UCLA shows its quacks, falls to Oregon 76-59

There were no huge blowups, but then an outward display of emotion would have required premium effort.

Ben Howland did not race onto the floor in utter disgust. Reeves Nelson did not throw a chair into the Staples Center crowd. Tyler Honeycutt barely even shrugged.

No, seventh-seeded Oregon’s 76-59 win over No.2-seed UCLA in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament featured little hysterics.

Aside from a running, bank 3-pointer by Oregon’s Garrett Sim to beat the first-half buzzer, there was little out of the ordinary.

The better team won.

The only thing surprising?

The better team on Thursday night was the 16-16 Ducks, 0-4 to close the regular season, and not the Bruins, who entered the game on a 13-3 streak.

“Bottom line, it starts right here,” Howland said. “Obviously we did not do a good job of getting our team focused – I did not – focused and understanding. I’m really disappointed in that because we had a lot of opportunity here to help ourselves.”

Focus? With five minutes, 22 seconds left, UCLA was called for a technical foul for having six players on the court, and this after a timeout. Oregon’s E.J. Singler stepped up, hit two free throws as part of a game-high 24-point effort, and the Bruins were called for a shot-clock violation on the ensuing possession.

Understanding? The Ducks back-cut UCLA all game long, flustered the Bruins with their zone defense and denied the post.

By the time Nelson was called for a technical foul for arguing with the referees with 5 minutes, 39 seconds left, the Bruins were out of the game, both emotionally and quite literally.
The Ducks were ahead 64-48, Singler’s two free throws put them up 18, and UCLA slogged to its worst Pac-10 Tournament loss in team history.

“It just started from warm-ups,” said UCLA sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt, who led the Bruins with 19 points. “Guys weren’t taking game shots, weren’t really being focused. Really, they just outplayed us. They were more prepared than we were. They had the mentality that they didn’t have anything to lose. We came in here with a “too cool” attitude.”

The Bruins were cool alright, practically in Dolce & Gabana sunglasses and Armani suits, maybe even cold.

Ice cold.

UCLA shot six-for-24 in the first half, unable to get the ball inside to the typically terrific twosome of Nelson and Joshua Smith. Nelson, who was held scoreless at Oregon, went zero-for-three in the first half for zero points, finishing with just seven. Smith had five points in the half on one-for-four shooting and three-of-four free throws, then missed his only two shots of the second half.

Meanwhile, with their guards slicing and dicing into the post, the Ducks owned a 36-22 points-in-the-paint advantage.

“Us as guards, we could’ve stepped up more,” said UCLA junior point guard Lazeric Jones. “They were really doubling our bigs, and we have some really dominant bigs. When they take them out of the game, we have to have others step up.”

Against the ultra-quick Ducks, though, UCLA couldn’t get a first step, or a second. The Bruins were stuck in quicksand.

Jones shot three-for-11 from the field and had three turnovers, junior guard Jerime Anderson went three-for-seven, but one-for-six from the foul line, and junior guard Malcolm Lee, playing on a small cartilage tear in his left knee, went two-for-three in 28 minutes.

With the guards ineffective and the Ducks denying the post, UCLA could get no closer than 10 in the second half.

Even after the Bruins showed the briefest glimpse of life early in the second half, Oregon responded just as quick, taking an 11-point lead with 16:54 to go and stretching it to 22 points less than eight minutes later.

“Whenever we did make a good run, they’d make a shot,” Jones said. That’s discouraging, when you’re making those runs and they get a foul or they make a tough shot. That makes it really tough when you’re trying to fight back. We have to still be mentally tough.”
There’s not too much time left.

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  • Marc

    What a major disappointment.

    These young men need to understand that you have to bring solid effort every minute of every game. They were lifeless tonight. Much falls on the shoulders of coach Howland. He needs to institute some tactics to ensure accountabilty. I don’t see it if he is, at least not successfully. He also needs to get his players to learn how to attack a zone defense. They look confused every time.

    The players need to get mad. They need to feel anger. It seems to me that as a group, they are too dismissive after efforts like what we saw tonight. That does not come from the coach; that comes from the men on the floor.

