Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Washington State 73, UCLA 61
By Peter Yoon
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.