LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A tired and injured Dijon Thompson came up
with a career performance for UCLA.
Thompson scored a career-best 29 points and hit a 3-pointer that
gave the Bruins the lead for good with 44 seconds remaining as they
held on for an 81-79 victory over Michigan on Saturday.
The senior was playing his first game since cutting his right
hand in a loss to Boston College in the Wooden Classic on Dec. 5.
Thompson had two fingers taped together and 13 stitches in his
still sore shooting hand. He won't have them removed until after
the Bruins play at No. 21 Michigan State on Tuesday.
"Dijon had his best game as a Bruin," UCLA coach Ben Howland
said. "He didn't press, he let it come to him."
Besides being injured, Thompson appeared worn down playing 28
minutes. He hadn't done his usual conditioning in practice since
the injury and the Bruins have been busy with finals week.
"I just let the game come to myself," he said. "I felt that
comfortable. I just felt different. There wasn't that much pressure
Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bruins, who shot 60 percent
in the second half while holding Michigan to 39 percent.
"Dijon Thompson just had an incredible game," Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker said. "He got into a rhythm and a groove. I thought
he was the difference. We just had no way to stop him."
The Bruins (6-1) rallied from a six-point deficit in the final
3:46 after leading most of the way. Freshman Jordan Farmar scored
six points in that stretch -- all on free throws -- including two
when the Bruins clung to a one-point lead.
"He's old and mature and has experience," Farmar said of
Thompson. "He's supposed to step up just like he did today."
"I boxed him out, but he still got to the glass a lot and you
can't let him catch the ball," Hunter said about Thompson. "We
failed to box out and they got a lot of second-shot
The Bruins' defensive pressure in the closing minutes forced
consecutive turnovers by Michigan (6-5).
"We lost our composure," Harris said. "The crowd played a
part and they (UCLA) really buckled down on defense. They played a
little harder and raised their intensity towards the end."
Michigan trailed by four points when the Wolverines went on a
14-4 run to take a 75-69 lead with 3:51 remaining. Sims had seven
points in the spurt that gave Michigan its largest lead of the
But the Bruins answered with a 6-0 run, including Thompson's
putback of Arron Afflalo's missed jumper and a free throw by Farmar
that tied the game at 75.
The Wolverines committed two straight turnovers and then Hunter
missed before UCLA's Michael Fey committed his fourth foul on John
Andrews, who made both free throws for a 77-75 lead with 56 seconds
Thompson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 78-77
lead with 44 seconds to go.
"I was pretty confident," he said. "We run that play all
night. I saw a really big space between me and the defender."
Coleman lost the ball out of bounds for Michigan before Farmar
was fouled. He made both to keep UCLA ahead 80-77 with 22 seconds
Sims tipped in a missed 3-pointer by Hunter as Michigan trailed
80-79. Hunter then fouled Farmar with 7 seconds left. Farmar missed
the first and made the second, finishing with 11 points and nine
assists. Harris missed inside for Michigan as time expired.
Michigan was without four players because of injuries. Wing
Lester Abram had season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday;
forward Graham Brown is out 4-to-6 weeks after having hernia
surgery; guard Daniel Horton is out at least four weeks with a left
knee sprain; and guard Dani Wohl is out six weeks with a left elbow
"We just have to get everyone healthy and we'll be fine," Sims
said. "We've got the pieces here. No need to worry about
rebuilding. We just need to execute and play hard in the first
minutes of the game to get us going."
The Bruins beat the Wolverines for the first time in their last
three meetings, having lost in 2002, when Michigan won at Pauley
Pavilion for the first time, and last year when Michigan won 70-66
in Ann Arbor.
At halftime, UCLA retired the No. 25 jersey of Gail Goodrich,
who was on the Bruins' first two national championship teams in
1964 and '65. Those were coach John Wooden's first two of 10
national championship teams, and Wooden was on hand for the
"It's about time he had his UCLA number retired," said Wooden,
noting that Goodrich already had his high school and NBA jerseys
retired. Goodrich, 61, was a five-time All-Star guard for the Los
Fittingly, Goodrich's jersey was retired during a game against
Michigan. In the 1965 NCAA title game, the Bruins defeated
Michigan, with Goodrich scoring 42 points. Cazzie Russell had 28
for the Wolverines.
"My days at UCLA were probably the most enjoyable days I had in
basketball," Goodrich told the crowd. "I had a great passion for
the game and I could not wait until 3 o'clock in the afternoon to
get to practice. I had so much fun and what made those days so
enjoyable is that I was able to learn the game the right way from
coach Wooden. Many of those lessons out here on the basketball
court I was able to take with me and help me through life."
Goodrich lives in Connecticut and works as a studio analyst for
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