UCLA: Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Minnesota 83, UCLA 63

March, 22, 2013
The Minnesota Golden Gophers blew out the UCLA Bruins, 83-63, in the round of 64 of the NCAA tournament on Friday night in Austin, Texas. A quick breakdown:

How it happened: The Bruins cut the Gophers' 14-point lead to five points with 15:02 to play but could not rekindle the magic that led to double-digit comebacks twice in the Pac-12 tournament last week.

Minnesota guard Andre Hollins scored 10 consecutive points and 13 total over the next six minutes as the Gophers opened a 62-49 lead with 8:35 to play and cruised home for the victory.

Player of the game: Hollins scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half, including 4 of 5 on 3-point shots. He was also 7-for-7 from the free throw line in the second half.

Stat of the game: The Bruins, playing without second-leading scorer Jordan Adams, shot 31.7 percent from the field. It was the worst shooting performance of the season for the Bruins.

What it means: UCLA's season is over and the Bruins community will now wait on word about coach Ben Howland's future. Howland has been on the hot seat all season, and an embarrassing loss on such a big stage will not help his chances of being brought back. Shabazz Muhammad, a projected first-round NBA pick, will also have to make an announcement about his future.

What's next: Minnesota moves on to the round of 32 to face Florida on Sunday. UCLA will return to Westwood.

Rapid Reaction: Washington State 73, UCLA 61

March, 6, 2013

The last-place Washington State Cougars upset the first-place No. 23 UCLA Bruins 73-61 Wednesday in a Pac-12 game in Pullman, Wash. It was the first time UCLA has lost at Washington State since 1993. A quick look:

How it happened: UCLA (22-8, 12-5) started the game slowly, with low energy and playing without a sense of urgency as the Cougars (12-18, 3-14) raced to a 25-4 lead. The Bruins never really threatened to make a game of it.

UCLA trimmed the lead to 35-24 by halftime and got to within six points early in the second half and were within eight at 60-52 with 4:55 to play, but Washington State closed strong in the final minutes against a gambling UCLA defense.

UCLA, the Pac-12 leader in shooting percentage, shot only 38.6 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Bruins played poorly on the defensive end, allowing Washington State to shoot 49.1 percent. The Cougars came in to the game last in the conference in field-goal percentage at 40.9 percent but put up the fourth-best field goal percentage of any UCLA opponent this season.

UCLA leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad had 14 points, but was 4-for-19 from the field, including two of 11 on 3-point attempts, and had only three rebounds. Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 18 points.

Player of the game: Washington State's Brock Motum had 20 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. He had 15 points in the first half, when Washington State took control of the game.

Stat of the game: Washington State outrebounded UCLA, 46-23. It is the largest rebounding deficit this season for UCLA, which is last in the conference in rebounding margin. The Bruins have been outrebounded in 10 consecutive games with a tally of 424-330 during that stretch, an average of 9.4 per game.

What it means: UCLA falls a half-game behind Oregon for first place in the Pac-12, and to win a share of the conference title the Bruins will need to end an eight-game losing streak at Washington and then get help in the form of a Ducks loss Thursday at Colorado or Saturday at Utah.

In the bigger picture, the Bruins once again showed the inability to follow up a big win against a team it should handle easily. UCLA, which defeated Arizona on Saturday under the ESPN "College GameDay" spotlight, has a knack for rising up to big occasions but routinely falls flat outside of the limelight. The Bruins, who climbed into the national rankings this week, lost three of four games after the last time they were ranked.

What's next: UCLA will play Washington in the regular-season finale Saturday at 11 a.m. PT. Washington State plays USC on Saturday at 3:30 PT.

Rapid Reaction: UCLA 79, Arizona State 74

February, 27, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- The UCLA Bruins fended off the feisty Arizona State Sun Devils for a 79-74 win in overtime Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion.

How it happened: Jordan Adams made a driving layup to give UCLA a 77-74 lead with 44 seconds to play in overtime, then made two free throws with 26 seconds left to seal the victory and keep the Bruins (21-7, 11-4) in first place in the Pac-12 Conference.

Arizona State, fighting for its NCAA tournament life, had a 52-48 lead with less than 14 minutes to play. UCLA took back the lead with a 13-3 run and held its biggest lead of the game at 67-62 with 4:03 to play, but Arizona State's Jahii Carson caught fire late and scored seven points in the final 2:21 of regulation. His driving layup with 39 seconds left tied the score at 70-70 and when David Wear missed a jumper with six seconds to play and Carson missed a desperation heave at the buzzer, the game went to overtime.

Arizona State jumped out to a 23-14 lead with 11:15 to play in the first half, fueled by Jonathan Gilling's three 3-point baskets, and looked as if it were going to run away with the game the same way the Sun Devils did last month in Tempe. The Bruins fought back, however, using hot outside shooting to get back into it.

In the final 10:53 of the first half, Shabazz Muhammad made two 3-pointers, Adams made a 3-pointer and converted three free throws after getting fouled on another attempt and Kyle Anderson made a 3-pointer that gave the Bruins a 39-37 lead with 1:19 left in the half. Carson made two late baskets for the Sun Devils, however, and Arizona state took a 41-39 halftime lead.

