Washington 86, UCLA 84: Bryce Alford, Jonah Bolden

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.

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VIDEO: Steve Alford takes blame for UCLA’s 86-84 loss to UW

UCLA head coach Steve Alford took “full responsibility” for the his team’s 86-84 home loss to Washington on Thursday night, one in which the Bruins dug themselves an early hole with an ugly first half.

“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.”

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UCLA drops second straight Pac-12 opener in 2OT loss at UW

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.

Alford led the team with 30 points, but only converted five of his 21 field goal attempts. He had one assist and seven turnovers. He did, however, make 17 of 18 free throws — giving the Bruins crucial points in a game bogged down by fouls. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Steve Alford on UCLA’s preparation for Pac-12 play

UCLA head coach Steve Alford talks about his team’s progress as they prepare to start Pac-12 play on Friday at Washington.

The Bruins are expecting the return of reserve guard Prince Ali, who has missed three games with a bruised knee, but forward Gyorgy Goloman — sidelined all season by a stress fracture in his leg — remains doubtful to make the trip north.

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