UCLA lost to a better-coached and much less-talented Oregon State team last night. Announcer Doug Gottlieb made one heck of a Freudian slip calling Steve Alford “Steve Lavin.” Gottlieb tried to play it off saying “Did I say Steve Lavin?” But, it seemed accurate because it looked like a Lavin-coached team in the set offense. How bad was it? An AP article on the Orange County Register website says:
UCLA followed arguably its worst offensive outing of the season – a 68-59 home loss to Colorado last Saturday – with another frustrating effort. The Bruins made only 37.1 percent of their shots overall and were 7 for 23 from 3-point range. They were also outplayed inside, giving up 18 offensive rebounds and getting outscored 33-22 in the paint, and most importantly, they came up empty late.
Things were so bad, Ben Bolch of the LA Times had enough bad things to write without having to mention the China incident:
Thomas Welsh missed a jump shot that could have tied the score for UCLA and Alford loosened the knot on his tie as he crouched along the sideline.
Jaylen Hands badly misfired on a three-pointer and Alford stood with his hands on his hips.
UCLA followed its worst offensive performance of the season with another clunker. The Bruins made only 37.9% of their shots overall and were seven for 23 from beyond the arc. They were also manhandled inside, giving up 18 offensive rebounds and getting outscored, 33-22, in the paint.
On the latter, starting UCLA four Gyorgy Goloman had 2 rebounds in 23 minutes. As a matter of fact, UCLA’s two power forwards had more fouls (9) than rebounds (6). The rest of UCLA’s defense was not bad, according to the Daily Bruin:
UCLA’s defense was strong, holding Oregon State to just 36.5 percent shooting for the game, and allowed the Bruins to grab a lead midway through the second half by holding the Beavers without a made field goal for a stretch of over five minutes.
But the defensive effort was marred throughout the night by poor defensive rebounding, with Oregon State grabbing a season-high 18 offensive boards en route to 15 second-chance points.
Forward Drew Eubanks snagged five offensive rebounds, guard Ethan Thompson grabbed four and forward Seth Berger pulled down three as the Beavers repeatedly found easy put-back opportunities at the basket.
UCLA’s defense also created a nice run. From the Oregonian/Oregon Live:
All seven losses this season have come after the Beavers built a second half edge. And once again Thursday, they watched a 48-40 lead with 12 minutes to play disappear in the span of two minutes and 22 seconds due to a UCLA 8-0 run.
Oregon State began to wilt as the Bruins turned up their defensive pressure, throwing the passes away during a sloppy stretch that forced Tinkle to call a timeout. He later said he ripped into his team for their carelessness, but soon found Tres Tinkle and Seth Berger vocally picking up their teammates amid the run.
An interesting thing about this run is that it was keyed by the bench.
Trailing 48-40 with 12 minutes to play in the second half, UCLA used a 8-0 run to tie the game as Kris Wilkes had a transition dunk and Alex Olesinski scored a put-back layup. The Bruins would take its first lead of the second period after Smith scored on back-to-back possessions to go up 54-53 with 6:40 remaining.
In his postgame interview, Alford blamed the loss on inability to finish halves. Bolch quotes Alford as saying:
“We just didn’t finish either half,” Alford said. “That was the difference in the game.”
The Daily Bruin points out that the stats bear that out as part of the problem:
UCLA struggled at the end of each half, allowing Oregon State to close the first period on an 11-3 run and to close the game on a 10-3 run.
Steve Lavin last coached UCLA in 2002-3. He was fired after that season for missing the tournament. UCLA was a bubble team before this loss. Now, Thuc Nhi Nguyen points out on InsideSoCal.com:
In need of a bounce-back win, UCLA only fell deeper into its Pac-12 hole after a 69-63 loss to Oregon State in Gill Coliseum on Thursday. The Bruins now have more losses than they did all of last season and have lost back-to-back games to tumble out of first place in the conference.
Maybe our coach next year won’t be named Steve.