UCLA’s season ends with a whimper

AUSTIN, Texas — Without Jordan Adams, sixth-seeded UCLA closed out its turbulent season with a flatlined performance against No. 11-seed Minnesota.

The Bruins were the slated underdog all week long. Once the game actually began at the Frank Erwin Center, they did nothing but reaffirm that talk in a 83-63 loss. What started out as an ugly but mutually designed affair — the teams missed their first 12 combined field goal attempts — eventually turned into a Gophers rout.

Despite shooting 26.7 percent in the first half, UCLA stayed within 10 points at the intermission due to a surprisingly strong rebounding effort. The team ended up with a 42-36 edge on the glass, grabbing 19 offensive boards on 43 missed shots.

It wasn’t until Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins caught fire in the second half that the Bruins were completely sunk. The sophomore scored 23 points after halftime, and added nine rebounds to go with five assists.

Some notes from the game.

– Ben Howland’s departure feels almost imminent, although everyone predictably remained tight-lipped about the his job status. When asked whether he may have coached his final game for the Bruins, he said simply: “No comment.”

The 10th-year head coach has had a successful tenure that included three straight Final Fours, but a first-round exit wasn’t what fans expected after a top-rated recruiting class and No. 13 preseason ranking. (Not to mention the two missed tournaments in three years, multiple transfers, etc.) After the game, players either said he deserved to stay, that it was out of their control, or some combination of both.

It’s worth noting that senior point guard Larry Drew II was clear in his gratitude toward Howland. Drew had an unremarkable stint in North Carolina before a controversial midseason transfer. Going home to Los Angeles breathed new life into his career, resulting in a spot at the top of the program’s single-season assists list.

“Coach Howland giving me this opportunity when I didn’t think nobody else would, it means a lot,” Drew said. “I think I had a good season here at UCLA. A lot of fun too. Something that was missing from my game prior to me transferring here. I had fun playing the game.

“I gotta thank my teammates for that too. They made it that way for me. I have a lot of great memories. To be a part of this program really means a lot to me.”

– The Bruins thought they had adjusted to life without Jordan Adams, but looked even worse Friday night than they did in a Pac-12 title game loss to Oregon. Over 10 minutes had elapsed before any starter hit a field goal, and the team finished with 10 assists to 15 turnovers. The ratio was 8:14 against the Ducks last Saturday, but that was coming off less than 24 hours of prep after Adams broke his foot.

UCLA couldn’t deal with the shifting zone looks Minnesota threw out, and still looked lost without Adams — whom Howland called the team’s “most effective all-around player” afterward.

“We knew they were going to show zone, but we didn’t know they would be playing it the whole game,” junior forward Travis Wear said. I think our execution in zone offense really wasn’t great tonight at all. It obviously could’ve been better. We didn’t shoot the ball that well.”

Added freshman Kyle Anderson: “I think today the effort was there. It was tough to say (why we lost), but they were just better than us out there. It is sad to go down like this.”

– Larry Drew II took responsibility for allowing Andre Hollins to break loose. Drew had said Thursday that if he shut Hollins down, the rest of the Gophers would follow through.

But Hollins, a notoriously streaky shooter, ended up with 28 points — his highest total of the season after a career-high 41 against Memphis. He and guard Austin Hollins (unrelated) combined to shoot 9-of-14 from 3-point territory, leading Minnesota to a season-best 56.3 percent.

“I’d say, the majority of the reason why we lost tonight was due to my performance — or lack thereof — on the defensive end against Andre Hollins,” Drew said. “I felt like I did a good job on him in the first half. One play, he just got open in the corner, hit a three. It just seemed like he really didn’t miss after that.”

He added that he tried to get more physical with Hollins, but refs warned him to ease off. Drew also had more turnovers than assists for the first time as a Bruin, coughing the ball up five times against his three dishes.

– The quick whistles hampered UCLA’s already thin frontcourt early on. Travis Wear, David Wear and Tony Parker combined for eight fouls in the first half. Both teams finished with 19 fouls, but coach Tubby Smith used 11 different Gophers throughout the night. Only seven Bruins played.

“I thought some of (the calls) were outrageous,” said Parker, who picked up five fouls in seven minutes. “Let us bang. We’re all big men. We’re in the NCAA tournament. I just thought it was going to be a tough, grind-it-out game, and it wasn’t like that for us post players.”

Added Travis Wear: “They were calling it really tight today, and it obviously hurt us. The big men, we were all limited. But it was the way the game was called.”

