The UCLA Bruins downed the Washington Huskies tonight by the score of 67-57. Like every other college basketball game played this year, it was made up of two halves but, in reality, there were three distinct mini-games played as a part of those two halves.
The first mini-game consisted of the first fifteen and a half minutes or so when the teams battled back and forth. At the under fifteen minutes timeout, The Huskies had a one-point lead over the Bruins, 11-10. At the next timeout with 11:15 left in the first half, the score was tied 17-17. UCLA took a three-point lead after that timeout when Jake Kyman nailed a three and a Tyger Campbell jumper put the Bruins up by five, 22-17. At the under eight timeout, UCLA held on to a 23-20 lead.
With just under five minutes to go, Jamal Bey tied the game at 25-25 to end the first mini-game. In the second mini-game which consisted of the final four and a half minutes of the first half and the first minute and a half of the second half, Washington built a double-digit lead. The Huskies closed out the first half on a 9-2 run and the teams went into the locker room with Washington ahead, 34-27.
The Huskies also scored the first five points of the second half and they had a 12-point lead, 39-27, when Coach Cronin called a timeout with 18:25 left in the game. That timeout marked the start of the third mini-game.
Chris Smith came out of that timeout and hit a three to begin an 9-2 UCLA run that closed the gap to just five points, 41-36, and leading Washington coach Mike Hopkins to call a timeout with 14:39 to go. But Cody Riley cut the deficit to just three points with a pair of free throws.
Then, the Pac-12 officials made an absolutely horrible call when they blew the whistle for the Bruins’ second flop of the game, which resulted in a free throw for the Huskies. Now, this could have been a momentum swinger for the Huskies, especially since the replay showed that it wasn’t a flop at all, but the Bruins maintained their composure and didn’t allow it to affect them.
With twelve to go, the Huskies still had a five-point lead, 45-40. Just under four minutes later, Smith hit a jumper to tie the game up at 49-49. The Huskies re-took the lead 51-49 on a bucket by Isaiah Stewart, but a layup by Riley and a trey by Smith put the Bruins in front for good, 53-51, as UCLA just kept increasing their lead and soon led 58-51 with 4:39 left.
In the time remaining, the Bruins pulled away and closed it out with a ten-point win, 67-57.
Smith was the player of the game for the Bruins. Not only did he put up 20 points offensively, he also grabbed seven defensive rebounds and led UCLA in both categories. Meanwhile, Riley came off the bench to score 15 points. He also had seven rebounds but those were split between offensive and defensive ones.
Ultimately, tonight’s win was a combination of both solid defense and good offense. UCLA only allowed 23 points in the second half while they were able to score 40 points over the same time frame.