UCLA: Jio Fontan

Deep Three: Bruins don't hide emotion

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
1:03
AM PT
We go beyond the arc following UCLA's 64-50 win against rival USC at Pauley Pavilion:

1ONE SHINING MOMENT

The Bruins didn't want to admit it, but they returned the favor Wednesday night. They bumped chests. They high-fived each other. They skipped and hopped across Nell & John Wooden Court as the final seconds ticked off and the Pauley Pavilion crowd stood in the background.

"We were just excited," said Joshua Smith, who was vocal about USC's late-game antics following UCLA's loss at Galen Center on Jan. 9.

The Bruins snapped a four-game losing streak to their crosstown rivals and made no attempt to hide their elation.

"They had a little run and a winning streak on us, we knew this was going to be a big game," said junior Malcolm Lee, one of only two UCLA players who had previously tasted a victory against the Trojans.

UCLA's celebration was noticeable. Sophomore Reeves Nelson, who last month claimed the rivalry was more of "an old-timer thing," bounced from teammate to teammate to exchange handshakes. Lazeric Jones and Tyler Honeycutt raced to the student section as the buzzer sounded.

"I didn't feel like when we celebrated it was a big deal," USC guard Jio Fontan said. "I don't know what they were complaining for. That's what you play for -- you play to win and when you win you celebrate. That's what you're supposed to do. As a player, I'm not going to say that I feel disrespected or anything. ... All I'm doing is looking at that and remembering that when we play them in the Pac-10 Tournament or next year. When we come out, we just want to make sure we're celebrating next time."

Said USC coach Kevin O'Neill: "I would celebrate. ... C'mon, that stuff doesn't bother me one bit. If you win a game, you should celebrate. I wouldn't care if guys did back flips, somersaults, ran in front of me. ... Listen, you deserve to celebrate if you win the game. That's the least of my concerns -- some post-game celebration."

2AN EMPTY FONTAN

Zero made baskets. Zero points.

Fontan had a rough go at it Wednesday night against Jones and Lee. It was his second no-point performance in three games. He had scored 10 points in the teams' previous meeting.

"I got some open shots, they just didn't fall," Fontan said. "I missed the open layup at the end, a couple of free throws and even a couple jump shots -- open looks not falling. I think I'm fine. I just need to get back in the groove."

Fontan finished 0-for-5, which caught coach Ben Howland's attention when he peered down at the box score during his post-game press conference.

"Their guards are good, our guards are good," Fontan said. "I would bet my money that we're just as good, if not better, than those guards. They played a better game tonight."

3VIDEO: USC'S O'NEILL AND FONTAN DISCUSS LOSS

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