Monday, January 6, 2020

UCLA couldn't sweep State of WA. Loses to WSU in OT 79-71.

Junior guard Chris Smith scored a career-high 22 points in loss. USC is next on Jan 11. FWIW, SC gets thumped by Washington 72-40 (ESPN link to game). 

Pac-12 Networks 
The Cougars outscored UCLA 41-32 during the second half to force extra time and held a 14-6 advantage in overtime to secure a 79-71 victory on Saturday in Pullman. With the win, WSU snaps a six-game losing streak to Pac-12 opponents. Isaac Bonton led Washington State in scoring for the second game in a row, posting 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting, as the Cougars overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half.

UCLA Falls to Washington State, 79-71, in Overtime

from UCLA Men's Basketball webpage PULLMAN, Wash. – Junior Chris Smith scored a career-high 22 points as the UCLA men's basketball team lost in overtime against Washington State, 79-71, on Saturday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum.

CJ Elleby sank a 3-pointer with just under 20 seconds remaining in regulation to help Washington State tie the game, 65-65, and force overtime. The Cougars (10-5, 1-1 Pac-12) outscored UCLA by a 14-6 margin in the overtime session to earn the victory.

Smith finished as one of three players for UCLA (8-7, 1-1) to have scored in double figures. Senior Prince Ali had 11 points and Jules Bernard added 10 off the bench. The Bruins registered a 43-37 rebounding advantage and received seven boards each from Bernard and Smith.

WSU's Isaac Bonton scored 17 points, including eight in overtime. He finished as the Cougars' leading scorer, while Elleby totaled 15 points in the Pac-12 contest.

"It's a shame," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "You come down to one play. But the reason that we couldn't get that stop? We're just not there. We're not there yet. In the second half, forget the overtime, they shot 15 for 27."

UCLA had limited Washington State to 20.8 percent shooting in the first half (5 for 24) to lead at halftime, 33-24. The Cougars answered in the second half and overtime session, shooting 57 percent (20 for 35) through that 25-minute stretch.

Washington State scored eight of the game's first 10 points, but made just two of 19 shots over the balance of the first half. Smith scored all 11 UCLA points during a nearly four-minute span, as the Bruins turned a 13-12 deficit into a 23-19 cushion.

The Bruins pushed their margin to double digits during a stretch late in the first half, making 5 of 6 shots, before entering the locker room at the intermission ahead, 33-24.

The Cougars used a 9-0 run to retake the lead (54-53) with 7:36 remaining in the game.

UCLA had made eight of its first 11 shot attempts during the second half but saw the Cougars claw back during a scoreless spell of more than four minutes.

The lead changed hands five more times before Elleby's tying shot with nearly 20 seconds left in the second half.

Washington State made 23 of 32 free throw attempts, including 4 of 6 in overtime.

UCLA will return to action against USC on Saturday, Jan. 11, in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. ESPN2 will televise the game, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (PT).

Following next Saturday's home game against USC, the Bruins will host back-to-back Pac-12 contests against Stanford (Wednesday, Jan. 15) and California (Sunday, Jan. 19).

Postgame Quotes - UCLA at Washington State

Washington State 79, UCLA 71 (OT)
Pullman, Wash. (Beasley Coliseum)
January 4, 2019

Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach
on what led to Washington State’s win
“It was a long game, though. So, I mean you could point to the egregious breakdown at the end where Prince [Ali] didn’t stop the ball. We were supposed to be switching everything. What happens, kids go back to their natural reaction, which is help, even though the whole timeout was ‘don’t help.’ If they get a layup, we don’t care. We’ll get it in and make free throws. But we obviously didn’t execute that.”

on if players collapsed too much during Washington State’s final play in the second half
“Yeah, Jules helped. But the ball should’ve been stopped. Prince didn’t stop the ball. But we had covered if that happens – and we don’t want that to happen – but if it happens, don’t give up an and-one on a soft foul. Don’t help off the corner three, so we covered it. But that had nothing to do with it. I mean, that was a part of it. It’s a shame, because you come down to one play, but the reason we couldn’t get that stop? We’re just not there yet, Ben. We’re not there yet. In the second half, forget the overtime, they’re 15 for 27. Defense is just hard.”

on why defense was so good in first half
“We’re not there yet. As much as you think one game’s going to change it, we’re not there yet. There’s a play where we score, we are running and Jalen Hill’s jogging back, they just throw it over his head and lay it in. There’s the game. And that’s been a problem for him since I got here. That was a problem for him in May workouts. That’s just one play, I mean, there were a lot of bad plays. But a team shoots 56 percent against you? It wasn’t like they were raining in jump shots until No. 10 [Isaac Bonton], give him credit, he hit some tough shots. But we had some really bad breakdowns, defensively. Really bad breakdowns.”

on what was supposed to happen on UCLA’s last possession in regulation, tied at 65-65
“It’s an iso for Chris [Smith]. He never attacked. Now, if you watch that game, you’d probably give him the ball. I talked to him about ‘Hey buddy, we’ve got to make sure we get a shot off now.’ We’ve got to go at 10. It’s 14, we’re going to go at 10. That way we’ve got a chance to rebound it. He froze, I guess. He wanted a pick and roll, which I didn’t want, because then they would’ve just double-teamed him. The guy guarding him had four fouls. I wanted him to attack the guy.”

UCLA sophomore guard Jules Bernard
on Washington State’s game-tying 3-pointer with just under 20 seconds to play
“Yeah, it was probably just a little miscommunication on the first action, and then we sucked in too much once the guard got to the rim. It opened up an open three. It’s just probably a little miscommunication. We’ve got to be better.”

on the five-minute overtime session
“They have two very aggressive players on their team, and when they have players like that, you don’t want to give them confidence. I think they got a few easy buckets off of steals or something, and that just got their confidence going. It’s just, we’ve got to be better.”

on Saturday’s disappointment after having won on Thursday night at Washington
“It’s definitely tough. We wanted to leave with two wins. That was our goal. We had it in our hands and we let it go. It’s definitely tough to take in, but we have to move on and get ready for our next game.”

on if Washington State switched anything, offensively, in the second half
“I’m not sure. I think they just were getting, they saw that they were down and their players started getting more confidence and I think they might’ve gotten in the bonus a little early because we were fouling a lot. Once you give teams like that free throws, easy points, especially at home, it’s tough to take away their confidence when they’re getting to the free-throw line a lot. Maybe that was it, we were fouling a lot.”

UCLA junior guard Chris Smith
on WSU’s 3-pointer to tie the game at 65-65 and if UCLA got sucked in too much on the drive
“Yeah, someone got beat off the dribble, and Jules got sucked in from the back side, and we gave up a three.”

on UCLA’s final offensive possession with under 15 seconds to play in the second half
“I tried to go left and they left one of my teammates to double me and tipped the ball out.”

on the disappointment of not being able to secure back-to-back road wins
“It’s really tough. We wanted a road sweep, and we didn’t get it.”

on Chris having strong individual performances in back-to-back games
“I don’t care about it, man. I wanted to win tonight and we didn’t win.”

on a young team having inconsistencies such as this and what UCLA needs to do, moving forward
“Yeah, when you lose you learn. So, we’ve just got to get back and go to practice and learn from the mistakes that we made tonight.”

on whether it’d be fair to say that the Bruins are a better team having gone through this road trip
“Yeah, for sure. But we reverted back to ourselves before the Washington game tonight, and that is why we gave it up.”

on whether WSU changed its approach against UCLA in the second half, or if UCLA’s defense just had breakdowns
“It was just breakdowns, pretty much.”

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