Huskies Embarrass Bruins on ESPN

In what was one of the most profound lows of the season, UCLA was embarrassed on national television by the Washington Huskies, 97-68, Saturday, being over-matched while showing little effort or competitiveness...

Coming off a 20-point win over Washington State, the Bruins tried futilely to break a five-game losing streak to Washington in Seattle, but they got absolutely destroyed, 97- 68 by the Huskies.

This game was so ugly the ESPN announcers compared it to a summer league game at one point in the 2nd half. Washington had to have double-digit dunks in the game. In fact, the second half resembled a dunk contest, one in which only Udub players were allowed to participate. Washington's pressure just completely took UCLA out of their offense, while the Huskies did just about anything they wanted on the other end, pounding the ball inside for easy shots, and turning UCLA turnovers into dunks or lay-ups. They even hit 11 of their first 21 shots from three-point range. UCLA was only 3-17 from three and shot only 37% in the first half from the field, compared to UW's 68%. The Huskies finished up at 59% overall while UCLA wound up at just 46% and that was misleading since much of that came with the game out of hand and UW relaxing on defense.

In a nutshell, the game was a complete mismatch. Bobby Knight, who was working as the ESPN commentator, said that the only good thing for UCLA was the game had to end sometime.

Husky senior Quincy Pondexter celebrated Senior Night by scoring 10 of his team's first 12 points and finished with 20 points on 7-11 shooting. Isaiah Thomas scored 11 points in about 2 ½ minutes in the first half, many of them during a 14-0 Washington run that put the game out of reach for UCLA, and finished with 17 points.

It got so bad, that with 10:30 left in the 2nd half, Washington led by 33 and looked like they might get 120 points, let alone 100. One sequence in particular just summed up the game: UW missed a shot, Nikola Dragovic got the rebound and threw a lazy outlet without looking, and the pass was easily picked off by Matthew Bryan-Amaning – Washington's center -- for a dunk. ESPN announcer Jay Bilas said something like "I think I'd take him out. You gotta take him out after a pass like that. That wasn't even just a bad pass that was a horrible pass."

As an example of how bad the game was, normally when I write these reviews I take notes and divide my note paper into first- and second-half notes. The second-half notes for this game consisted of one word: TERRIBLE. There was no need to write anything else down after that.

Dragovic was terrible, but certainly wasn't the only player to struggle for UCLA. Point guards Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson were just completely overmatched, repeatedly throwing passes that were stolen for lay-ups and dunks. You almost had to feel sorry for Mike Roll, with the point guards playing so poorly; Roll couldn't get off any good shots, going scoreless and 0-5 in the first half. Tyler Honeycutt had a very difficult game against Pondexter , with only 4 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 turnovers, and he just couldn't really get anything going all game.

Center Reeves Nelson played with a badly swollen right eye and appeared to open up some stitches as blood was visible on the bandage. Nelson had a very mixed game, scoring a game high 14 points for UCLA but being just 4-9 from the free-throw line, while playing his worst defensive game of the season. He repeatedly allowed Washington players to enter the ball into the middle of the zone for shots. At one point in the 2nd half it looked like Nelson could have had a loose ball but instead he just kicked it to a teammate and the refs of course called the obvious violation. After giving up an easy bucket on the ensuing play, Ben Howland pulled Nelson out of the game. To be fair, Nelson probably shouldn't have even played with the swollen eye, but this was not one of his better efforts.

About the only positive you could take from this game is that freshman Forward Brendan Lane had by far his best offensive effort of the season scoring a career-high 11 points in only 18 minutes. Lane was 5-6 from the floor and his only miss was a three-pointer that went all the way down and then out. He also made several nice passes and had a very nice move late in garbage time where he went left off the dribble from 20 feet away and hit a floater in the lane. The ref called a charge but counted the basket while Knight and Bilas on ESPN both said it was a terrible call since the defender was under the basket. Lane had some problems on defense at times, losing sight of his man inside the zone, but it was nice to see him showcase some of his offensive skills in extended minutes.

Sophomore Bobo Morgan had a nice start but then sort of ran out of gas and finished with 2 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes. Morgan had some flashes here and there but like the rest of the team he made numerous mistakes in the zone leading to easy UW buckets. The Washington guards were able to dribble penetrate at will and repeatedly looked off the UCLA bigs and found a UW big for a layup or dunk. You just can't allow that kind of dribble penetration in a zone, and it didn't appear that UCLA's big generally played with any effort or desire defensively.

After Nelson's 14 Dragovic had 13, Lane 11 and Lee and Anderson each chipped in with 9, but most of those stats were padded once the game was completely out of hand. This game wasn't competitive after the 14-0 run Washington made in the first half. UCLA's effort on defense was poor and Washington guard Venoy Overton completely changed the game when he came in with his pressure on the ball. Washington went from up 6 to up 20 in large part due to Overton's disruptive defense and Thomas going off at the offensive end of the court. Howland used 4 timeouts in the first half trying to stop the bleeding but the team just coulnd't overcome the onslaught . Washington led 49-26 at the half and never looked back.

It was the biggest margin of victory ever by Washington in the series against UCLA, while also being most lopsided loss among UCLA's sixth straight loss in Seattle.

This is one of those games as a coach that you probably just should throw out the game film and prepare for the next game, which is Thursday at Pauley against Oregon State. The Beavers lost to Stanford Saturday but pulled off a big upset over Cal in their prior game so UCLA better come to play.

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