Friday, 05 January 2018 15:48

Bruins Foul From the Line and Lose

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Holiday A USC030916Two things led to the end of UCLA’s four-game winning streak. The Bruins were horrible at the foul-line and the return of Cardinal senior swingman, Dorian Pickens.

By every measure, if UCLA (11-4, 2-1) hit their free-throws, especially during crunch time in the second-half, the outcome would have been different, but the Bruins were a pathetic 6-16 from the line during the second stanza. That poor foul shooting led directly to the double overtime 107-99 loss, to Stanford (7-8, 1-1).

Pickens, in his second game since his return from a foot injury, registered a double-double scoring a team-high 26 points and came down with 10 rebounds, but it was his clutch 6-11 from beyond the arc that was particularly deadly to the Bruins.

Aaron Holiday tried to put the team on his back but had to play much of the time without his running mate, Thomas Welsh who missed much of the first with a gash to the nose. Welsh wasn’t as effective on the offensive end because he was wearing a protective mask.

Holiday scored 31 points, 29 of which were in the second-half, but in the end, UCLA’s foul shooting that did them in.

“It was just atrocious foul shooting, second half in particular, and atrocious defense,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “I thought we defended in the first half, our efficiency at halftime was 95. In the second half, it was 135. You're not going to win road games defending like that.

“I told them that you might have nights where the free throw doesn't go in, but the tenacity and the nastiness were not there in the second half. This team has to learn that's where you win games.

“We're not the super over-talented offensive team that we were a year ago, so we can't just rely on offense. I think our offensive efficiency was high again tonight. We scored enough – we did enough offensively, even with the bad foul shooting. But, we just didn't get any stops in the second half.

“We were up 12 with eight, nine minutes to go. It was Michigan revisited. We couldn't close it out, and we have to figure that out. Now we turn around and have to go try again at Cal.”

The Bruins will be going for the split when head to the East Bay to take on Cal (7-8, 1-1), Saturday at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM PST and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.

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