Well, it happened. UCLA lost 73-61 to Washington State, the Bruins’ first loss in Pullman since February 1993. Six of the 15 players who received minutes in the game weren’t even born then. The Cougars broke a nine-game losing streak despite not having its No. 2 and 3 starters — guards Mike Ladd (thumb knee) and DaVonte Lacy (knee) — who combine for over 20 points and nearly nine rebounds.

The Bruins were crushed on the boards 46-23, their worst deficit of the season after a 20-board margin at Arizona State. But UCLA has been a poor rebounding team all season, something it made up for by taking good care of the ball. That didn’t happen at Beasley Coliseum, where the Bruins — the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio — coughed to ball up 12 times against their 10 assists. WSU, which had 17 turnovers of its own, successfully bogged the game down and scored 44 points in the paint.

Brock Motum led the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds, taking advantage of UCLA’s David Wear frequently for easy layups. The Bruins, who only got as close as six, were led by Jordan Adams’ 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Star Shabazz Muhammad played poor defense and freely launched 3-point misses, missing making 2 of 11 from beyond the arc. He shot 4 of 19 overall, his worst showing of the season.

UCLA could still win a share of the Pac-12, but needs Oregon to lose at least once as the Ducks prepare to visit Colorado and Utah.

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  • Hogsman

    Completely humiliating and embarrassing failure – no positives at all. They don’t deserve a share of the conference title after that face plant tonight.

  • This reminds me of the Steve Lavin days.

    • Lavin’s teams had big wins.

      This year’s team has bad losses.

      This is worse.

  • Marc

    Absolutely inexcusable. I would use a whole bunch of expletives to describe this game and the outcome, but I am an adult and this is an open forum.

    This is why so many UCLA fans are fed up with Ben Howland. How do you not have this team motivated at this point in the season? How do you not have a game plan for Brock Motum? How did Parker not get any minutes in the first half when you could see that something was needed down low? How do you continue to allow the team to jack up jumpers instead of trying to reach the hoop when the jumpers aren’t falling and you aren’t getting any rebounds?

    I had high hopes for a solid finish that could have made for a good season. What the %#** happened?!?!

  • Mark

    I told you not to get excited by this team.

    • drakejr

      and we told you to stop being an idiot troll. I guess some folks never learn.

  • Mark

    Come on Howland defenders! Let’s hear from you. If you want Howland around, this is what you get.

    Let’s all unite–a loss at UW is a given, upset in the PAC 12 tourney, bounceded out of NCAA–and we can finally welcome a new coach!

    • JLE3

      And who exactly would replace him? I’m all up for replacing Howland, but to be honest theres not that many coaches out there available.

      • drakejr

        Whatever he says, don’t be surprised if he moves the goalposts. His ilk was complaining a year ago that UCLA wasn’t recruiting enough elite players. Now they say UCLA is too busy attracting one and dones.

      • Marc

        Worrying about who will replace the person in charge of a disaster is in no way reason to not remove the person in charge of the disaster.

        • samollie

          Totally disagree with you Marc. There must be a replacement secured before a change is made. We can’t be left scrambling to fill an opening and possibly forced to settle.

          • Marc

            Holding pattern? I’m sorry, but that is not how it works in the real world.

            Now, the AD should have an exploratory list of candidates and I would hope there would’ve been some closed door “temperature gauges” done with the candidates so as not to be completely blind going into an offseason with a recently fired head coach, but, there is no way in this world that a replacement is named immediately after Howland is fired. That simply is not how it works, and wishing that to be is naive. I’m sorry, but that is reality. There will be a short period of time where there will be no head coach. A competent AD will have done some back work and will negotiate with real terms, therefore getting the job filled in a fairly quick manner, and the search hopefully does not drag out for weeks as the AD hasn’t done his homework.

            I’m not sure I understand the logic; is it to hold on to Howland? I am not an unreasonable guy who is hell bent, but you do NOT suffer losses like last night this late in the season.

            Tony F’n Parker played zero minutes in the first half and two whole minutes for the game. You don’t think his big body could’ve at least clogged up that middle a little as WSU was getting layup after layup? The team switched to a zone defense in the last half of the first half allowing UCLA to pull within eleven points. Then they go right back to man to man and give up layup after layup again through the end of the game.

            I’m sorry, but for the things that I like about Howland, these things absolutely kill any fond feelings for the guy.

          • samollie

            I never said holding pattern, did I? My comment remains true in “the real world”. You must always have a contingency plan when making these decisions, as you state in your reply. My comment was in response to your original statement which did not offer your solution.

          • Marc

            Well, to be fair, your post was very short and I viewed it as saying that a replacement must be in place before Howland can be let go. I apologize for misconstruing your message.

