Buried by 3-point barrage, UCLA misses another road sweep in loss to WSU

A few weeks ago, Steve Alford offered his thoughts on UCLA’s lackluster 3-point defense. Sure, the Bruins allow plenty of attempts, but he’ll live with those as long as: 1) those shots aren’t easy ones, and 2) the interior is locked down.

“If I had my way, I’d just as soon teams shoot 30, 35 threes against us,” the coach said then.

On Saturday night, Washington State did its best to oblige. The Cougars heaved 29 shots from downtown, the most that any Pac-12 opponent has shot against the Bruins this season. That they only made 10 made little difference; WSU steamrolled UCLA in a 73-55 victory, giving fans at Beasley Coliseum something to cheer for near the end of a brutal season.

In some ways, the result was stunning. The Cougars were arguably the worst team in the league, and had not won a game since Feb. 1. Through Pac-12 play, they were dead last in scoring average (55.1), scoring margin (-14.1) and field goal percentage (36.8).

In others, it was utterly unsurprising. UCLA showed little fortitude on the road this season, losing the tail end of all four Pac-12 road trips. Though Alford has guided his team to a second-place finish in the conference, it has not inspired confidence in the possibility of a deep NCAA tournament run.

The Bruins opened the game on a 9-0 run, but looked lost once Wooden Award finalist Kyle Anderson headed to the bench with a pair of early fouls. They went without a field goal for nearly six minutes in the first half, then allowed WSU a 19-4 run nearing halftime.

Washington State hit 7-of-16 3-pointers in the first half, and entered the break with a comfortable 34-26 lead despite a quiet night from its leading scorer. DaVonte Lacy, second in the conference in points per game, finished with just one field goal, though he chipped in seven rebounds and two assists.

The bench filled the scoring void, outperforming its UCLA counterpart 22-5 in the first half. Reserve guards Ike Iroegbu, Dexter Kernich-Drew and Que Johnson combined for 38 total points on 12-of-20 shooting — including 8-of-14 from beyond the arc.

The Cougars regressed to the mean from long range later in the game, but it hardly mattered. They scored their first eight points of the second half on layups and free throws, and UCLA never got within single digits again. The Bruins shot just 33.3 percent from the field, easily their worst outing under Alford, and tied a conference-schedule low with 11 assists.

Anderson finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, but no other starter scored in double digits. Backup point guard Bryce Alford was the only other Bruin with at least 10 points, hitting the mark exactly on 2-of-8 shooting.

To make matters worse, Steve Alford said a day prior to tipoff that his main goal for this weekend was to prepare the team for the NCAA tournament — pointing out that the Thursday-to-Saturday turnaround from their win over Washington echoes the upcoming March Madness schedule. Not exactly a good omen.

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  • WESTWOOD ROB

    Look, Joe Blow aka Nobs is going to be posting here soon about this loss, but before you get all upset with him, there is something you should know. Following the example of Michael Sam, Joe Blow recently came out — as the first college football booster to be an open Trekkie. That took guts, and it is to be commended. And look, a lot of people will admit that they like Wrath of Khan, or maybe the one with the whales, or that other one that some people like, but Joe Blow declared himself a Next Generation man, and that could not have been easy in that environment. You know the kind of stuff that some people will say. I just want everyone to know that this Trekkie — this man — has big brass ones, and I stand with him. On Wrath of Khan, at least.

    • daldigle

      I’m a 7 of 9 fan

  • ProbationU

    Embarrassing loss….even with the side benefit of putting SC where they belong…last place. Going to make Tydides on BN a very happy camper.

    • pennyfan041

      Yeah, no joke. Go read the BN article. It’s Steve Alford’s fault that we lost this game. And if it isn’t his, it’s Bryce Alford’s fault.

      • maze949

        Haha, not very nuanced over there. That’s to be expected, though…they were pining/openly campaigning for Mike Leach a couple seasons ago. They’re idiots…and it’s fun to watch them whine. Murshed “Nestor” Zaheed is a 5’6″ goblin-looking troll (who picks fights w/ women in NYC bars)…always picked last, no sports IQ whatsoever.

        • pennyfan041

          Well, I can’t speak to his level of athletic talent. I think he sometimes posts intelligent comments about our players. However, he chooses to insult our coaches, players, and athletic director with demeaning nicknames and ridiculous claims. It is very un-UCLAesque, and Coach Wooden would be ashamed that a place like BN that insults the athletic community within UCLA could claim a place in the Bruin world. It’s an absolute disgrace to what Coach stood for. He valued the great worth of humanity above what most men could claim, and BN does the exact opposite.

      • NOBSisdaMAN

        Bruin Nation is RIGHT ON. Playing little kiddie instead of a real basketball player is a joke…..like P U above. Need to get rid of the Alfords. DISASTER.

        • ProbationU

          The only real basketball players SC has had since the 70s are Cheryl Mller and Lisa Leslie. The other good ones are women too. These days it’s tough to be a tired, used and discarded Trojan sans lube.

          • NOBSisdaMAN

            DUDE: NEWS FLASH! I DON’T CARE ABOUT SC BB.

          • ProbationU

            Everyone knows that…not even Garrett or Haden cared either. Trojans and BB just don’t mix.

          • LTEfan

            And you shouldn’t…so, if you don’t like or care about BB, maybe don’t post about BB here?

          • NOBSisdaMAN

            How many times do I have to repeat this: I love clowning all you clowns.

          • Idaho88

            Sure you do.

          • NOBSisdaMAN

            No I don’t.

        • SUCC de trop

          Yawn.

        • pennyfan041

          Wish I would have seen this response earlier. Sorry I didn’t respond till now. “Little Kiddie” has to play. Your “real basketball players” need breaks. They can’t play 40 minutes. This is why Bryce Alford comes off the bench. Crazy that he was Pac-12 All Freshmen Team though huh? If only he was a real basketball player…

    • SUCC de trop

      Alford can’t play defense for the team. Tony Parker should study the career of Ben Wallace. Ben didn’t score a lot of points, but he sure prevented hundreds of opponent points. Tony, blocked shots and fierce block defense and rebounding stoke BB success. Which is it Tony, 10 blocked shots and 10 rebounds and a win or twenty-five give-me-the-ball points, 1 rebound, no blocked shots and a loss?

  • pennyfan041

    This was the worst I’ve seen UCLA play all season long. Kyle played fairly well, though his assist numbers were down. Might not be his fault. Nobody could make a basket. We sucked defensively for a significant amount of time, but it didn’t matter all that much in the end. We shouldn’t lose when we give up 73.

  • NOBSisdaMAN

    Another CHOKE.

    • LTEfan

      Hi Joe, you Blow

      • NOBSisdaMAN

        Blow what?

        • maze949

          It’d be easier to enumerate what you DON’T blow (the old list got too long). Still looking for work, btw? Have a Bruin edit your resume, and send it on over!

          • NOBSisdaMAN

            I would, but they can’t read.