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Washington Collapses in 2nd Half of 77-66 Loss to #17 UCLA

The Huskies blew a halftime lead behind a substandard effort on both ends of the floor in the 2nd period

NCAA Basketball: Washington at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a win on Saturday over Washington State and the return of Daejon Davis and Emmitt Matthews Jr. there was a brief moment of hope that the Huskies could make a miracle run to get a bye in the Pac-12 tournament. Instead neither of those players finished tonight’s game due to injury and fouls respectively as the Huskies collapsed to blow a halftime lead against the #17 Bruins in a 77-66 loss. Jaime Jacquez Jr. dominated with 30 points on 11/17 shooting for UCLA while no one could get going for the Huskies. The loss drops the Dawgs to 14-14 (9-9) on the season.

Things couldn’t get much uglier at the start of this one. Washington fans were spared seeing UCLA making its first 3-point shot of the night as the broadcast missed the first minute due to the previous game ending late. However that made shot wasn’t an indication of what was to come. Emmitt Matthew Jr. for UW and Jaime Jacquez for UCLA had some success driving to the basket and putting up awkward midrange floaters/runners off the glass. Other than that though it was extremely tough sledding. When both teams paused for a media timeout 9:48 seconds into the game the score was just 9-8 UCLA. The Bruins started out 3/16 from the floor as neither team could hit a shot.

Unfortunately it appeared that things had gone from bad to worse for the Huskies. Daejon Davis drove in for a layup but seemingly banged his injured shoulder and fell to the ground in pain. The refs didn’t stop play and UCLA used the 5v4 advantage to hit a wide open corner 3 which broke a 15-15 tie. Davis was unable to return to the game and it’s unclear if we’ll get to see him again on the court in a Husky uniform.

Washington didn’t allow that turn of events to break their spirits. Cole Bajema pulled off a nifty quick stop move and canned a deep 3 to answer right back and tie the game. After an 0/4 start from the floor Terrell Brown Jr. finally saw the ball fall through the hoop and hit 3 consecutive shots to help the Huskies keep pace. UCLA missed 4 free throws in the final 5 minutes of the half as well as their last 3 shots from the field including a missed open transition 3 at the buzzer. That helped the Huskies head into the locker room up 29-25 at halftime.

Jaime Jacquez Jr at the break had 13 points compared to 12 for the rest of UCLA while UW was led by Jamal Bey’s 10 in the best offensive first half since the home game versus Stanford.

Any good feelings that were present going into the locker room quickly evaporated. Terrell Brown Jr. had a chance to get things going with a fast break layup but it looked like he was expecting contact that never came and he blew it badly. UCLA took advantage and went on a 9-0 run heading into the first media timeout of the half including another 5 points by Jacquez. The run was summed up nicely when PJ Fuller slipped and fell but tried to get a pass off rather than being a called for a travel. The pass though had no chance and was easily intercepted by Jaylen Clark who jogged for an uncontested layup.

Jamal Bey finally broke the drought driving for a layup but it didn’t stop the bleeding as UW continued to hemorrhage. Nate Roberts got trapped in the corner rebounding a Jamal Bey airball and called UW’s 2nd to last timeout of the game with 3 seconds on the shot clock. Predictably UW ended up airballing a 3 coming out of the stoppage.

Meanwhile, Jaime Jacquez Jr. was completely dominant and continued to outscore the rest of his UCLA teammates. None of Washington’s wing defenders had the strength to guard Jacquez as he consistently backed them down and hit 6-foot turnaround jumpers. Emmitt Matthews had the best chance but Jacquez got him in the air for an up and under and-1 which was Matthews 4th foul with 12:30 left and knocked him out for a substantial stretch. Fuller and Bey tried but Jacquez was either fouled or made a short jumper on what seemed like every play over a 5 minute stretch as the Bruins built up a 57-43 lead with 7:12 remaining.

Shortly after, Emmitt Matthews Jr. elbowed David Singleton in the neck fighting through a screen and was called for a flagrant which fouled him out of the game. Tyger Campbell sank both free throws and Washington never came close to challenging again. With about 3 minutes left Mike Hopkins called off the dogs down 20+ points and put in some guys off the bench. Somehow that helped UW close the deficit as Langston Wilson (2) and Dom Penn (1) combined for 3 consecutive made 3’s in the final 2 minutes (more than UW had all game to that point) to make the final score look somewhat respectable.

Terrell Brown Jr. ended up leading the Huskies in scoring with 20 points but it took 20 shots to get there and he committed 4 turnovers along the way. Washington’s offense went back to no movement whatsoever as the Huskies had just 4 total assists when Brown left the game for the final time with 3 minutes left. Jamal Bey chipped in with 14 points but again it wasn’t efficient as it came on 15 shots.

Washington will finish off the regular season hosting the Oregon schools starting with the Ducks on Thursday night at 7p. We’ll wait to hear from Mike Hopkins but in all likelihood it will be without Daejon Davis and that doesn’t bode well for their chances.