Bruins look vulnerable in Pac-10 finale

first_imgSEATTLE – Arron Afflalo said it time and again, and so did Darren Collison. They are UCLA’s leaders, but both said throughout the season how, despite the team’s star power, every member was valuable. A theory that might have fallen on deaf ears before was made loud and clear Saturday in the No. 2 Bruins’ 61-51 loss against the Washington Huskies, when the Bruins showed the razor-thin line between being one of the nation’s elite teams, and just another good team. UCLA center Ryan Wright and power forward James Keefe, who teamed to replace Aboya, scored two points, committed four fouls and failed to grab a rebound. “They didn’t get a rebound between the two of them in 14minutes,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said when asked to assess the play of Aboya’s replacements. “We missed a lot of block outs that led to second-shot opportunities,” Howland said. “Did we miss Alfred? Yes, absolutely, we missed him. But does he make up 15 (rebounds)? Absolutely not.” Shipp led UCLA with 13points, Afflalo added 12 and Collison had five as he labored through a 2-for-15 shooting display. UCLA, which missed its first seven shots and trailed 9-0nearly six minutes in, scored a season-low 20 points in the first half and shot suffered through a horrific shooting 31.3percent overall. “They were more patient than we were in the half-court offense,” Howland said. “When that happens, and we we’re taking quick shots & I expected to come out and play really good, and we didn’t.” Perhaps the best news for UCLA is Aboya said he expected to play Thursday in the Pac-10 Tournament. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With backup Alfred Aboya and his 17 minutes per game on the bench with a knee injury, UCLA was pounded on the boards, lacked the type of intensity Aboya usually helps generate, and ended the regular season with a loss at Bank of America Arena. The loss ended a five-game winning streak, but doesn’t figure to impact the Bruins’ chances of being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s western regional – providing top-seeded UCLA doesn’t exit next week’s Pacific-10 Tournament early. center_img Still, the sting of losing here for the third straight season was felt harshly. “We didn’t play hard enough,” UCLA center Lorenzo Mata said. “That’s something we have to do every game. We have to play harder than our opponent, and it’s something we didn’t do.” The Bruins (26-4, 15-3) did not excuse their lack of energy on circumstance, namely wrapping up the Pac-10 title Thursday at Washington State, which rendered this game against Washington (18-12, 8-10) meaningless. “We didn’t come out ready to play,” said Afflalo, UCLA’s junior guard. “I don’t know why. They out-physicaled us, they outplayed us in every aspect of the game, and it’s embarrassing. I don’t know what we were resting on. There’s no excuse to come in on national television and not compete for 40 minutes.” Washington’s dynamic inside duo of power forward Jon Brockman (20 points, 13 rebounds) and center Spencer Hawes (13, 15) led the Huskies to a 15-rebound advantage (44-29). last_img read more