SAN ANTONIO — SAN ANTONIO -- Was that Tyus Edney, or Cameron Dollar? Were those the UCLA Bruins on their way to a national championship under Jim Harrick in 1995, or Steve Lavin's team prolonging his fairy-tale first season in Westwood?
It was hard to tell last night at the Alamodome.
With a drive by Dollar that was reminiscent of the one Edney made against Missouri in the second round of the NCAA 'D tournament two years ago, the second-seeded Bruins survived their struggle against sixth-seeded Iowa State in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional.
Dollar's short jumper in the lane went over the outstretched hand of Kelvin Cato, Iowa State's 6-foot-11 center, banked high off the backboard and dropped into the net with 1.9 seconds left to give UCLA a 74-73 overtime victory against the Cyclones.
Any chance of continued heroics by Dedric Willoughby, who forced the overtime, disappeared when Klay Edwards was called for a five-second violation trying to get the ball inbounds.
The victory put the Bruins into tomorrow's regional final against top-seeded Minnesota, which nearly blew a 15-point lead to Clemson before putting the Tigers away in double overtime, 90-84.
"Before the play, Coach [Lavin] had already given me the go-ahead to break it down and go to the rack," said Dollar, who made a similar play 12 days ago at Washington State to win the game. "I got the ball and I was able to get around [Cato]. Wherever you see a big man, you never shy away. You go right at him. If he blocks it, we go home. If I make it, we win."
Said Cato, who had four blocked shots: "Coach [Tim] Floyd told me to control the paint. I stepped up too late and he got the ball over my arm."
UCLA (24-7) overcame a pair of 16-point deficits in the second half and a 34-point performance by Willoughby. Dollar, who helped the Bruins to their last championship after Edney was injured, led the Bruins with 20 points.
Iowa State (22-9) forced overtime on Willoughby's falling-down 23-footer with 21.8 seconds left in regulation. The Bruins had nearly blown the game after leading by four, 72-68, with a minute to go in regulation.
In the overtime, UCLA scored the first four points on a pair of free throws by Charles O'Bannon, and after a missed three by Willoughby, a short jumper by J. R. Henderson. Kenny Pratt's drive cut Iowa State's deficit to two, 68-66, but Toby Bailey
tapped in his own miss to push the lead back to four.
Willoughby missed another baseline jumper for the Cyclones, but Cato kept his team's chances alive by dunking the rebound. Bailey then missed in the lane for the Bruins. Pratt, trying to get by a couple of UCLA players, lost the ball, and, it seemed, momentary consciousness, after a collision that led to Henderson's breakaway layup.
Seemingly in control, the Bruins watched as Edwards cut the deficit to two. Bailey then threw a pass too hard for Kris Johnson to handle with 24.3 seconds to play. Pratt, who had returned to the game, was fouled by O'Bannon with 12 seconds to go. He made the first, missed the second and the rebound was fought over by Johnson and O'Bannon.
O'Bannon finally wrested control, but was called for traveling. On the ensuing inbounds, senior forward Shawn Bankhead scored on a tap-in play with 10 seconds left, setting up the last-second heroics of Dollar.
Iowa State, playing its patented slowdown game to perfection, seized a surprising 37-25 halftime lead over the cold-shooting Bruins.
Willoughby hit 5-of-8 three-point shots and scored 16 points in the first half for the Cyclones. Pratt did damage on the inside with 10 points.
"Give UCLA credit because they made a great comeback in a hard-fought game," said Iowa State's Floyd. "We missed several free throws in the second half that allowed UCLA to pick their heads up. In the end, we got the ball where we wanted it. but we just didn't execute and finish the plays."
Pub Date: 3/21/97