UCLA picks up great win over ASU, 73-72 in overtime

UCLA head coach Ben Howland called it a great win, and his players followed suit, everything hunky-dory in the Bruins’ locker room.

This, after UCLA needed overtime to defeat a downtrodden Arizona State squad, just 1-8 in Pac-10 play, after holding a 15-point lead.

Great sure means something different for these Bruins.

UCLA eked out the 73-72 overtime win on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena, moving to 6-3 in Pac-10 games, despite letting the Sun Devils catch fire in the second half.

“Absolutely it’s a great win,” Howland said. “Absolutely. 100 percent. Every win is great. Every win is hard-fought. Every win you get in the Pac-10 is a great win, trust me.”

UCLA opened with a small lineup to counter Arizona State’s, and it paid off early and it paid off late.

The three-guard unit of point guards Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson and shooting guard Malcolm Lee helped the Bruins to a 13-point halftime lead as they were able to frustrate the Sun Devils.

But the Bruin backcourt blossomed once more in overtime, the three junior guards each hitting 3-pointers that kept Arizona State at bay.

“Coming out of regulation, we just said it’s a new game,” Jones said. “Let everything go that happened in the first two halves, come out and play hard. Try to come in and play like it’s the first half of the game.”

Jones’ 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring gave UCLA a 64-61 lead to open the overtime period, providing the cushion that the Bruins would need. Coming off a season-worst 0-for-7 performance in UCLA’s 85-74 loss at Arizona on Thursday night, Jones was clutch throughout the game for the Bruins, atoning for four turnovers with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.

“Really I was just trying to come out and play my game today,” Jones said. “I felt like last game, I was a little sped up. I didn’t play my game, the game the coaching staff knows I can play. I wanted to come out calm and relaxed.”

And that’s how UCLA came out of the game to open the game, committing 10 turnovers in just over 10 minutes.

If the Sun Devils could have even hit their easiest attempts, perhaps the Bruins would not have had such a big lead to cough up.

UCLA held Arizona State to 20 percent shooting in the first half, the Sun Devils making just six-of-30 shots and zero-of-5 3-pointers, in their worst scoring half of the season. With leading scorer Ty Abbott on the bench for most of the first half with three fouls, the Sun Devils broke down on the perimeter, failing to hit from behind the arc in a half for the first time this season.

Arizona State kept that game within reach, though, finally making a big push with just more than eight minutes left and the Bruins up 10. The Sun Devils shot 57.1 percent, making six-of-seven 3-point attempts, while holding the Bruins to 0-8 from behind the arc in the second half.

“We’re not going to hold a team like that to 20 percent for the whole game,” Howland said. “They did a much better job, got some open looks in the second half, ended up shooting 57 percent. … They really hurt us in transition, and part of it is we probably got a little tired.”

Howland stuck with the small lineup late, keeping freshman center Joshua Smith on the bench for the duration of overtime. Sophomore forwards Reeves Nelson (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Tyler Honeycutt (12 points, 10 boards) manned the post for the Bruins, who led the rebounding battle by 10 at one point, but finished with just a 42-38 margin.

It did not help Smith’s cause that after he got caught complaining to the referees after a no-call on the offensive end, McMillan got a quick 3-pointer for Arizona State, cutting the UCLA lead to 49-44.

“I just felt like the guys who were in there were better for us defensively,” Howland said. “He thought he got fouled on that one play, and he’s not hustling back and they hit a three because we’re playing five-on-four. That just can’t happen.”

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  • Bruin Zealot

    Great? Really? up by 15 and can’t put these guys away. Pathetic. This team needs to get it together. Don’t care how young you are, its all about discipline and taking care of the ball. ugh

  • Anonymous

    What a “great” win…what a joke..Jon, can you ask on behalf of the fans, why is this team so gutless and stupid? What’s going on in Howland’s life that he seems to have completely lost his ability to teach defense and fundamentals? Please dig into this for us!

  • Anonymous

    Can comments be turned off for some posts? Maybe instead of complaining on the internet about winning a game, we should all pull a blanket over our head and just sob.


    Jon, Imagine if we would have lost.The crap people would have been posting.Wait did we win or lose!SMH.

  • Brock

    i would consider it a good win. Obviously momentum swung asu’s way during the end of the 2nd half. ucla overcame it and pulled out the W. Than again, most ucla fans on here are delirious.

