ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Tony Akins had 28 points and five assists, and Marvin Lewis added 15 points and 10 rebounds as Georgia Tech added to UCLA’s woes by beating the Bruins 72-67 on Saturday in the seventh annual John Wooden Classic.
Shaun Fein had 13 points for the Yellow Jackets, not considered to be among the Atlantic Coast Conference’s better teams. The win was their fourth in five games under first-year coach Paul Hewitt.
Alvin Jones, who brought an 18.5-point average into the game, was held to five points before fouling out with 3:48 left. But the Yellow Jackets were able to overcome his lack of productivity as UCLA made only 18-of-63 shots (31 percent) and 4-of-18 from 3-point range.
Jason Kapono led the Bruins (2-3) with 18 points including 12 free throws in as many attempts. Dan Gadzuric had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Earl Watson added 16 points, but committed eight of UCLA’s 19 turnovers.
The Bruins led 31-22 in the first minute of the second half before Georgia Tech got its offense in gear. A basket by Akins with 7:42 remaining capped a 12-3 run and gave the Yellow Jackets a 56-49 lead _ their largest of the game.
UCLA wasn’t closer than two points after that. A layup by Watson after a steal by Ryan Bailey made it 66-64 with 1:22 left. But Akins made a foul shot with 1:16 to play, and Fein added two more with 46.4 seconds left to make it 69-64.
After Kapono’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds left made it 69-67, UCLA failed to capitalize on several opportunities, and Lewis’ three free throws in the final 21.2 seconds completed the scoring.
UCLA, 4-0 in previous Wooden Classic appearances, performed well in the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York to start the season, losing to then-No. 7 Kansas 99-98 and beating then-No. 12 Kentucky 97-92 in overtime.
However, in its two games since then, both at home, UCLA was unimpressive against lesser-known opponents, being upset 78-74 by Cal State Northridge and extended before beating UC Santa Barbara 83-77.
And then came Saturday’s debacle.
UCLA missed its first 14 shots before T.J. Cummings made a layup with nearly 8 1/2 minutes gone. However, the Yellow Jackets weren’t faring much better, and UCLA led at halftime 28-22 despite 16 points by Akins.
No. 15 Southern California faced No. 18 Utah in the nightcap of the seventh annual event at Anaheim Arena named for the former UCLA coach who guided the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span ending in 1975, when he retired after 27 years on the job.