Swarming to Task, They Really Can Win This

"This is not Coach Wooden's team, but it's a special team," said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who waved to the crowd and cheered the kids. "Tonight, that team came out and made a statement."

They began the game breathing their late lunch on the faces of the stunned young Tigers, swarming them into seven missed shots and two turnovers before they even scored their third basket.

They turned steals and rebounds into fastbreak layups, quick jumpers and you'll never guess what else.

"Hey," Bozeman announced afterward, "UCLA can still dunk the ball."

After scoring 39 points in the first half and grabbing a 15-point lead, they deflated everything in the second half and cruised to a victory so overwhelming, exhausted LSU folk hero Glen "Big Baby" Davis shoved Mbah a Moute right in front of an official for his fifth foul with 2:09 remaining.

Yeah, he fouled out on purpose.

"We couldn't get up," said Davis, who missed a dozen shots and a half-dozen free throws and was outrebounded by two smaller Bruins. "They kept on fighting, kept on fighting."

The Bruins were so relentless, the star of their last championship, Ed O'Bannon, rose to his feet and led the UCLA cheering section in an eight-clap.

"Look at those players' faces," said O'Bannon, standing in the corner of a locker room filled with surprised reporters interviewing shrugging kids.

"Tonight was the kind of game that gives them so much confidence, they don't think they can lose."

Look at their faces, indeed.

Mbah a Moute's freshman smile has become a veteran glare.

He bumped and grinded to dunks and steals and nine rebounds and 17 points and one whining Baby.

"My back hurts right now," Mbah a Moute said, smiling. "[Davis] is big."

Farmar's hesitant smile has become an outright sneer.

Running and firing off UCLA steals, he nailed a trio of three-pointers, leaving his hand dangling in the air after each of them, and had as many assists (four) as the entire LSU team combined.

"They're looking at each other, pointing fingers, sometimes eyes get real big, like a deer in the headlights," Farmar said of the Tigers.

Lorenzo Mata's face is, well, actually, it's impossible to see his face because he is wearing a mask to protect his freshly broken nose.

But when Mata, who still grabbed eight rebounds, was given a standing ovation after blocking one of Big Baby's shots, it appeared that he was smiling.

"Coach told us to come out and take their hearts out," Mata said. "We took their hearts out."


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