  • ReelBruin2

    John – what about that win was great? We should be able to beat that team by a mile. I think it was a terrible W. A W sure, but terrible none-the-less.

  • BruinPain

    Jon, two things. A W is a W. Secondly, these negative postings are starting to get to me. I could understand if people posted constructive criticism but this vitriol should be saved for a Glenn Beck rally!

  • BruinPain

    Jon, two things. A W is a W. Secondly, these negative postings are starting to get to me. I could understand if people posted constructive criticism but this vitriol should be saved for a Glenn Beck rally!

  • Anonymous

    I’m no fan of Beck, but your swipe was at all conservatives, wasn’t it?

    Undoubtedly, you prefer memorials turned into pep rallies for allegedly former Muslims with no birth certificates, don’t you?

  • Whistlin’ By the Graveyard

    Great wins come against a 1-8 conference record team???

    Howland should be removed, if not just due to his unmitigated mindless comments that prop-up these under-performing self-deluding players.

  • 1987Bruin

    Hi Jon,

    Can we disable the comment section please?

    Thank you for your reporting.


    Jon, 1987bruin is right.Turn the comments off until after NSD (I’m talking weeks after) just turn them on for Q&A.Do it for the kids JON!This negativity is not helping anything.Just post DG’s email so people can take it there!Don’t get me wrong.I have never been more frustrated as a Bruin as I am today but after Expressing my frustrations on this blog the other day someone made me realize that although they feel my pain this was not the place.Now that I have DG’s email I email him all the time.I’m sure he doesn’t read them or care but at least I know I’m going to the right place.LETS GO BRUINS!

  • spedjones

    a “great” story on a “great” win over a “great” PAC 10 team, yet NOTHING on the search for a DC on the football side… hooray!

  • Anonymous

    Sweet mercy BruinBeatch! Learn to put TWO spaces after every sentence! Your posts read like blathering drivel. (I sincerely hope you didn’t graduate from ucla)

  • clyde

    We have a really good DC,but some of you “experts”ill find fault with the selection.I am betting that the new staff and the returning players will be successful next season.You’ll need to find something else to complain about in your dreary life.

  • Bruin Zealot

    Do what I do when I don’t feel like reading negative comments, don’t read the comment section. Yeah, I get carried away at times, but giving up a 15 point lead to a 1-8 team not worthy of criticism? I look at our team and see a lot of talent, but lack the focus to be a great team. A win is a win, but we could have easily lost this game.

  • Please, if you do not know anything about basketball, stop posting.

    We have a team made up of 6 players. In the Pac-10, you have to have some very good players to win with 6 guys. Don’t count the three last off the bench.

    ASU had a full bench of players and you don’t have to be an ace to wear out a six man team.

    Every game we have lost in the end of the 2nd half, or in overtime, is a loss do to exhaustion.

    Give the team a break, they won.

    With any luck, next year’s team will not wilt, and we will have a better conditioned group of players by the end of the game.

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    For the haters masquerading as Bruin fans, you lack perspective. Regardless of whether it was by 30 points or 1 point, the most important thing is that the Bruins won. It was gut check time when it went to overtime, as we could have easily folded, but instead we pulled it out to come away with a valuable win on the road. For the haters, if you’ve never played competitive sports, you probably have no idea how difficult it can be to win on the road no matter the record of your opponent. Basketball is an emotional game that is often dictated by runs, and if the home team hits a couple shots in a row all of a sudden they gain confidence, the crowd picks up, and momentum starts to shift. Sure we could have closed it out better, and I question some strategic moves (such as not putting Smith back in the ball game particularly when lining up for the free throw after we had already been burned once by an ASU offensive rebound), but the team showed some fortitude by hanging on for the win. It’s wins like these that build character and will help to instill confidence in this still young (but maturing) group of kids.

  • Bob

    Only a loser would think that was a great win. Coach Wooden would see that as a train wreck. Bill Walton would be ashamed.


    @AnonymASS 9:22pm- Really your bitching about space’s? There < i'll give you three you douche! SMH. What don't you people bitch about? I hope YOU didn't go to UCLA!

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    Isn’t it great that people think they can speak on behalf of the late, great Coach Wooden and comment on our team? Or on behalf of Bill Walton? Such arrogance and ignorance rolled into one.