adam Morrison's amazing season.

By wire services
Published March 24, 2006


Mbah a Moute scored underneath with 10 seconds left and the second-seeded Bruins scored the final 11 points of the game to knock out Morrison and third-seeded Gonzaga 73-71 Thursday night to advance to the Oakland regional final.

Morrison, Gonzaga's shaggy-haired star, made two free throws with 3:26 to go, giving him 24 on the night and the Bulldogs (29-4) a 71-62 lead. But the Bruins (30-6) didn't wilt.

Mbah a Moute scored six of the final 11 points and got a key steal in the final seconds to seal the win and send UCLA to its first regional final since 1997. The Bruins will play Saturday against Memphis, which beat Bradley 80-64 in the first semifinal of the Oakland regional. The Tigers beat the Bruins 88-80 in November.

After Mbah a Moute stole the ball from Derek Raivio with 2.6 seconds left, Morrison put his hands on his head and bent down, overcome with emotion, fighting tears in what was probably his final game in a Gonzaga uniform. He is expected to turn pro after the season.

J.P. Batista missed a desperation 15-footer at the buzzer and fell into the Zags' bench, where coach Mark Few helped him up.

When the buzzer sounded, UCLA senior Cedric Bozeman ran around the court with the ball in his hands - Ryan Hollins right with him. Hollins and Afflalo went to help up Morrison, who was spread on the floor at midcourt. Few then came to hug the crying Morrison.

UCLA never led until the final seconds, staging a thrilling late-game rally that will be remembered for years at the tradition-rich school with 11 national titles.

Mbah a Moute started the comeback with two free throws and then scored on a putback with 2:09 to go to make it 71-66. Morrison, who shot 10-for-17 but missed his last four from the field, missed a jumper with about a minute left and Jordan Farmar scored quickly on the other end to make it a three-point game.

Morrison missed again the next time down and Batista fouled Hollins going for the rebound. Hollins made both free throws to make it 71-70 and the Bruins then stole the ball in the backcourt from Batista, setting up Mbah a Moute's go-ahead score.

Farmar and Afflalo, UCLA's stellar guards, each scored 15 despite poor shooting nights. Mbah a Moute added 14 and Hollins had 12.

Batista had 18 points and nine rebounds and Raivio added 12 points and six assists.

Memphis stops Bradley

Rodney Carney counts on his first dunk of a game igniting his teammates' intensity.

He dunked all right, he jumped in the passing lanes on defense, and Carney kept top-seeded Memphis from becoming another victim of Bradley's surprising NCAA run.

Carney contributed on both ends of the floor Thursday, scoring 23 points and leading a stingy defense that gave Memphis an 80-64 victory and put the Tigers in the regional final for the first time since 1992 - back when Anfernee Hardaway was their star.

"That's what my dunks do," said Carney, who added three steals. "I spark the team with run-through dunks. It gives the team intensity. I want to dunk on 7-foot guys."

Darius Washington Jr. added 18 points and Shawne Williams had 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks as Memphis (33-3) won the third round of the Oakland Regional for its seventh straight victory.

Patrick O'Bryant had 11 of his 14 rebounds in the first half and only scored eight points for Bradley (22-11), which at No. 13 was the lowest seed still alive in the tournament.