Chris Petersen led Washington to the College Football Playoff in his third year as the program’s head coach. (Ted S. Warren AP)
UCLA at Washington Saturday, Oct. 28 | Husky Stadium
Jim Mora once said the head coaching job at Washington was his “dream job.” In 2014, the UCLA head coach passed on the chance to return to his alma mater, which cleared the way for Chris Petersen to take the job. Three years later, Petersen’s Huskies are coming off a College Football Playoff berth and their first conference title in 16 years.
The Huskies (12-2, 8-1 Pac-12 last year) reached the Pac-12’s pinnacle and now are fighting to stay there. UW’s success cost the team four early entrants in the 2017 NFL Draft, including star wide receiver John Ross (ninth overall pick) and second-round defensive backs Budda Baker and Sidney Jones, and two assistant coaches, who were hired by NFL teams.
“To me, it is much harder to stay up near the top than get there,” Petersen told the Seattle Times. “These guys don’t know that, but I do. So that’ll be the next step.
After UCLA’s 86-84 loss to Washington, point guard Bryce Alford was asked why he and his teammates looked so unprepared to play despite hosting the Pac-12’s first-place team.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I’m not really sure. I thought we were ready to play. Then we came out, and they kind of punched us in the mouth, and we didn’t react the way we were supposed to react.”
The Bruins trailed by as much as 19 points in the first half, and had their comeback attempt snuffed out when Andrew Andrews hit two go-ahead free throws with 3.4 seconds left.
“It looked like we had several guys not into the game and not ready to play,” Alford said. “That falls on me. I didn’t see that and didn’t get that read in practice, but we had a lot of them that were very out of character in the first half.”
For the second straight year, UCLA stumbled in its Pac-12 opener.
The No. 25 Bruins hung on for two overtimes at Washington on Friday night, but couldn’t force a third in a 96-93 loss in Seattle. It marked the Huskies’ first win against Steve Alford, leaving USC as the only Pac-12 team that has yet to beat the third-year UCLA coach.
Alford is now 7-12 in conference road games with the Bruins. He has yet to sweep a series away from Pauley Pavilion.
Washington guard Andrew Andrews tied his career high with a game-high 35 points, shooting seven of 19 from the field and 17 of 19 from the line. The senior, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring, was responsible for seven of of UW’s final 11 points.
UCLA point guard Bryce Alford started the night by missing 12 of his first 13 shots, but drilled a pair of threes in the final 22 seconds of regulation to tie the game. With 16 seconds left in the extra period, the junior hit a third. These were the Bruins’ only 3-pointers of the night.
Again!? Bryce Alford (now w/ 26 points) nailed this game-tying 3-pointer, pushing the game into double-OT. pic.twitter.com/gobR6UPLvJ