Monty Clowns Howland Again: Bruins Lose 73-63

Put to rest all thoughts and pipe dreams of a potential at-large berth to the tournament. If the Bruins were walking a tightrope before, following the 73-63 drubbing Cal gave Ben Howland's listless, confused, hapless team, that rope has snapped. Against a marginally talented but well coached Bears squad, the Bruins put on a performance eerily reminiscent of the first game up in Berkeley: A somewhat close game blown wide open right after halftime.

Howland's other chance to make the tournament also took a major hit. At 7-6 in conference, the Bruins are now 2 games out of 4th place in the loss column, and are looking squarely at the four wins in four days road to the play-in game. How exciting.

Though the game was close in the first half, the signs of the impending meltdown were all there. The Bruins played disinterested and selfishly. Aimless passing around the perimeter and ill fated one on one drives were all the offense UCLA seemed to be able to muster, and but for a few lucky shots by Lazeric Jones, the game probably would have been over at halftime.

Though Joshua Smith didn't have a game like he had in Washington, he was at least more active than we've seen him earlier this year. It's not enough to come out and say he had a good game, but at least watching him fight for position and make some aggressive moves around the basket show interest and engagement. It's certainly better than what we saw from the Wears, who were a combined 5-19 from the floor on an array of long jumpers and other selfish nonsense.

It just doesn't seem necessary to break this down further when you look at the box score. Cal would have joined an ever increasing list of teams that have shot 50% or better against us for the game if they weren't already on that list from the first time around. On the other side, aimless, purposeless, stagnant, 6 assist offense leads to 39% shooting for UCLA. It's really just a textbook beatdown of a team that is now just hoping to lobby to sneak into the NIT. At least we can take comfort in the fact that we should be a tough out in the NIT/CBI, right?

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