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UCLA Falls in Seattle…Again

Posted By Josh Lehmer On Mar 4 2011 @ 7:08 pm In UCLA | No Comments

Considering that UCLA hasn’t beaten Washington in Seattle since 2003, a loss this year was more or less expected as well.

Things were mostly close in the first half.  UCLA had a 25-24 lead going into the locker room thanks to some pretty good defense which limited the Huskies to 21% shooting.

In the second half, though, with the rest of the team struggling, the Huskies found their offensive through one man: CJ Wilcox.  Wilcox, who was scoreless at halftime, ended up with a career-high 24 points, including 4-7 from three-point-land.

The Bruins, led by Jerime Anderson, kept things close in a back and forth game despite Wilcox’s prowess.  In the final three minutes, though, the Huskies pulled away and ended up with a 7 point win.

Game notes:

-After a few games where it seemed like the Bruins had cured their turnover problems, the TO monster reared its ugly head again tonight – a gaudy 18 turnovers for the Bruins, compared to UW’s 13.

-Joshua Smith ended up with 12 points and 16 rebounds, with 8 of those rebounds being offensive.  This sounds impressive, but in reality he had some very real struggles at the rim (as reflected by the fact that he shot only 5-for-11).  Many of those offensive rebounds were him grabbing his own miss as he couldn’t seem to finish at the rim very well at all.

-Jerime Anderson perhaps had his best game in a Bruin uniform:  16 points (4-6 from beyond the arc) with 2 assists and 3 steals.  It seems like a different player steps up every night for the Bruins, and this was Anderson’s long overdue time to shine.  His three point shooting helped keep UCLA in the game.

-Ben Howland ran out of timeouts early in this game…using his final timeout with 12:57 left in the second half.  These timeouts were used to stem UW runs, and to that degree they were effective.  That being said, having no timeouts left for the final 12 minutes is a real problem.

-One thing that’s getting somewhat frustrating whenever the Bruins play on national TV is that the announcers seem to think that Tyler Honeycutt is the absolute unquestioned star of the team.  Several times on Thursday night, the announcers referred to Honeycutt as UCLA’s best player and number one option, and criticized him for “not showing up on the big national stage like star players are supposed to do.”  This is a giant misconception and is getting somewhat frustrating.   There is no “best player/number one option” on the team as currently constructed – different players show up on different games.  Sure, there have been a couple games where Honeycutt was feeling it, but there have been just as many games where Honeycutt played poorly and Smith/Nelson/Lee/whoever stepped up to be the key offensive player.  This misconception is largely caused by the fact that Honeycutt had his best game of the year on a high profile national TV game (33 points versus Kansas, which he hasn’t come close to doing before or since) and the fact that he is projected as a first rounder in the NBA draft (which is more because of his raw athleticism and potential than anything he’s actually done on the court.)

-Brandon Davies’s “honor code violation” at BYU has been getting a lot of publicity recently.  Since BYU is far and away UCLA’s signature win, having the Cougars be crippled hurts UCLA’s seeding chances.  One would think that the committee would say “Well, UCLA beat BYU back when they had Davies and were playing like a one-seed, so they should get credit for beating a one-seed,” but unfortunately it doesn’t work exactly like that.  If Davies continued to play and BYU ended up with a one-seed, it would sure make UCLA look more impressive than the path the Cougars currently seem to be on (losing their last few games, probably ending up as a weak 3-seed).

UCLA is going to need to go deep into the Pac-10 tournament to have a shot at a decent seed.  They could probably get a 7 seed with a win over Washington State and then a championship, but could fall as far down as a 12-seed.  One thing is for certain, though…a win on Saturday against Washington State is absolutely critical, especially with the breaking news that WSU’s best player Klay Thompson has been suspended for the game.

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