First this was not a trap game. A trap game is a game against a team like Utah in the first road trip to Salt Lake City. Utah is a well coached team lacking talent that plays better at home. This was an inexcusable loss. This was a very bad WSU team that UCLA should be able to beat with almost any combination of five scholarship players. To be clear this was not a game won by WSU but a game lost by UCLA.
But this wasn't about whether the Cougars played well. They didn't. It was how bad the Bruins played.
That UCLA shot 33% from the field was a starting point.
The Bruins made four of their five shots to start, then they were two for 16 the rest of the half. They spread out their next four field goals over 24:04.
Now part of this is explainable. Without Kyle Anderson, UCLA well stinks.
Part of the problem? Anderson was in foul trouble. He spent eight minutes on the bench. The Bruins looked disorganized without him.
Anderson had 19 points to lead the Bruins, but he received little support. He needed five assists to become the first Pac-12 player to have 200 rebounds and 200 assists in one season. He finished with four assists.
To be clear this was not WSU shooting lights out, they only shot well from three for a half. They shot 37% for the game overall, 34% from three, and even a bad 66% from the free throw line. This was a microcosm of the season for the second game of road trips.
In some ways, the result was stunning. The Cougars were arguably the worst team in the league, and had not won a game since Feb. 1. Through Pac-12 play, they were dead last in scoring average (55.1), scoring margin (-14.1) and field goal percentage (36.8).
In others, it was utterly unsurprising. UCLA showed little fortitude on the road this season, losing the tail end of all four Pac-12 road trips. Though Alford has guided his team to a second-place finish in the conference, it has not inspired confidence in the possibility of a deep NCAA tournament run.
The Bruins opened the game on a 9-0 run, but looked lost once Wooden Award finalist Kyle Anderson headed to the bench with a pair of early fouls. They went without a field goal for nearly six minutes in the first half, then allowed WSU a 19-4 run nearing halftime.
Washington State hit 7-of-16 3-pointers in the first half, and entered the break with a comfortable 34-26 lead despite a quiet night from its leading scorer. DaVonte Lacy, second in the conference in points per game, finished with just one field goal, though he chipped in seven rebounds and two assists.
The first half with Kyle out UCLA had to play a lot of zone with Bryce Alford as point guard. Against the UCLA zone WSU hit a bunch of threes. But again, WSU did not win the game from three as in the second half WSU shot 3-13 or 23% from three. UCLA just stunk.
The Washington State Cougars were probably the only ones who believed they could upset the UCLA Bruins Saturday night.
As it turned out, the Cougars not only beat the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 Conference, they routed the Bruins 73-55.
Washington State extended its lead to 17 at the 13:42 mark off back-to-back 3's by Johnson and held a double digit lead the rest of the way.
The Cougars hit ten 3-pointers in the contest and outscored the Bruins 20-12 in the paint.
Kyle Anderson scored 19 points and Bryce Alford had 10 points, but the pair were the only scorers in double figures for UCLA, which posted its lowest-scoring game of the season.
It is hard right now for the most optimistic Bruin fan to see a way this team wins more than a game (and that is being optimistic) in the NCAA tourney. This is the last game of the year and the same problem with second games of road trips is still there. UCLA is closing the season out with its worst defeat.
"Well, nothing pretty about it," said coach Steve Alford. "(Washington State) played hard. They deserved to win. We didn't do those things. So when you don't concentrate, you don't deserve to win."
. . .[T]he entire UCLA (23-8, 12-6) team, for the fourth of four conference road trips, was a letdown. Just days separate the Bruins from one-and-done tournament competition, but they are already more than well-versed in the style.
UCLA experienced its worst loss to Washington State in decades Saturday but, even worse, the 31-game-worn Bruins are as befuddled as the Bruins who lost at Utah in January.
"We're still trying to figure it out," Adams said. "We were asking the same question when we went in there. That's been our biggest Achilles."
Actually Jordan that is not your job, that is the job of the coach. Next game is at 6 pm Thursday in the PAC 12 tournament. Followed by a likely loss Friday because it doesn't seem to matter who UCLA plays in the second game of a road series, they will lose.