– Shabazz Muhammad, who had an awful 0-for-7 start, finished with a team-high 20 points — the same as his actual age. The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that Muhammad’s father had been passing his son off as 19, but the freshman insisted he has told people he is 20.

“I don’t even know what the big deal was,” Muhammad said. “I’m just worried about playing basketball. … I don’t care about my age. I’m in college. I’m one of the youngest players in college, so what does it matter?

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  • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

    As does the posters on this blog. Boo hooooooo

    • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

      Plaschke nailed it.

      • Bru-Crew_UCLA

        Damn……..U have been loitering on this blog since 6am pst? U need a pet, a job, a spouse, not a blow up doll or something to keep U from your lonely existence.
        I don’t recall suc central getting selected to play in any post season tournament.
        Go focus your attention on your prison gang / student athletic teams at the Uni-LIE-versity of Several Convicts.

        • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

          As bad as SC is, their record in this year’s NCAA is better than UCLA’s

          Linda Is? Watching you

          • Bru-Crew_UCLA

            U R a perpetual idiot

          • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

            Bagel On!

    • maze949

      Drunken loser who hangs out on a rival’s blog ALL Friday night. And oh yeah, you’re even a racist trOJie…

      • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

        How would you know? You bRuins talk a lot about booze. Ur probably one of those Oberon again AA losers

        • maze949

          Projecting? STFU drunken loser. Go buy yourself a life.

          • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

            Your wife loves my life

        • Marc

          AA losers? Clear indication of someone who drinks a bit much and doesn’t like to be reminded of it. LOL.

          UCLA’s program is not a cheating program. In case you don’t recall, UCLA fires their coaches upon any notification of improprieties. See Jim Harrick, Bob Toledo for recent historical references. UCLA also immediately suspends players upon notification of Suspected transgressions. See Deshaun Foster and compare to usc’s handling of Reggie Bush.

          No, UCLA likes to be on the up and up and be seen as a world class Educational institution, which it is. Unlike USC which employs such tactic as fake Spanish classes (Señora Ross) and busted tutor programs.

          Sorry, but the cheating program is in South Central. Probably why you hang around here. I can’t blame you for trying to improve your surroundings, but your going about first impressions all wrong.

          • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

            Sam Gilbert

  • Mark

    The really dissappointing thing is how predictable this loss was. Of course people who follow Ucla closely could forecast the implosion, but it’s striking that people who know nothing about the team picked up on it as well.

    And it has nothing to with Adams being out. No, it starts with Howland and his poor attitude. Griping and whining about the seed and the location set the tone with this fragile team and ultimately buried them. You think Izzo, Crean, Self, Williams, or Coach would bitch about the draw? No, then come out and say, “We’ll take on anyone, anywhere. It’s the NCAA tournament and it’s our moment to shine.”

    But Howland is too small and petty for that.

    And to conclude, everything about yesterday sums up how things have gone wrong wit Howland: big-time recruit caught up in yet another scandal; Ucla suffers embarrassing loss.

    • maze949

      Why would it be “dissappointing” (UCLA “grad” and “season-ticket holder”) if it was predictable? Your idiotic ramblings don’t make sense.

      Form a cogent, coherent thought for once, and then someone might take you seriously.

      Until then, you’re the resident moron.

      • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

        Next to you. At least Mark speaks the truth about this cheating program.

        • maze949

          Oh, Blowjob…so fun to play with. You’re my little trOJan toy…every Bruin needs one to bat around. You’re entirely too easy.

      • Bru-Crew_UCLA

        Make room for joe DEEP THROAT blow too in the H.O.M. House Of Morons.

    • Bru-Crew_UCLA

      It’s just time for a “Changing of the guard” why continue to pontificate. Who do U think we have a good shot at of landing as our new coach? Who and Why?

      • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

        Billy Barty. You always come up short.

  • Swoll Francis

    Nobs/Joe Blow is giving the Bruins a well-deserved taste of their own obnoxious trolling medicine…

    Nobs, you need to RANDOMLY type more WORDS in ALL CAPS to fully show these guys what SC fans put up with from the Bruin trolls on Wolf’s blog.

    • Bru-Crew_UCLA

      CAPS are for affect. I guess EVERYTHING needs to be presented on a 2nd grade level for suc clowns like U. If DEEP THROAT had some substance to add and if he was not such an insidious racist, he would be welcome. So since he represent the underbelly of society we’d prefer he stay away from those of us who aren’t homophobic and are not racist.

