As opposed to the Alec Baldwin/Glengarry Glen Ross-level job that the UCLA football coaches did in closing into National Signing Day, the Bruin basketball team gave the Razzie judges something to think about with an epic fail over the final few minutes in Seattle, blowing a 11 point lead in the final 4 minutes, and failing to convert after gaining the final possession, losing to the Huskies by the score of 71-69. As a reminder, UCLA has still not beaten a Div. I team outside of Southern California this season.
The game started off with Washington playing their usual loose, not so disciplined play which allowed the Bruins to play them close, but never really gain an advantage in the opening half of the game. While UCLA did take a small lead through periods of the half, the Huskies nailed a 3-pointer with about 3 seconds left to take a 1 point lead into halftime. Washington racked up fouls in the 2nd half, getting into the Bonus less than halfway into the 2nd half. And while UCLA was able to take a double-digit lead deep into the second half, the effect of the crowd/SPTR's combined together with the Howland era Bruins' typical struggles in Seattle began to take effect. Another Husky 3 closed the deficit to just one point with under 4 minutes to go, while a questionable charge call took Tyler Lamb out of the game in the final couple of minutes.
Josh Smith was looking as motivated as I have seen him at UCLA in his return home. 14 points in the first half, and would go on to score 24 for the game while pulling down 9 rebounds, thanks in part to Jerime and Zeek taking the revolutionary step of feeding the big man in the post. David Wear scored 10 points, while Travis Wear scored 8 and pulled in 8 rebounds of his own. Zeek scored 11, but on 3-12 shooting. That ugly shooting percentage was one major part of the Bruins story tonight. Even with Josh's monster night, the team shot just 44% from the field; when the Huskies adjusted after the Bruins took their late lead by switching to a zone defense, UCLA was unable to attack it - the complete lack of any work with zone defenses in practice for the past few weeks certainly can not have helped.
While even the ESPN announcers came out and said that Lamb's final foul was a bullshit SPTR call, the fact remains that the Bruins still led the game, and had the opportunity to close it out. It might feel good to blame shit like this on the refs, and no doubt that the selection of game officials that the Pac-12 has in its arsenal suck. But in the big picture, with the level of play that the Bruins have shown this season - over the last 3 seasons really - the team has simply not played well enough, with enough skill and discipline to have earned the respect to get calls from the refs. We can all agree that the SPTR's do truly suck, but when a team plays as poorly as ours did down the stretch tonight, there is no right to whine about their effect.
The Bruins will next play on Saturday afternoon at Washington State. This is your post-Washington thread.