The best thing I can say about the UCLA’s fortunes against the California Golden Bears on Thursday night is this:
It was over pretty quickly.
Forget about the 13-point final margin that the Bruins lost by as they went down 76-63 at Haas Pavilion before 9,854 happy Bear fans; this was a St. Valentine’s Day massacre that UCLA endured.
“It was a bad loss for us,” coach Ben Howland said after the contest mercifully ended.
To which I must respond by stating, “You think?”
The game was essentially over in the first 20 minutes as Cal did whatever they wanted, using a 19-2 run to grab a 35-13 lead, which only got worse when halftime rolled around as the Bruins, much to the delight of the Bear faithful, faced a 25-point deficit.
Things went so bad in the first half that at one point Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, had as many points – 13 – as the entire Bruin team.
And he only ended up six-for-16 on the night for a total of 16 points, which didn’t even lead his Cal team in scoring!
To their credit, UCLA played much better in the second half as they showed, in Howland’s words, “…character,” outscoring their older U.C. brothers by 13 points, but it was much too late by that time as the damage was proverbially done.
Four Golden Bears (15-9, 7-5 in the Pac-12 and in the thick of the race) scored in double figures, and of course they beat up the Bruins on the boards as they were led by David Kravish’s 18 points and 13 rebounds and Richard Solomon’s 17 points and eight boards.
The best way to sum up the night for UCLA was when Jordan Adams fouled out with 15 points – which led the Bruins – the Cal student section serenaded him with the “Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey” song, replacing the last words “Goodbye” with “You suck!”
Shabazz Muhammad scored 13 points, but only made four of 13 baskets, while Larry Drew was the other Bruin to score more than ten as he totaled 12.
At least Muhammad showed some mettle on the boards as he had 11 of UCLA’s 33 rebounds, a full third of the team’s total. Kyle Anderson added seven, but his six points signified a sub-par night for him.
Luckily the Bruins remain tied for second place in the conference at 8-4 (18-7 overall).
However, this team has a crucial task coming up as they somehow have to forget about this fiasco, regroup, and try to get a split on this Bay Area trip by beating Stanford.
If they fail to do that, well, as someone said on one of UCLA’s online fan forums, the Bruins will be on “…life support.”
And Ben Howland’s seat will become that much hotter.
Stanford Cardinal, Maples Pavilion, Palo Alto, CA – Saturday, February 16, 1:00 p.m.