      • Swoll Francis

        *effect

        • Bru-Crew_UCLA

          No Idiot…….affect

          • Swoll Francis

            There are a couple of relatively obscure ways to use “affect” as a noun, but it looks to me like you were trying to say that trolls use capital letters for their effect on the reader, and that is “effect” with an E.

    • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

      SUGARY SWEEEET, SF!

  • Marc

    Jack – were you at the game?

    What are your thoughts as to the team’s energy level? It looked to me on TV that they were out hustled for the most part.

    Also, it appeared to me that Ben Howland couldn’t identify the immediate issue with fouls to his front court and didn’t want to zone up to protect them a little. Did anyone ask him about that during the post game conference?

  • Mark

    I think Brad Stevens and Mark Few are equals in desirability. They would bring disciplined, respectable 4-year players to Westwood. However, they are very comfortable where they are and L.A. just may not be a good fit for them personally.

    Shaka Smart would take the job. He worries me due to the style of play. It mig attract too many spotlight seekers and one-and-done types. That being said, Roy Williams is the closest in terms of style of play and philosophy, and it’s worked out for him.

    Still like Tony Bennett at Virginia. He knows the PAC-10 and I think he could live. Up his style of play given the players he could get to Ucla.

    And at this point, the guy coaching Florida Gulf Coast is worth considering!

    • Bru-Crew_UCLA

      I don’t think we should get suckered into this Florida Gulf Coast stuff…. UCLA Admissions would probably pulverize all those guys playing there. We have to get guys would can qualify in the class room before the see 1 minute on the court. We have talent, we need to maximize it.

      Did Roy Williams get fired or did he leave NC? I see Shaka Smart as the desired guy

      • Mark

        The Williams reference is in regards to the style of play–up tempo, 90 points a game. And he also goes after super blue choppers. That’s what smart would be most similar to.

        The Gulf Coast guy is intriguing. He’s a self made millionaire and businessman.

        • Bru-Crew_UCLA

          He made be good for that area of the country I’m not sold on him for UCLA. Roy Williams is a classy guy. I think Shaka Smart would be a great fit

      • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

        OH PLEASE! Most of the players on the team are dumb as a rock. Cheat On! Maybe you can sign Kobe, he says he’s only 19.

  • postmove

    Shabazz says he’s one of the youngest players in college. Let’s see, when I started college, I was about to turn 18, so I’d say most True college freshmen are 18, maybe 19.

    • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

      No, 20. Most that go to fucla have to repeat at least one grade.

      • Marc

        Silly, non sensical comments such as those only make you appear to be even more of an uneducated drunkard than perhaps you are.

        • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

          Unlike your ignorant posts

  • Mark

    Let’s add Josh Pastner of Memphis to the list.

  • postmove

    If these 4 freshmen actually stayed for a couple more years, they might be a force to be reckoned with. But to get that kind of commitment, the head coach needs to recruit players who will be loyal to the program and coach. Why can’t Howland keep anybody for more than 2-3 years?

    • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

      For most of them, it’s millions of dollars.

      • Bruwins

        Yup, NCAA can only insure them for $1 million versus $3 million sitting on the bench as NBA roster at 19 years old. In any case, it would take most of the population 40 years plus working 40 hrs a week average to make that kind of money.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          Why would anyone refuse what is essentially a winning lottery ticket?

  • Mark

    Shazam is an embarrassment to Ucla. Please leave as soon as possible. You’re no longer welcome.

    As for you, Anderson, if you want to stay, find a good barber and learn how to shave. You look like an idiot.

  • Marc

    Anyone else notice how Murshed Zaheed and his minglings are acting? The self importance is humorous. I went to see what they were saying and wow!

    Someone mentions a “coaching candidate” that Murshed disagreed with. A “NO” was all that was given. LOLzzzzzz

    I understand the desire for Self or Smart, perhaps Stevens or Few. I think Stevens and Few are not leaving their small ponds. Smart and Self, perhaps. But, is Self thinking of leaving Kansas? I mean, that’s a pretty high level job there.

    But, I would like to see UCLA interview Donny Daniels. Onetime head coach of CSUF. Onetime assistant coach to Ben Howland at UCLA (the final four years) and current assistant coach at Gonzaga. I believe he is good, real good. Though, I’d love to see Murshed’s self important answer to that. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  • Marc

    OT – watching Oregon/St Louis.

    That St Louis player Ellis. Bigger flopper than Vlade Divak. It’s egregious.