The UCLA basketball team followed one of their best halves of the season with one of their worst as they allow Utah to comeback from 22 points down and get the win on a last-second shot.
This game was the epitome of UCLA basketball this season. The Bruins had one of the best halves of the season as they shot over 70% and took a 49-32 lead into halftime.
But that is where the good times stopped.
In the second half, as the Bruins ought to do, they let up off the gas and allowed Utah to do anything they wanted.
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Utah scored 61 points in the second half to help them come back from 22 points down and beat the Bruins on their home court. This was the biggest road come back in Utah history and it couldn’t come against any other team but this UCLA basketball squad.
This was unfortunate because of how the Bruins played in the first half.
Before the break, the Bruins were shooting over 70%, they only had four turnovers and they were 4/9 from behind the arc. What hurts, even more, is that a few Bruins had really stand out games.
It never is.
I’m not exactly sure what went through the Bruins’ minds in the second half but there should be no reason to let up off the gas. They’ve done that consistently, especially under Steve Alford. But that is no excuse. They should have had the foresight to realize that this game wasn’t over at half time. They needed to continue to put the pressure on. They needed to continue to play the way they did in the first half. That did not happen.
Utah just wanted it more. The Utes knew exactly what to do against the Bruins. UCLA got complacent and they didn’t put the same amount of effort in the second half, especially on defense. Utah hit 14 three-pointers in this game, the majority of which helped their second half come back.
Utah deserved to win this game. UCLA deserved to lose this game. This is way too much of the same, especially with not enough individual effort by the Bruins who need to take responsibility.
But the players are not the only ones to blame. Part of this has to be put on Murry Bartow‘s shoulders who did not convey to his players that they need to stay focused, stay vigilant, and keep their foot on the gas. It was also concerning how he kept Moses Brown on the bench for most of the game. Brown didn’t play because he was late to a pregame shootaround but was punished as if he committed a crime.
Yet when the Bruins were in desperation mode, Brown was brought in for the last five seconds of the game to try to salvage the win. It didn’t work. This loss is on everyone associated with UCLA basketball.