February 26, 1998
PULLMAN, Wash. - For the second year in a row, the UCLA Bruins hit a dramatic last-second shot to escape from Friel Court, this time with a 78-75 victory.
With the score tied 75-75 after a pair of Carlos Daniel free throws, Bruin senior Kris Johnson calmly held the ball for most of the final 27 seconds.
Johnson, who was guarded by WSU reserve Will Hutchens, let the clock run, then buried a 3-point basket from 25-feet away with three-tenths of a second left. Last year, Cameron Dollar drove three-quarters the length of the floor for a layup with nine-tenths of a second showing to give UCLA an 87-86 win.
The Bruins (21-5 overall, 11-3 Pacific-10) have won 11 straight games over WSU.
Just as they did in Los Angeles, the Cougars (9-18 overall, 2-14 Pacific-10) led the Bruins at the half, 36-32 behind eight points each from Daniel and Steve Slotemaker. They held their lead throughout the first nine minutes of the second half. The two teams were tied six times over the final 6:37 of the game.
The loss was WSU's sixth of the season by five points or less.
Quotes from Washington State head coach Kevin Eastman - "It's real simple. Why does UCLA and Arizona win? They've got better players. I don't know if we will come back from this. I hope our guys respond appropriately. Hopefully we have the energy and enthusiasm we played with today."
Quotes from UCLA head coach Steve Lavin - "We wanted to get the last shot. Our last possession we had good spacing, I just wish we could have got it off earlier so that there could be a chance for a tip. The confidence of Kris Johnson (to take the shot so late) is similar to Charles Barkley. (WSU) forced us into a zone and we weren't as aggressive in the zone. I think our seniors down the stretch were the ones who stepped up."
Quotes from UCLA senior Kris Johnson - "All my life I've hit a lot of clutch shots. I was just really comfortable and confident on taking that shot. I thought if we are going to miss the shot, I'm going to miss it and go to overtime. I had just missed the hook and was mad at myself so I wanted to redeem myself. It was a good game, but Washington State played great. They were in it to the last 0.7 seconds. Our hats go off to them."