UCLA Falls Down The Mountain, Lose To Utah 74-69

Jan 18, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; UCLA Bruins forward David Wear (12) and Utah Utes guard Brandon Taylor (11) battle for a loose ball during the first half at Jon M. Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins (14-4, 3-2) lose to the Utah Utes (14-4, 3-3) 74-69, in one of the most painful, sloppy, uninspired, (add your own adjective here) game this year in the Pac-12. Who ever it was that said that UCLA’s “only test” will be against Arizona, obviously does not know the psychology of college basketball. As this game showed, EVERY game in the Pac-12 is a test.

Where shall we start, oh yeah…

The Worst Half Of The Season

Utah did not do such a good job of getting points in the first half, but UCLA was a whole lot worse. They, hands down, had the worst half of the season.

I really try not to rag on a college kid, so I will point out the deficiencies of his dad/coach. Bryce Alford had an abominable time in the first 20 minutes that lead to the Bruins having their worst half of the season.  If the kid is cold, fine, that is one thing, but Coach Steve Alford, this is right to you… He needs to stay on the bench more than you believe.

Alford’s lack of vision, especially when it pertains to his own son, is very disappointing. We have all witnessed Wanaah Bail, Tony Parker and even the best player on the team, Kyle Anderson get pulled after they are not doing so well. So what about this? His choice to keep Bryce in the game, hurt the entire team. He is not a savior. He is a freshman.

Bryce had 0 points and 2 turnovers (which he got in the first half) for the game, total. Although it was not as if he was the only one that Coach Alford kept in during slumps. Jordan Adams and Norman Powell combined for 0 points in the first half. Travis Wear only had 5 points with 3 turnovers for the game. David Wear, wait, did he even play in this game? Yes, with only 4 points.

The Second Half Was Slightly Better, But Not Really

The Bruins finally got back into the game with around 8 minutes left. Even though Utah closed in on a 20-point lead on several occasions, they could not shut down the Bruins. Like he did the entire game, Anderson pushed the Bruins forward, causing the Ute meltdown.

Anderson finished with 28 points. He wanted to win and was the only one willing to go for that win. Good job, #5.

UCLA had a chance to make a run, but 2 consecutive turnovers by Adams, swung the momentum Utah’s way. Funny enough, it was Adams who made a lay-up with 22 seconds left in the game to make it 69-71.

Unfortunately, Utah, who was collapsing before our very eyes, was able to hold on to the win. Barely. Utah had 9 three-pointers in the game, but few of those fell in the last five minutes and they were not able to land a knock-out punch against UCLA.

This game ended as a comedy of errors for both teams. Sloppy play and the inability to get any offense added to the pain of watching this game.

Oh well, ’tis over. Now it is time to prep, for the Bay Schools come onto Pauley Pavilion this coming week and the Bruins have many a-problems to solve.

Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco

Topics: Basketball, UCLA Bruins

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  • RoycePowell

    The game was all on the coach. The team was not prepared to play as evidenced by Zach’s comments post game. It just looked like Howland was back on the bench leading his troops straight into the ground. Our defense is non existent with our offense not far behind. Alford was playing Anderson and Bryce at the same time while keeping Powell on the bench..HUH?? Long year ahead folks as we lumber towards a solid mid Pac 12 finish and a crappy NCAA seed…maybe.

    • Mike W.R.

      Totally agree. The Senior Alford had the biggest bonehead game of the season and some of the worst coaching we have seen in a while. But the team will bounce back. I don’t think they are a middle-of-the-road Pac-12 team (if that is so, forget about the big dance), they just needed to not make stupid mistakes and maybe come to play. Thank you for the response and thank you for reading!

  • Eric

    Utah’s defense did have something to do with the outcome. Utah is pretty decent defensively. The Utes are on their way back, give credit where credit is due.