For the record, I don't think Steve Alford is Steve Lavin. I will write more on that later, but he sure sounded like Lavin in the postgame press conference, all he needed was the word "magic":
"We haven't had a team shoot this well against us all year," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "Sometimes you have to say congrats to the other team. They played extremely well, and we couldn't match that tonight."
On the flipside was Kyle Anderson. Kyle had 5 assists in the first 8:30 and UCLA was tied despite Stanford's magical shooting. He played most of the time at point, something he played little of the rest of the game. However, Kyle took the blame on himself for the loss.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Basketball is a team game but i didnt help my team today. Tough loss. Terrible individual performance by me but on to the next!!</p>— SLOWMO (@KyleAnderson5) <a href="https://twitter.com/KyleAnderson5/statuses/437418848837312512">February 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
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I disagree with Kyle but I respect that he is a leader, the leader of this team. He is a great kid. While most of the talk is going to be about the way Stanford shot,
The Cardinal performed far better in the rematch at Maples Pavilion, and as a result they knocked off the Bruins by the final score of 83-74. UCLA held a six-point edge in points in the paint (32-26) but Stanford managed to shoot 62% from the field and 11-for-20 from beyond the arc. And this occurred with senior forward Dwight Powell being quiet for much of the afternoon, scoring just nine points to go along with five assists and three rebounds.
With Powell limited by UCLA others needed to step up, and the triumvirate of Anthony Brown, Josh Huestis and Chasson Randle did just that. Brown, Huestis and Randle combined to score 66 points with Randle tallying 26, with 20 of those points coming in the first half. Stanford did have issues with the UCLA pressure, especially in the second half, with the Bruins converting 15 Stanford turnovers into 24 points but the gap in that stat (minus-12) wasn't as large as it was in the first meeting (22-1 UCLA).
The fact of the matter is that is not why UCLA lost:
The back end of road trips has been UCLA's Achilles heel in conference play. The Bruins lost at both Utah and Oregon State, shooting 40.8 percent in those two games. They allowed 47.6 percent, including 42.5 from beyond the arc.
They also failed to move the ball, notching just 26 combined assists against 28 turnovers. For a team that leads the conference with a 1.66 ratio, it was a dramatic about-face.
The first half at Stanford on Saturday only echoed those struggles.
UCLA went over five minutes without a field goal, allowing the Cardinal a 12-0 run and falling into a 38-30 hole. Through the first 20 minutes, the Bruins allowed 53.8 percent shooting. They had just eight assists to eight turnovers.
More on the offense theme from NBC. I don't think this is entirely right either but it is worth mentioning.
UCLA was limited to 44% shooting on the afternoon, and the struggles endured by Jordan Adams played a role in the outcome. After racking up 28 points (12-for-19 FG), six rebounds and five assists in UCLA's blowout win at Cal the sophomore was limited to just eight points on 2-for-7 shooting. UCLA may have multiple scoring options on the perimeter but it's Adams who is their most important scorer, and when he struggles it becomes tougher for the Bruins to be at their best.
Buy Kyle and Jordan not scoring is tough to overcome.
Saturday's loss marked the first game this season in which both Jordan Adams (eight points) and Kyle Anderson (six points) were limited to fewer than 10 points. Adams and Anderson were both held to fewer than 10 points in just two games last season (played in 33 games together).
As Tony Parker says below there are no silver linings. However, Zach's play was the closest there is in this crushing loss.
Down 14 in the second half, UCLA - led by reserves Parker and freshmen Bryce Alford and Zach LaVine - went on a 13-2 run in less than four minutes to cut the lead to three. But Stanford, which shot a season-high 62 percent on the night, deflated the run with consecutive 3s - a pattern that haunted the Bruins on Saturday.
Another late run, thanks to eight consecutive points from a previously slumping LaVine, cut it to four with less than three minutes remaining.
As Orange County Register sums up the issues with its headline "Bruins leave the Broom Home Again, fall at Stanford"
They had a chance to sweep a Pac-12 two-game road swing and for the third consecutive time they failed. They'd blown an opportunity and watched their chances of repeating as Pac-12 regular-season basketball champions drift further out of reach.
But while losses in Salt Lake City and Corvallis hurt, this 83-74 setback at Stanford, was different. Two losses could be forgotten. Three, in all-too-familiar fashion, was a trend.
Stanford again had no answer for Tony Parker. In just 18 minutes Parker was 6-8 which means in two game against Stanford he was 15-22. Even if that did not earn him more time in this game, it does earn him the last word:
"We got to learn," said center Tony Parker. "We got to learn. This is the third this has happened. We got to pick it up and learn from it. These are big losses."
. . ."This hurts really, really bad," Parker said.
The Bruins (21-6, 10-4) took one of their sabbaticals in the first half. They went 5 minutes 37 minutes without a field goal. Stanford went on a 12-0 run and led, 38-30, at halftime.
. . . "We have to respect every opponent," Parker said. "That's a maturity thing. You have to have that to win a championship."
I guess we know what is going to happen in the WSU at the end of the season.