UCLA Basketball Fails Road Test, Loses to Missouri 80-71


Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA (8-1) failed its first test of the season on Saturday morning, falling to the Missouri Tigers (9-0), 80-71.

The two squads exchanged haymakers and uppercuts in the first half, with the Bruins racing out to an 11-point lead that would be cut and re-gained before the first half was over.

The Bruins struggled with keeping the Tigers out of the paint early on and forced Missouri to take more three-point shots. Though UCLA succeeded in forcing outside shots, Missouri responded by knocking down the three-pointers the Bruins were content giving them. The result was a 10-for-26 explosion from three for Missouri, which damned the Bruins’ hopes of walking away from Columbia, MO, with a win.

After a deflating Missouri 11-1 run to give the Tigers a one-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Bruins never fully recovered. Though the two teams would exchange a pair of leads and find themselves tied, Missouri pulled away with a 14-4 run to break a 60-60 tie and pull away with a win.

The story of the game for the Bruins was their sorely-lacking ability to end possessions by getting defensive boards. UCLA yielded 17 offensive boards to Missouri and the Bruins were out-rebounded overall 47-30, a theme that carried on from last year’s squad.

After the No. 18 Bruins earned a lot of goodwill nationally, it’s clear that this UCLA squad is soft, especially on the interior, evidenced by the rebounding disparity between the two teams.

It’s back to the drawing board for Steve Alford, who isn’t exactly on good terms with the UCLA fan-base. While winning earned him some leeway, a loss to UCLA’s first good opponent of the year doesn’t bode well for garnering fans’ support.

The Bruins are set with a match-up against listless Prairie View A&M before the Bruins’ tilt with Duke at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.