Dead On Arrival — 4 Bruins play sick/injured, and the others play AS IF they were sick/injured, in sickly, 76-59 terminal loss to Oregon
No need for an autopsy — The Bruins’ Cause Of Death was obvious: They played like they were diseased. Oregon outhustled, out-muscled, out-ran, out-shot, and out-defended UCLA from start to finish, as the Ducks cruised to a laughably-easy 76-59 victory. The Ducks were playing as if their season depended on it — which it literally did — while the Bruins were playing like the game didn’t matter at all. The Bruins knew that they would still make the Tournament that matters no matter what, while Oregon knew that a loss would completely end the Ducks’ year. The difference in attitude and approach SHOWED.
The game was even for about 10 minutes or so, until the Ducks went on a 14-1 run, while the Bruins went six and a half minutes without a Field Goal. Despite the Bruins’ marked height advantage, Big Man and leading scorer Reeves Nelson didn’t score in the First Half, and Big Man Josh Smith made only one bucket. Right before Halftime, the Bruins actually had 7 Turnovers to only 5 Field Goals. The inability to do ANYTHING inside, combined with the ineptitude of the Bruins’ walking wounded Backcourt, caused the Bruins to go into the locker room down by 14, 38-24.
Even though the Bruins had come from behind to win SIX games which they had trailed by double-digits, this time, they had nothing. Whatever Ben Howland said at Halftime was NOT motivational, as the Bruins fell down by 22 in the Second Half, before finally losing by 17. The Bruins never got closer than 10, and are now OUT of the Pac-10 Tourney.
It was the worst 40 minutes of Basketball that the Bruins have coughed up all season, and the only possible excuse is that Malcolm Lee (who took only 3 shots all game) was playing on a torn knee cartilage, Jerime Anderson (who went 1-for-6 from the Charity Stripe in the First Half) had a virus, Tyler Lamb (0 Points until the game was decided) had Strep Throat, and Lazeric Jones (3-for-11 with 3 Turnovers) had unbearable pain in his wrist and fingers. Tyler Honeycutt (19 Points, but 1-for-5 on Three’s) could still be suffering from an arm/shoulder issue, but there is really no excuse for Reeves Nelson (3-for-9, 7 Points, 1 Technical Foul).
Could the Bruins have really PEAKED TOO EARLY? There were NO similarities between the Bruin team that walloped Arizona a few weeks ago, and the team that failed to show up at Staples on Thursday night, probably costing them 3 Seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The ONLY silver lining is that all the Bruins in the Triage Center that is UCLA Basketball can get a little extra rest before the Big Dance gets underway. And based on Thursday night, THEY NEED IT.