As I had said before UCLA’s battle with Washington in Seattle, I didn’t expect the Bruins to beat the first place Huskies.
Not on the road.
But what ended up happening was much worse, as Washington outscored Bruins 16-4 in the game’s final seven minutes, going on a 13-0 run in the process after Ben Howland’s team had taken a ten-point lead.
Combine Husky guard Terrance Ross’ 18 points in the second half (22 for the game) and UCLA’s eight turnovers in the second half with the Bruins going on a fateful four-minute stretch without scoring, then add a missed 10-foot jumper by Norman Powell right before the final buzzer that could have tied the game, and you have a 71-69 loss to the Huskies in front of an excitingly delirious crowd of 9,756 U-Dub fans.
It was a bitter loss as UCLA’s road woes continue; they still have only one win in opposing arenas, their record falling to .500 in the Pac-12 Conference at 5-5 with this loss being their tenth overall against 12 wins.
Worst of all, this marks the Bruins’ 8th straight loss to the Huskies in Seattle, as the last time UCLA won a basketball game in that city was in 2004.
“It was a game we really wanted…for it to come down at the end like that, people are really upset,” guard Lazeric Jones said.
Joshua Smith was UCLA’s biggest bright spot by far, as he led everyone with 24 points – a career high – on nine-of-13 shooting, adding nine rebounds to his numbers while playing in front of over 30 members of his family and friends; the center hails from the Seattle area and was obviously pumped up for this contest.
Jones and David Wear scored 11 and ten points, respectively, but Travis Wear picked the wrong time to have a sub-par night, making just four of his 15 shots, though he did grab eight boards before injuring his ankle late in the game.
The lack of success in making baskets – Jones was 3-of-15 from the field, joining Travis Wear in his futility – combined with Washington employing a 2-3 zone late, contributed to the Bruins shooting 44% for the night.
Fouls were also a problem as Jones and David Wear played with four personals each and Tyler Lamb fouled out with six points, making only two of seven baskets.
UCLA did a good job in hanging with the now 15-7 (8-2 in the Pac-12) Huskies for about 33 of the game’s 40 minutes, getting ten steals in the process with Lamb being credited for four.
But that makes this loss all the more frustrating, as this team now has to somehow regroup and get a win in the Palouse against Washington State this Saturday.
I will go ahead and say it: this next game at Beasley Arena is a must-win.
If the Bruins lose to Wazzu’s Cougars, which they haven’t done in a long time as they have an 18-game winning streak in Pullman, well…
While I won’t say they would be finished, UCLA would be in extremely huge trouble with tough games against Stanford and California coming next week.