The Early Words: UCLA falls to Stanford, 70-59

By Jon Gold
Staff Writer

Just as the UCLA men’s basketball team appears to be climbing over the mountain this season, the pole slips, the compass goes haywire and the goggles fog up.

The chugging Bruins again sputtered out on Saturday at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion, parlaying a last-minute, buzzer-beating win at Cal on Wednesday into a 70-59 loss to the Cardinal in front of 6,946.

Just as they have appeared to be turning the corner this season, the Bruins have found a way to shoot themselves in the foot.

A bigger surprise: They didn’t drop the gun.

The Bruins committed 23 turnovers in a frenzied flurry of bad handles and worse passing, Stanford willing to just wait and let UCLA gaffe its way into the loss column.
After a James Keefe 3-pointer brought the Bruins to within one at 51-50 with 9 minutes, 16 seconds remaining, UCLA proceeded to give the ball away four times in its next seven possessions.

“At the end of the day, 23 turnovers is what kills us,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “Just way too many turnovers. We’re down 51-50 and we’re on a fast break and we turn it over because we’re out of control. I don’t know how many of those 23 errors are forced, but I’d say a lot of them are our mistakes.”

When the Bruins weren’t killing themselves, it was Jeremy Green’s turn.

Stanford’s sophomore shooting guard – who missed one game against the Bruins last year and went scoreless in the other – had 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting and hit 5-of-8 3-pointers. His biggest shot: an off-balance, one-legged desperation 3-point heave on the right wing that banked in as the first half expired, putting Stanford up 34-33.

UCLA seemed to be a step below Green on screens, and even when the Bruins were up in his face, he shot over them. Providing an outside threat to star forward Landry Fields’ mid-range game, Green got off to a scorching start with 17 first-half points and never cooled down.

“Shoot, he was hot,” Lee said. “Hey, Green is a terrific player. We knew his background coming in this game – as well as Fields – but he just played outstanding for them. He did have a lot of clean looks, but he also made a few well-contested shots. When a guy is going, it’s hard to stop that.”

Early in the game, UCLA kept pace by mixing up its scoring, despite a dreadful first 15 possessions.

With just more than seven minutes gone by, the Bruins were down 13-5 with seven turnovers and 2-for-8 shooting, plagued by hurried shots and poor ball movement. UCLA calmed down a bit, shooting 11-for-15 with five turnovers the rest of the way, and took its first lead with five minutes left in the first half on a jumper by senior forward Nikola Dragovic, who led the Bruins with 13 points.

In the second half, though, there was no righting the sinking ship.

“Late in the game we’re just down and trying to make things happen and it seemed like everybody was on attack mode,” said Roll, who added 12 points but had five turnovers. “We had the ball down one and that’s just where the turnovers took over. We had a bunch down late on the stretch and they capitalized and made big shots, scored every time it seemed like. We just dug ourselves a hole.”

In a way, the game was a reflection of the season: A poor start followed by a little run, a chance to break out of a funk and then disappointment.

“This loss is disappointing because it was a winnable game,” said freshman forward Reeves Nelson, who had eight points and five rebounds – but four turnovers – before fouling out. “We were the better team. But it’s really tough to win on the road – I’ve already found that out in just a few games – and that one guy just couldn’t miss. He didn’t miss.”

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  • Anonymous

    Another disappointing Bruin basketball game. Any football news with the recruiting weekend to cheer us up, Jon?

  • BDB

    No offense, but how about some FB updates? Alot of recruits in. suc melting down. Give us what we want!

  • anon

    Memo to Reeves Nelson, a better team won’t turn the ball over for 23 times in a game.

  • Blanche

    23 turnovers? What a joke. Stanford isn’t that good either. Very sad.

  • MaltBaa

    Whatever happened to wade yandall?

  • Boston Bruin

    23 turnovers is bad enough, but the diffence in the game was Free Throws, not percentage, but number.

    Both teams had 6 3-pointers, and Stanford had only one more field goal. The killer was that UCLA send Stanford to the line 23 times(!) compared to their own ten. While the Bruins shot 70% to 60%, you do the math.

