It was one of those days, and it started early.
An awkward 3-point attempt by Nikola Dragovic on the first possession.
Two missed free throws by Reeves Nelson.
A six-point deficit turning into a 10-point deficit, then 11, 12, 13…
By the time UCLA head coach Ben Howland called his fourth timeout with 5 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first half of the Bruins’ ESPN Gameday matchup with Washington on Saturday night, the Bruins were down 20.
By the time the timeout was over, it’s a surprise UCLA wasn’t down 200.
And too bad the refs couldn’t call the fight, as the Huskies continued to put on a show in front of the nationally television audience and buried the Bruins 97-68 at Bank of America Arena, UCLA’s worst loss of the Howland era and worst loss ever at Washington.
“The lights were bright tonight and they just came out with a level of intensity that was a lot bigger than our own,” said UCLA freshman forward Reeves Nelson, who led the Bruins with 14 points. “It was senior night, and (Washington forward Quincy Pondexter) just made a lot of plays. He’s a great player and he put on a show tonight, especially in the first half.”
UCLA can’t stop Quincy Pondexter.
UCLA can’t stop Isaiah Thomas.
UCLA can’t stop themselves…from taking bad shots.
The Bruins are down 49-26 at the half in Seattle as Pondexter and Thomas have gone off for 14 and 13 first-half points, respectively.
In other words, one more point than UCLA, which is shooting 11-for-30 from the field and 1-for-8 on 3-pointers.
With Mike Roll and Nikola Dragovic combining for a 2-12 half, the Bruins just can’t get it started.
Perhaps the one bit of bright news on Thursday to come from the word that UCLA senior James Keefe would have season-ending shoulder surgery next week: The Bruins seem to have found his replacement rather quickly.
Sophomore center J’mison Morgan saw his most extensive playing time of the season in UCLA’s 71-51 win over Washington State on Thursday, and he delivered a miniature triple-triple with three blocks, three assists and three rebounds.
Morgan, who missed seven Pac-10 games with a partially torn quadriceps muscle, saw his minutes drastically reduced in conference play, when he had just 15 going into Thursday’s game. Continue reading →
Ben Howland: “Reeves Nelson’s eye is swollen. Medically he’s cleared to go for tomorrow’s game. We’ll continue to try to reduce the swelling with ice. He looks like Rocky Balboa, but he should be fine.”
Howland later added that he expected to play Nelson his normal minutes, around 25-30. Nelson was a big factor in UCLA’s win over Washington on Jan. 21 with 16 points on 6-11 shooting and six boards.