          • Anony_mouse

            I completely agree with you as what a competent AD should do. Unfortunately, Dan Guerrero did not seem to have done his homework during the last two football head coach hires. Only his first football head coach hire did Guerrero seem to be prepared for the search process.

          • Mark

            Howland is so awful that a talking goat would be better. Use some common sense–there are plenty of people out there. Defending Howland at this point is like defending Neuheisal the morning after 50-0.

      • Bruwins

        Should DG fired Ben Howland after this season, my ideal candidate would be Kareem Abdul Jabbar. After all, he’s been wanting to be a head coach for quite sometimes.

    • Bill

      I will ask it also. Who would you want to replace him? Bruin fans didn’t like Harrick (even though he won a NC in 95), didn’t like Lavin, and don’t like Howland! Phil Jackson or Larry Brown isn’t coming. In terms of Kareem, great players don’t always make great coaches. Just ask Magic!

      You want Tim Floyd? He turned down the SuC job! Mike Brown? Who would replace him?

      • FreeShabazz

        Mark has the same list of candidates that would never take the job. I will give him credit for Tony Bennett who was probably the best coach in the conference. But even he has lost his appeal not being able to match the same success with a bigger program. Which will be the same problem with all the others. Howland is a great coach bottoms line. At least admit that you wanting to fire him has nothing to do with his ability to coach. It is solely based on wins and losses. Like his ability to coach changes from game to game. Just like our losses have nothing to do with wildly inconsistent freshman like Kyle Anderson playing the best and worst games of his life back to back.

  • drakejr

    This season is marked by inconsistency The only consolation is that UCLA is just as likely to beat all of its better seeded opponents in the tourney as it is likely to lose to worse ones. Given their likely place in the brackets, this is a better than coin flip chance to advance to Sweet 16.

  • Marc


  • Damn. That was rough. But if you follow the Bruins, you are familiar with this pattern. Bummed.

  • Mark

    Anyone defending Howland at this point just doesn’t understand college basketball. He’s a terrible game manager. Wasting timeouts like he does is just foolish. His ball control offense sucks the life out of the game and makes it harder to score. For the last 5 years he’s done a miserable job recruiting for his style of play. Stop clinging to 2006-2008. Those teams won in spite of him. Howland didn’t “develop” those guys–he simply got lucky with Westbrook, Collison, Mbah-Moute et al. If he was actually a good coach the players since 2008 would have developed more.

    There are plenty of good candidates out there. Now, if you think that there’s no one available because Roy Williams or Bill Self won’t take the job, then you don’t know how this works. You have to find an up and coming young coach, and have the guts to hire from a mid-major. I think Arizona made an excellent hire with Sean Miller. The question is, can Guerrero pull something similar out of his hat?


    I saw last night’s game in person. WSU was shredding our man-to-man defense, but the Cougars didn’t seem to have a solution for the zone defense that we employed late in the first half, when we went on a 20-10 run.

    I was astounded when we didn’t utilize the zone defense AT ALL in the second half (and continued to give up rebounds and points in the paint). What was Howland thinking? Does anyone have an idea?

    • Marc

      I didn’t get to see it as I don’t have the PAC-12 network yet. A failure on the part of Larry Scott, IMO.

      I saw that Tony Parker got two minutes; zero in the first half, even though Brock Motum was tearing the Bruins up on the inside.

      In the post game news conference Ben Howland commented to the effect that he was perplexed by the loss. That is unbelievable, IMO. Out rebounded by, what, 23 rebounds? Has that not been a glaring issue all year? Reluctance to utilize zone defense, even though it appeared to help; how does he not address that?

      And, it is far too late, IMO, for him to be discussing things he wishes he had done. He talked about playing Parker more many weeks ago, yet that simply has not happened.

      Those who point to Parker’s rawness, need to realize that this team is devoid of a post presence and Tony Parker’s size alone is better than what is happening most times this year. Also, he won’t grow if not given the opportunity.

      Also, I find it real funny that all the “Howland defenders” posts get “likes” and all the “Howand must go” posts get “dislikes”. Pretty childish.

  • Mark

    Tony Parker is useless. Stop talking about him. Maybe there is potential, but Howland doesn’t know how to coach him. So when I talk about Howland developing players, Exhibit A…

  • inhonorofpooh

    “Star Shabazz Muhammad played poor defense and freely launched 3-point misses, missing 2 of 11 from beyond the arc.” Incorrect. You have an error-free post and then this jewel when writing about WSU? This blog is marked by inconsistency. It reminds me of the Gold days, with his big posts, this year’s blog has bad posts. This is worse. Now removing tongue from cheek.