    These kids have to realize they’re not in a play ground where “no blood, no foul” is the way of the game.

    Unfortunately, another ‘fundamental’ sorely lacking from these young players.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone want to talk Football, Recruiting, suc spiraling down out of control, etc…..

  • scott


    Any update on this Chow to Hawk OC rumor? I couldn’t imagine Chow going to Southern Cal with dooming sanctions pending–how do you see this all shaking out? Thanks.

  • uscfd

    Lost ANOTHER basketball game.

    Time to take shots at USC to try and feel better about ourselves.

  • Mikael
  • Anonymous

    Of all times and weekends for you jon to leave us with no info and know recruiting news is not only irresponsable but neglegent. Scott wolf has written all day from almost 7 this morning. I hope your working on something big for us.

  • Anonymous

    Gold must be on vacation…or gone fishing…or something. It’s not like this is a big weekend for UCLA sports or anything like that. It’s not as if we had a bunch of big time recruits in this weekend or Pete Carroll is on the brink of leaving suc or that suc is about to be hit with major NCAA sanctions & probation and is on the verge of a total meltdown. Nothing like that at all. What a shame I keep coming here all day long and end having to go somewhere else for information. Where is at least Jill P. when Jon is not available? Maybe Gold can buy Wolf lunch to post here when he and Jill can’t? Daily News – welcome to the 24/7 Digital World! And you just FAILED!

  • doug4ucla

    UCLA was slower than Stanford from start to finish 9 SPEED: “if you don’t have it your chasing IT”)…….They had more TURNOVER than Pepperidge Farm

  • RobD

    I think we were spoiled with Dohn as he lived and breathed UCLA. I know that Gold is doing his best, but he has the unfortunate task of filling Brian Dohn’s rather large shoes. Lets cut the guy some slack here. If there were any news (Like an OL commit), I am sure Jon would post it.

  • samohopar

    Yandell has committed.

  • Anonymous

    Periods of Slow News = Slow News Reporting. Once in a Decade News = Once in a Decade Reporting.

  • Anonymous

    I respect Jons effort in the past but to not be a fly on the wall in UCLA’s recruiting war room is about to make me sick. The thing about Dohn is he kept you in the know about almost everything in that room and didn’t leave wouldn’t leave us on a weekend like this!

  • Sid

    Really though…if you want to read about USC and their issues…go to the USC Blog.

    Dozens of other outlets have all the coverage of the USC coaching issues you could ask for, go there, this blog is for UCLA news.

  • Anonymous

    As a faithful Bruin, I’ve grown to count on this and other sites for info on my passion which is UCLA sports. This has been by far the most influential weekend to date in my years of being a Bruin fan. For those who wish to go elsewhere for news there have been posts on this site by others stating they purposely spread rumors on other boards for their own satisfaction. I demand that this board which I hold to higher standards than all the others be informative with timely info.

  • Anonymous

    To Sid…
    If you were a real bruin fan then you would want to know how what happened at USC is going to benefit us far as recruting goes. Bruin fans want know what’s going on with our coaching staff we want to know what there game plan is for all the possible new recruits that could come available! Now you tell me what USC site is gonna tell you that!!!!

  • Sid

    Man, you guys need to chill out. You are taking this all way too seriously. Want to know the answers to your questions? here, i’ll answer them for you.

    1. How has what happened at USC going to benefit UCLA recruiting? Nobody knows yet. USC could hire an amazing coach to replace Carroll and not lose a single recruit, or they could all jump ship and decide UCLA is the greatest school in the world and come here. Nobody knows yet and nobody will know until this whole thing plays out.

    2. What is the coaching staff doing? Probably trying to convince all of USC’s recruits to come here instead, which they’ve probably been doing anyway even before Carroll left.

    I guess you all just want Jon to call every single recruit, every single high school coach, every parent and “source close to the situation” and pull some Jack Bauer-style interrogation tactics to get them all to confess how Pete Carroll betrayed them and how they can’t wait to be a Bruin.

    This isn’t TMZ, this isn’t investigative journalism or a gossip column. If there’s a legitimate story out there about how this affects UCLA, I’m sure Jon will come across it and write about it.

    *end rant*