    I am extremely disappointed.

  • 1987Bruin

    Silver lining in this game: much needed rest for our ailing players before the Big Dance.

    Go Bruins!

  • BruinFaithful

    I don’t even know what to say. I’m almost speechless. Did that just happen? It’s like a bad dream.

    Believe me, there is NO silver lining. Losing never has one.

    The last time we lost in the first round was 2007, and we went to the Final Four, and that will be the only resemblance this team has to that team. We seemed uninterested in the game. As if, we had better things to do or somewhere better to be. It didn’t even look like a game, more like a walk through.

    We had a shot to be a 4-5 seed. We will now almost surely be a 9 seed. There is no silver lining in that.

    We now have more time to rest? That is exactly the type of loser mentality we exhibited with our play tonight.

  • BruinPain

    I would have to agree that there is no silver lining to this loss. Any chance to move beyond an 8 or 9 seed in the tournament has just been flushed down the drain.

  • doug4ucla

    A loss is a loss………but ZERO emotion….very painful to watch….seems to become a MASH unit on the floor, get some rest boys you are going to need it.

  • BigTimeBruin

    Disgraceful, all around. Compared to the Arizona game, this was 180 degrees in the opposite direction. This is the team that I expected, the one we have been seeing most of the season. Starting incredibly slow, and waiting to be down 10+ before waking up. But this time, they never woke up. I don’t understand how they can’t get up for every game…is it really that hard to get fired up to play at UCLA? They are too self-satisfied (one example, their near obsession with ink and haircuts – -I really like the comaraderie if it’s true that they cut each others’ mohawks, but unless it carries over into play, it’s nothing more than playing with Tonka trucks together). They are not hungry or determined most of the time. I actually hope TH and (less so – -he tries more now, but not enough leadership to get the team to follow) ML put in for the draft and then don’t get drafted – it would be a fitting end to their dismal effort at UCLA. No degree, no banner, no NBA.

  • UCLA Dynasty

    Yep, this definitely puts us in the 8/9 seed, a total toss up game followed by the one seed. Of course after such a heartless display, I wouldn’t be surprised if the committee made us play in one of the play-in games just to see if we got the stones/heart to be in the Tourney.

  • Depressed Bruin Fan

    I keep hearing that UCLA is a bunch of cut ups, class clowns, practical jokesters. Marques Johnson commented on it again last night during the telecast that they were goofing around during warm ups and Tyler Honeycutt admitted it in his comments that they were not even taking good shots. How can this be from a Ben Howland team? No one is more serious than the coach yet he allows this to happen? And I would think a serious player like Malcolm Lee, who has stepped up time and time again this season on the court, would say something to his teammates? I agree, it is Lavinesque when you just don’t know what team is going to show up. Hopefully they can learn from it and learn quickly.

  • Depressed Bruin Fan

    I keep hearing that UCLA is a bunch of cut ups, class clowns, practical jokesters. Marques Johnson commented on it again last night during the telecast that they were goofing around during warm ups and Tyler Honeycutt admitted it in his comments that they were not even taking good shots. How can this be from a Ben Howland team? No one is more serious than the coach yet he allows this to happen? And I would think a serious player like Malcolm Lee, who has stepped up time and time again this season on the court, would say something to his teammates? I agree, it is Lavinesque when you just don’t know what team is going to show up. Hopefully they can learn from it and learn quickly.

  • Anonymous

    They were just sandbagging, they were just sandbagging……I am in denial.

  • Anonymous

    Two words, “NO LEADERSHIP”

  • nick

    Joe Lunardi has UCLA as a 7 seed in the Southwest even after that pathetic loss. http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/bracketology

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    What a truly disappointing performance. It appears the Bruins thought that since they were the #2 seed that they could just show up and Oregon would roll over. Guys not taking game shots and getting mentally ready during warmups? Absolutely inexcusable. I am embarrassed for the program, CBH, players, and fans that the team showed up as unfocused and unready to play as it did. I thought this team had matured significantly since the beginning of the season, but it is obvious they still have quite a ways to go. Hopefully this was a painful lesson learned well.