As the Washington Huskies were “Fisch-ing” for a Head Football Coach today, the Huskies Basketball Team (10-6, 2-3) were Fishing for an elusive Pac-12 Road victory versus a struggling UCLA Bruins team (6-10, 1-4) at Pauley Pavilion.
Head Coach Mike Hopkins has never won at Pauley Pavilion and that trend would continue as the Huskies picked a bad time to play perhaps their worst performance of the season and fall to the Bruins by a score of 73 to 61 and fall to 10-7 (2-4) on the season.
UCLA has only given up over 70 points in 3 games all season so this would be a game where possessions were limited for the Huskies and Turnovers would rear it’s ugly head again for the Huskies early and often.
Sahvir Wheeler, coming off a career high shooting the ball versus Arizona State while shooting 5/5 from three but saw his first three-pointer today result in an air ball from the top of the key, which may have been a sign of things to come for the Huskies. Moses Wood would get the Huskies on the board with a side line out of bounds play and Keion Brooks would chip in a Corner three to take an early 7-3 lead that would be short lived.
The Huskies would have a chance to extend the lead after consecutive turnovers by the Bruins but failed to capitalize early on. The Bruins would go on their own 7-0 run after several Huskies Turnovers to retake a 10-7 lead. Paul Mulcahy would have 3 turnovers early on, with the 3rd turnover leading to a fast break where Keion Brooks picked up his 2nd foul and was forced to the bench with 12 minutes left.
The Bruins were coming off a 90-44 thrashing in Salt Lake City so it would be no surprise that Mick Cronin would have his team fired up to play. The only thing the Huskies couldn’t do was let the young Bruins gain early confidence and that is exactly what the Huskies allowed to happen. UCLA would go on an 11-0 run, thanks to 9 early turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
It would be a comedy of errors for the Huskies in the 1st half. From losing the ball in open court, missed wide open 3-pointers, to Anthony Holland stepping out of bounds right before knocking down a three-pointer. The Refs also missed a clear goal tend on a Sahvir Wheeler layup so 5 points taken off the board in a game that would see a shortage of points.
If not for Sahvir Wheeler, the Huskies would be in very bad shape going into half-time. The Huskies would still trail at half but Sahvir Wheeler was able to score 7 of the Huskies 9 last points and 13 of the Huskies 22 first half points to lead the team in scoring.
The Huskies Struggle Shooting And Making Stops in the 2nd half.
The Huskies would continue to chip away at the lead early in the 2nd half as the Huskies would cut the Bruin lead to 5 after a Moses Wood 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. However, the Bruins would find their own offense with a pair of baskets to extend their lead to 8 at 37 to 29 at the under 16 time-out.
The Bruins would consistently go down low to Adem Bona in the Post and the Huskies struggled mightily to contain him. Bona would score easily on Wilhelm Breidenbach a couple of times for dunks and would spin around Center Braxton Meah for a pair of buckets as well. Bona would finish with 22 points on 10/13 shooting.
A common theme and issue as of late has been 2nd half defense by the Huskies, giving up over 60% shooting to the Utah, Oregon, and Oregon State after the half-time break. The first 12 minutes of the 2nd half would see UCLA shooting over 64% from the Field, which helped pull out to a 14-point lead. Every time the Huskies would make some sort of a run, they would quickly give up easy baskets to the Bruins.
The Huskies would have some chances to chip away late in the 2nd half but could not find the bottom of the net from deep. Wide open misses by Wilhelm Breidenbach, Moses Wood, Koren Johnson and Keion Brooks were the story of the game as the Huskies shot 6/25 from Three (24%).
The wheels would completely fall apart at the end as the Huskies could not make an stops and a double Technical foul on Nate Calmese essentially cemented the victory for the Bruins.
The other storyline of the game would be turnovers, which has plagued Mike Hopkins’ teams in the past. The Huskies have only averaged 12 turnovers per game this season but would finish the game with 19 turnovers tonight, many unforced and led to 26 points off of turnovers for UCLA. Sahvir Wheeler and Braxton Meah would lead with 6 and 5 turnovers a piece.
The Huskies would spoil a Season high for Sahvir Wheeler with 27 points (Ties a Career-high) and 10 FG’s but the rest of the team was only able to combine for 11 FG’s. Leading Scorer, Keion Brooks only scored 12 points on 3/9 shooting and never seemed to get comfortable.
The Huskies look ahead to play two more road games in the state of California, starting with the California Bears on Thursday and at Stanford on Saturday in almost must win games or the Huskies may be fishing for another Coach in the near future.