Player of the game: Adams had a game-high 22 points, including the four clutch points in overtime and a 3-pointer with 1:23 left in regulation. Kyle Anderson had a career-high 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Stat of the game: The Bruins held Arizona State to 40.3 percent shooting, barely missing out on keeping a third consecutive opponent under 40 percent. Pretty impressive considering the Sun Devils shot 53.3 percent in the first half. They were 13-of-42 (30.9 percent) in the second half and overtime combined, and only 2-of-12 in OT.

What it means: The Bruins are pretty good at extracting revenge wins. This is the second consecutive game in which they have defeated a team they lost to earlier in the season. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they don't get anymore cracks at Oregon or California in the regular season, but maybe a meeting awaits in the Pac-12 tournament. More important, the win keeps UCLA squarely in the middle of the Pac-12 title race and inside the NCAA tournament bubble. The Bruins are tied with Oregon, which plays Oregon State on Thursday night. UCLA and Oregon are a half game ahead of Arizona, which lost at USC on Wednesday night.

What's next: UCLA has a pivotal showdown against No. 11 Arizona on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT at Pauley Pavilion. The game will be televised by ESPN and the "College GameDay" crew will be on hand. Arizona State heads across town to play USC on Saturday at noon at the Galen Center.

Rapid Reaction: Cal 76, UCLA 63

February, 14, 2013
The UCLA Bruins, prone to poor performances cropping up throughout this season, had another one Thursday in a 76-63 loss to the California Golden Bears at Berkeley.

How it happened: The Bruins (18-7, 8-4) started the game flat and got flatter as the first half wore on, then tried to make a run in the second half but had dug too deep a hole early. Bruins coach Ben Howland's team fell out of a short-lived tie for first place in the Pac-12 standings.

California (15-9, 7-5) opened a 47-22 halftime lead by shooting 58.8 percent in the first half and outrebounding the Bruins 24-13 before intermission. The Bruins began the second half with a 14-4 run and looked as if they might make a game out of it when Shabazz Muhammad made a pair of free throws to cut Cal’s lead to 67-53 with 7:08 to play.

The Bruins made only two of their next eight shots, however, and the Golden Bears held on. Forward David Kravish led the Golden Bears with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Richard Solomon had 17 points and eight rebounds, Allen Crabbe had 16 points and Justin Cobbs had 12 points and nine assists.

Jordan Adams led UCLA with 15 points, while Muhammad scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half and added a career-high 11 rebounds. Larry Drew II had 12 points.

Player of the game: Kravish set a career high with 18 points and dominated the glass against the Bruins. He had more points and rebounds that UCLA starting forwards Travis Wear (seven points, four rebounds) and Kyle Anderson (six points, seven rebounds) combined. He made eight of 11 shots.

Stat of the game: The Bruins shot 37.7 percent for the game -- the third-lowest shooting performance for UCLA this season. They have failed to shoot better than 40 percent in four of their past five games. Also, Cal outrebounded UCLA 41-33. The Bruins have been outrebounded 299-236 over the past seven games.

What it means: UCLA is a team that has the talent to win the Pac-12 title, but doesn’t appear to have the consistency to get the job done down the stretch. The Bruins simply can’t shake the penchant for playing extremely poor basketball for stretches at a time, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they lay another egg like they did in the first half Thursday, against the USC Trojans a couple of weeks ago and against Cal Poly in an early-season loss.

What’s next: UCLA heads to Palo Alto for a game at Stanford on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT. The game is on ESPN2. California will be home for a game against USC on Sunday at 7 p.m. PT.

Rapid Reaction: UCLA 59, Washington 57

February, 7, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- Larry Drew II made a 15-foot jump shot at the final buzzer to give UCLA a 59-57 victory over Washington Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. It ended a two-game losing streak for the Bruins.

Here's a quick recap:

How it happened: The game was tight all the way, with neither team taking a lead of more than six points, so to have it come down to a game winner was no surprise.

Washington tied the score at 57-57 on a driving shot by C.J. Wilcox with 10 seconds to play. UCLA had a timeout left, but did not use it. Drew, the point guard, took the in-bounds pass, dribbled the ball up the court, broke out to the left wing and swished the game winner as the final horn sounded.

Washington's 36-32 lead with 16:44 to play was the largest lead for the Huskies in the second half. Shabazz Muhammad made a 3-pointer to cut Washington's lead to 36-35 with 16:16 to play, and neither team led by more than two points until Jordan Adams scored on a fast break to give UCLA a 47-43 lead with 7:06 remaining.

The Bruins extended their lead to 49-43, the largest lead of the game for either team, but Abdul Gaddy made a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to tighten things back up.

Muhammad had a game-high 22 points on 8-of-23 shooting and added eight rebounds. Wilcox had 15 points for the Huskies and Aziz N'Diaye had 11 points and a career-high 18 rebounds.

Player of the game: Drew's game winner trumps Muhammad's point total. Drew had nine points on an efficient 4-of-7 shooting. The game winner was his third of the season, adding Washington to a list of victims that includes UC Irvine and Utah.

Stat of the game: The Bruins shot a season-low 33.3 percent (22-of-66) and were outrebounded 46-36, yet won the game. It is the third consecutive game the Bruins have shot below 40 percent, and the third consecutive game they have been outrebounded -- but the first of those three they have won.

What it means: The Bruins keep their Pac-12 title hopes alive, but their rebounding and shooting woes the past few games are a major concern.

What’s next: UCLA plays Washington State on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT at Pauley Pavilion. Washington heads across town to play USC on Saturday at 7.



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